The SLF $1000 Working Class Writers Grant

Open for submissions October 1st to December 31st, 2020

Winner announced: February 15, 2021

The SLF Working Class Writers grants are awarded annually, since 2013, to assist writers of speculative literature to working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers who have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to the financial barriers which have made it much harder for them to have access to the writing world. Such lack of access might include an inability to attend conventions, to purchase a computer, to buy books, to attend college or high school, to have the time to write (if, for example, you must work two jobs simply to pay rent and feed a family, or if you must spend all your waking hours job-hunting for months on end). The SLF would like to assist in finding more of these marginalized voices and bringing them into speculative fiction.

You are eligible for this $1000 grant if you come from a background such as described above, if you grew up (or are growing up) in homelessness, poverty, or a blue collar / working-class household, or if you have lived for a significant portion of your life in such conditions, especially if you had limited access to relatives/friends who could assist you financially. We will give preference to members of that larger pool who are currently in financial need (given our limited funds). Please note that while we are based in America, and some of our language below reflects that perspective, this grant is available to international writers; please assess your own situation as appropriate for your home country.

Please note that, unlike our other grants, you may receive this grant anonymously or pseudonymously. Application materials will be kept confidential to the grant committee and SLF staff.

What Do We Mean By Working-Class?

Here are some examples; they are not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to offer some guidelines to help you determine if you might be eligible. We mean to cast a wide net for this grant, so if you think you might be eligible, you probably are. If you have specific questions about your financial situation’s applicability, please don’t hesitate to write to us and ask.

You would potentially be eligible for this grant if any of the following apply:

  • you’re American, and qualify for the earned income credit
  • you’ve qualified for food stamps and/or Medicaid for a significant period of time
  • you live paycheck to paycheck
  • your parents did not go to college
  • you rely on payday loans
  • your children qualified for free school lunch
  • you’re currently being raised in a single parent household
  • you’re supporting yourself and paying your own way through college
  • you’ve lived at or below 200% of the poverty line for your state for at least one year
  • you’ve experienced stretches of time when food was not readily and easily available

Application Materials:

  1. a cover letter including a personal statement (less than 750 words) which addresses both your relevant financial background (why you qualify for this grant) and your future writing goals (what you hope to accomplish with the help of this grant). A bibliography of previously published work may be included if applicable and will not count toward the requested word limit. Applicants need not have prior publishing credits to apply.
  2. writing sample (your best work, published or unpublished — up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 5,000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction — if sending a segment of a novel, novella, or novelette, please include a one-page synopsis as well)

If awarded the grant, the recipient will be invited to provide a brief excerpt from their work, and an autobiographical statement describing themselves and their writing (500-1000 words) for our files, and for possible public dissemination on our website. This is entirely optional on the grant recipient’s part.

PLEASE NOTE: This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working within speculative literature. If you’re not sure what areas that term encompasses, we recommend referencing our FAQ (question #2).

Working-Class Grant Application Procedures

Complete the Application Form below. If you are unable to use the form for accessibility reasons, please send an email to grants@speclit.org with the subject: “Accessible Application Request – Working Class Grant” and an alternative means of submission will be provided for you.  Any questions can be addressed to workingclass@speclit.org

Class grant applications will be considered from October 1st to 11:59pm CST December 31st. Applications received outside that period will be discarded unread.

The grant recipient is announced February 15, 2021. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by that date.

Apply Now

Grant Winners

To see a list of all previous Working-Class grant winners, click here.