Working class, blue-collar, poor, and homeless writers have been historically underrepresented in speculative fiction, due to 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 $750 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 / Impoverished?
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.
- personal statement: a short statement (up to 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)
- 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)
- a bibliography of previously-published work by the author (no more than one page, typed); applicants need not have previous publications to apply
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 with speculative literature. If you’re not sure what areas that term encompasses, we recommend referencing our general SLF FAQ (question #2).
Working-Class Grant Application Procedures
Send the three items listed above to our class grant administrator as attached .doc files, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a brief cover letter with your name and contact info (e-mail, phone in case of emergency). If you have questions, direct them to that same address.
Class grant applications will be considered from December 1st to February 28th, this year. Applications received outside that period will be discarded unread.
The grant recipient will be announced by April 15th, annually. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by that date.
The jurors for the 2016 Working Class Writers Grant are: