The SLF $500 Diverse Writers and $500 Diverse Worlds Grants

SUBMISSIONS FOR THIS GRANT ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED.

Open for submissions July 1, 2021 – July 31, 2021

The SLF annually offers, since 2014, two diversity-centered grants: Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds, both intended to foster the creation of speculative fiction work rich in diversity.

  • The $500 Diverse Writers grant is intended to support writers of speculative fiction who are from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process.
  • The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.

Writers may apply for either or both grants. Please note: your project does not need to center on identity issues. We also do not expect or want work that simply attempts to check off all the boxes in a tokenistic way, but rather are looking for writing that offers deep characterization, complex cultural landscapes, and strong literary quality overall. The submitted project, however, must be a work of speculative fiction.

For example, an excellent novel is Nicola Griffith’s award-winning Slow River, which features queer women protagonists; another is Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, whose white male protagonist deals with a host of personal disability issues, while ethnic, gender, and other issues play out in the cultural background. Other examples of diverse worlds include:

Samuel R. Delany’s work — gender, race, orientation, class
Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds — gender, race, sexual orientation
N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon — race, religion, sexual orientation
Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice — gender
Malinda Lo’s work — race, gender, sexual orientation (YA)
Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon — race (MG)

  1. The grants are designed to foster new, in-progress work (rather than recognizing already published work). We intend that grant funds will facilitate completing the work.
  2. Preference will be given to book-length works (novels, collections of short stories). Nonfiction, poetry, picture books, and editorial projects are not currently eligible.
  3. This grant is open to all levels of publishing experience, worldwide. The grant jury will be primarily English-reading, although works that incorporate other languages (as in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People’s use of Maori) are welcome.
  4. This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working with speculative literature. Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more. Any piece of literature containing a fabulist or speculative element would fall under our aegis, and would potentially be work that we would be interested in supporting.

Please note that the goal of these grants is to help as wide a range of writers as possible, so recent winners can reapply but will be considered low-priority within a 2-year window of winning.

Application Process Overview:

Our diversity grants will be awarded by a jury of SLF staff members on the basis of merit. If awarded the grant, you agree to offer a brief excerpt (500-1000 words) for our files, and for possible public dissemination on our website.

Diversity Grant Application Procedures

  1. Complete the Application Form. The application form for the SLF Diversity Grants is only active during the open submission period 12:00AM July 1, 2021 – 11:59PM July 31, 2021 (All times UTC -4). Required materials will include:
    1. a one-page written description of the project in question (no more than 500 words).
    2. a cover letter identifying which grant(s) you are applying for, and which includes a bibliography of previously published work if applicable. Applicants need not have prior publishing credits to apply. For Diverse Writers grant applications, we require a brief statement as to what aspect(s) of your background are relevant in terms of diversity: racial/ethnic/cultural identity, gender identity, queer orientation, disability, etc.
    3. a writing sample (up to 5000 words) of speculative fiction as defined above.
    4. 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 – Diversity Grant” and an alternative means of submission will be provided for you.  Any questions can be addressed to diversity@speclit.org.
  2. Jurors will deliberate with the goal of announcing winners by September 15th, 2021.

To see a list of all previous Diverse Writers & Diverse Worlds grant winners, click here.

For more information on SLF’s policies and operations, visit our FAQ page.

This grant is made possible by the contributions of two donors, Ellen Wright (Senior Publicist, Hachette Book Group) and Faye Bi (Associate Publicist for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), who ran a marathon to raise enough funds to support three years of this grant

running marathon Ellen Wright Ellen and Faye flexing arms Ellen and Faye back to back

Thank You!