ACE support for 'new talent in literature'

ACE support for 'new talent in literature'

Independent publishers And Other Stories and Penned in the Margins have been included for the first time on Arts Council England's newly announced list of National Portfolio-funded organisations for 2015-18. Funding has also been increased for Comma Press, publisher of Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

However many organisations have received minor cuts to their funding of 1%-2%, while the Arvon Foundation has taken a cut to its funding of 10% in real terms.

A total of 670 organisations across the arts succeeded in obtaining the three-year funding. Forty-six arts organisations have joined the National Portfolio, against 58 leavers. An Arts Council spokesperson declined to give details of any books organisations leaving NPO funding.

The organisation said: "At a time when the publishing industry is dominated by a few multinationals, our support for new talent in literature is crucial. Our literature portfolio will help ensure a national network for poetry, champion emerging writers and translators and give more readers and writers the chance to meet and connect through festivals and digital projects.

"Our portfolio continues with its increasingly important work to champion wide reading and creative writing for children and young people. The portfolio includes two publishers, And Other Stories and Penned in the Margins, both of which have innovative business models, and there is an increase in funding for Comma Press to support its work helping publishers to become more digitally aware."

And Other Stories will receive £120,000 over the three years, and Penned in the Margins £135,000. Comma Press' funding is being increased to £216,090 (£181,610 in 2012-15).

Also joining the NPO is the Pop Up Projects community interest company, which seeks to engage people with storytelling. 

Fewer than 10% of the funded organisations have received an increase in their funding level, with the majority receiving "standstill" funding, with no uplift. Overall investment in National Portfolio funded organisations for 2015/16 is to be £339.5m, compared to £341.4m in 2014/15. The Arts Council said keeping the budget cut for the NPO budget to 0.56% a year in 2015/16 despite a reduction of 36% in grants from the government since 2010 meant there will be "significant reduction" in the organisation's Strategic funds.

ACE chair Sir Peter Bazalgette said: "We are in the premier league of creative nations and this portfolio will keep us on top in an era of tight funding. .. I'm proud that we've been able to deliver such a strong and balanced portfolio."

Organisations seeing notable increases in funding include New Writing South, The Poetry School, manuscript assessment service The Literary Consultancy, literary magazine Wasafiri and creative writing centre Ministry of Stories.

The Arvon Foundation has seen a drop of over 10% in real terms for the three-year period, with 2015-18 funding of £1,164,801 as against £1,230,606 for 2012-15, but chief executive Ruth Borthwick said the organisation was "receiving what we applied for" and was grateful for the funding.

"The Arts Council is advising clients to only apply for what they really need. It's the case that with support from ACE we've been able to increase our fundraising elsewhere so there is a slight re-tilting," she said. "We're aware of the [difficult economic] circumstances and don't want to see other organisations lose out because we're after a few more thousands. It doesn't affect what we can achieve, with our very ambitious programme of learning and participation work, bringing a lot more schools in deprived areas to Arvon."
 
Full details of the portfolio can be found here.