Indie presses and literary festivals among first ACE Culture Recovery Fund recipients

Indie presses and literary festivals among first ACE Culture Recovery Fund recipients

The first round of the £275m Culture Recovery Fund has been allocated, and sees some indie presses receiving up to £200,000. Meanwhile literary festivals are also benefiting, with Cheltenham Festivals receiving nearly £784,000. 

The first allocation comprises grants of under £1m, sourced from a £257m government pot and spread across 1,385 successful applicants. 

Of these, Canbury Press will receive £56,000, Cassava Republic £116,000, Dead Ink Books £136,977, Knights Of £200,000, and Europa Editions £91,400.

September Publishing has received £50,000 and will use the money to "continue its remote internship programme, invest in its webstore and production processes, grow community involvement with schools and commission new writers and artists for 2021".

Commenting on the grant, Knights Of co-founder and publisher Aimée Felone said: "We know the pandemic economic response has hit Black, Brown and disadvantaged communities the hardest, for KO to say that we will survive this uncertain period with certainty is overwhelming. We are pleased to receive funding from the Arts Council of England's Culture Recovery Fund, their support means that the work we do to bring inclusive kids books to as many readers as possible wherever they are, can continue and grow."

Literary festivals have also been succesful, with Chalke Valley History Festivals, Cambridge Literary Festival, Manchester Literature Festival, Hexham Book Festival and Wimbledon BookFest all receiving funds. Culture Squared, a cultural education company that produces festivals including Bradford Literature Festival, has also been funded. 

Cheltenham Festivals - which span Jazz, Science, Music and Literature - has been awarded £783,939. The leadership team said: “This welcome news has come the day after we celebrate the success of our pioneering hybrid Literature Festival. It is a great vote of confidence in our ability to take bold steps to reach new audiences and serve our communities.” A total of 200,000 viewers logged in to watch the literature festival's events as it was live streamed from Cheltenham earlier this month. 

Cathy Moore, founder and director of the Cambridge Literary Festival, which received £50,000, said: “It is with a huge sense of relief and deep gratitude all round for this financial lifeline, which will enable us to retain staff, produce events and continue to deliver a vibrant online literary festival over the next six months, putting us in much safer place financially until such times as we can confidently and safely run live events again.”

Chalke Valley History Festivals received £260,000, which it said would enable it to put on the festival, including the Festival for Schools, with social distancing measures in place in June 2021. Festival director Jane Pleydell-Bouverie said she was "absolutely delighted and so grateful" at the award.

Other recipients include literary bodies such as the creative writing organisation the Arvon Foundation, The Reading Agency, Index on Censorship and holiday and writing workshop outfit Ways with Words.

Alongside them are The Children's Bookshow, Wordsmith MCR, writing development agency Writing East Midlands, Writing on the Wall, Inspiral Design Ltd, Pop up Projects CIC, and Children's Discovery Centre East London. Poetry initiatives, including Poet in the City and Poetry London, have also received awards.

Charities including Never Such Innocence and Grimm & Co are also among the recipients, together with the Centre for Learning in Primary Education (CLPE), which has received £150,000.

Commenting on the new wave of funding at a webinar hosted by The Bookseller in July, ACE's literature director Sarah Crown said: “We’re really glad to be administering this investment from government, which offers a vital lifeline to cultural organisations across the board, as they begin the work of rebuilding in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

"The funding is targeted specifically at organisations at risk of no longer trading viably by the end of this financial year, as a result of the impact of lockdown, and I’d encourage all literature organisations in this position to consider applying: the health of our sector as a whole depends on the survival of the brilliant, creative organisations that underpin it.”

Over the coming weeks further Culture Recovery Fund awards will be announced, including round two of grants under £1m, grants over £1m, and the Capital Kickstart and Repayable Finance programmes.