SoA grants £140,000 in support of authors' new work

SoA grants £140,000 in support of authors' new work

The Society of Authors has distributed more than £140,000 between 61 authors to help support them in the development and completion of new work. 

Both established and debut writers shared in the second round of the biannual grants for works in progress, which over the past six months saw SoA receive more applications than ever before.

Recipients include British Bangladeshi writer Nazneen Ahmed, also a successful applicant of the 2016/17 round of Penguin Random House’s Write Now Live mentorship scheme; Eli Goldstone, former prose editor of Cadaverine and debut novelist behind Strange Heart Beating (Granta); poet Sam Riviere, whose 2012 collection 81 Austerities (Faber & Faber) won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection; and author Sarah K Marr, to assist with her as she begins work on her second book following her debut, publishing with Unbound in February, All the Perverse Angels.

Author and journalist Wendy Moore becomes the first recipient of the new Antonia Fraser Grant, to support her work on the story of Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett, two doctors who ran a Military Hospital in London throughout World War One. The funds will allow her to research her book and tell "the story of a marvellous but forgotten chapter in women's history".

South London school teacher Muhammad Khan, whose YA debut I Am Thunder (Macmillan Children's Books) publishes in January, is meanwhile the winner of the John C Laurence Award. He commented: "This award means I can continue to work on books that reflect the young people I teach in South London. As a BAME author this award is gratefully received as it helps to increase the diverse voices in writing today."

According to SoA, each application is different and there is no single use for the funds. They are designed "to ensure that financial realities don’t get in the way of writers completing their work", typically being used to assist with research costs or to "buy writers the time they need to focus on their work".

Ahmed, a research associate at UCL and currently a writer in residence at Southampton’s public libraries, said she was "thrilled and honoured" to receive the Authors' Foundation grant, which is helping her to write her first book in progress, The Strange Children of Spittlefields.

"Between care responsibilities and an academic career, I have been struggling to find the time to write," said Ahmed. "The grant will give me that most precious of gifts: time, time to focus on the revisions to my novel, which is being developed as part of the Penguin Random House WriteNow Live scheme.

"I am so grateful that the Foundation exists and that in particular that it supports uncontracted, debut works. The Foundation enables emerging writers to finish their books: books which might otherwise never get published due the pressures of work and daily life. It is helping to open up publishing to new voices, and in supporting books like mine, contributing to industry efforts to produce more diverse books."

The deadline for the next round of grants applications is 30th April 2018.