charitable trusts info

Prizes, grants and awards

Charitable Trusts Information

Emergency Financial Assistance for Authors

The Society of Authors administers three charitable trusts, which provide grants to authors in temporary financial difficulties: 

The Francis Head Bequest

Mrs Head, a well-known literary agent, generously established this trust in her will with the object of making grants to professional writers (writing in the English language) who were born in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and who are over the age of 35. It is aimed at authors who by reason of illness or otherwise are in financial difficulty. She particularly wished to help authors who are temporarily unable to maintain themselves or their families owing to illness or an accident, but the terms of the trust are reasonably wide.

The Authors’ Contingency Fund

A number of emergency grants are made each year to professional British authors who are in immediate financial difficulties or for the financial relief of their dependants.

The John Masefield Memorial Trust

The Trust provides occasional grants to professional British poets or their dependants who are faced with sudden financial problems.

These trusts are only open to professional freelance writers for whom writing books or full length scripts has provided a principal source of income.

The trusts cannot help with the following:

•    Grants to cover publication costs

•    Grants to authors who find themselves in financial difficulty because they have contributed towards publication costs

•    Tuition fees

•    General support whilst writing a book (see the Authors’ Foundation)

To apply please download the attached form and return it, with a covering letter describing the circumstances that have prompted the application, to Sarah Baxter at the Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB. The same form applies to all three funds. The assessment process usually takes around three weeks. Please contact Sarah with any queries on 020 7373 6642 or

The Authors Foundation

The Society also provides authors with grants for particular projects through the Authors’ Foundation and K Blundell Trust. Click here for full details.

The Royal Literary Fund

The main charitable trust providing financial help to authors is The Royal Literary Fund.

See for information. The RLF is based in central London at 3 Johnson’s Court, off Fleet Street, EC4A 3EA (tel. 020 7353 7150) and the Secretary is Eileen Gunn.

Download application form:

Charity application form