Professional Guidelines

The Authors League Fund helps authors, graphic novelists, journalists, critics, essayists, poets, short story writers, dramatists, and librettists. We help career writers with a substantial body of work in one of more of the following categories:

  • Authors, including graphic novelists, with at least one book published by a traditional publisher. Authors with multiple titles are given priority.
  • Journalists, critics, essayists, short story writers, and poets with a substantial body of work in newspapers, magazines, and journals with a national/broad circulation; regional and local news outlets; and/or anthologies. Whether in print or online, these publications must have editorial oversight and a sizable readership.
  • Dramatists whose full-length plays have been produced in mid-size or large theaters and/or published by established dramatic presses. In 2024, we opened to librettists/book writers of musicals and operas, with the same guidelines as dramatists. (We do not help songwriters and lyricists.)

The Fund cannot assist writers whose sole credits are self-published or released by a press that charges for publication. We do accept applications from indie authors with a record of financial or critical success.

The Fund does not help screenwriters, songwriters, or lyricists. Organizations helping those groups can be found in our Crisis Advice Guide. Other categories outside of our focus include copywriting, blogging, public relations writing, grant writing, technical writing, and writing for corporate clients.

Emergency Circumstances

The Authors League Fund is an emergency fund providing non-taxable charitable support. We help in times of urgent need, when a writer cannot afford to pay for necessities. Common circumstances include:

  • Illness, or supporting a dependent family member in ill health.
  • Overwhelming medical or dental bills.
  • Imminent eviction and other forms of housing insecurity.
  • Struggling after a natural disaster.
  • Major income loss, including due to COVID-19.

We help writers at all stage of life, though priority is given to sick and/or older writers, and to mid- and late-career writers. We have limited funds for younger and/or emerging writers whose emergency is solely related to insufficient income.

Family members or close friends of writers suffering from cognitive decline may assist with the application process. Please contact the office for guidance.

The Authors League Fund helps writers living in the United States, regardless of citizenship status or nationality, and American writers living abroad.

Because we seek to help as many qualified applicants as possible, our assistance is modest and temporary in nature. Recipients may apply again after twelve months have passed, although additional support is not guaranteed.

We do not make artistic judgments in our review. Our support cannot be used for professional expenses, e.g., time to write, computer purchase, book publicity, hiring an editor, airline tickets to a residency, book tour costs, theater production costs, starting a business.

Application Form

Please read the above guidelines and FAQ page before applying.

Apply Online

If you prefer to apply by email or mail, download the Microsoft Word version of the application.

Download Application

Fill out the form, save it to your computer desktop (renaming the filled-out version is recommended), and send it as an attachment to [email protected]. You may also choose to print and mail it to our address in Brooklyn, NY. If submitting by mail, please notify us by email or phone.

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