Amazon Literary Partnership Names More Than $1 Million in New Grants

In News by Porter Anderson

The annual announcement of Amazon Literary Partnership funding names 66 nonprofit programs that support writers and their development, uniquely important work during this year’s pandemic.

Masked up in Seattle, a pedestrian is pictured on April 17 near the Amazon campus’ Spheres. Image – iStockphoto: Bjorn Bakstad

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Adding to $13 Million in Charitable Support
Following its deadline of January 15 for applications, the Amazon Literary Partnership has this morning (May 27) announced $1 million in grants to 66 organizations in the United States. And as the country approaches the terrible milestone of 100,000 deaths to the coronavirus COVID-19, the funds being issued by the program may look better than ever.

In fact, Amazon already has provided COVID-19 emergency relief donations to Artist Relief and PEN America’s Writers’ Emergency Fund, the latter of which is also supported by the Lannan Foundation, and The Haven Foundation.

Publishing Perspectives readers are familiar with Amazon’s program, both for its more than $13 million in funding since Jon Fine directed the establishment of the program in 2009, and for its focus on supporting nonprofit efforts that serve writers, with a traditional emphasis on “overlooked and marginalized writers,” as Neal Thompson, another director of the program, has put it.

Today, Alexandra Woodworth guides the program, which  has touched the work of more than 150 organizations. As noted in earlier coverage, one of the interesting characteristics of this program is that it funds writers but through programs that work with and for them.

  • The theme is the author—with an emphasis on underrepresented voices—and supporting that writer’s needs
  • The variations or genres are represented by the wide variety of organizations and services funded

This translates into direct support for nonprofit writing centers, residencies, fellowships, after-school classes, literary magazines, national organizations supporting storytelling and free speech, and internationally acclaimed publishers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Alexandra Woodworth

On today’s announcement, Woodworth says, “The Amazon Literary Partnership champions organizations that support writers, poets, translators, and diverse voices at every stage in their career. Given the impact that COVID-19 has had on the literary community, we’re proud to continue to fund these remarkable organizations sustaining literary culture in our communities now and for the future.”

The 2020 roster of grant recipients include organizations from 24 states and the District of Columbia.

New grant recipients this time include Deep Vellum Publishing; City of Asylum Pittsburgh; The Center for Africa; and LitNet; Among past grant recipients are the Asian American Writers Workshop; Lambda Literary; National Novel Writing Month; the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” program; Words Without Borders; and Poets & Writers.

Amazon Literary Partnerships 2020
  • 826 Valencia
  • 826NYC
  • Academy of American Poets
  • Archipelago Books
  • Artist Relief
  • Artist Trust
  • Asian American Writers’ Workshop
  • Aspen Words
  • Association of Writers & Writing Programs
  • Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute
  • Brooklyn Book
  • Center for the Art of Translation
  • Centrum
  • Chicago Humanities Festival
  • City of Asylum Pittsburgh
  • Clarion West
  • Coffee House Press
  • Community of Literary Magazines & Presses
  • Community-Word Project
  • Creative Writing Program, University of Washington
  • Deep Vellum Publishing
  • Feminist Press, Inc.
  • Girls Write Now
  • Graywolf Press
  • GrubStreet
  • Hedgebrook
  • House of SpeakEasy
  • Hub City Writers Project
  • Humanities Washington
  • Indiana Writers Center
  • Jack Jones Literary Arts
  • Kenyon Review
  • Kundiman
  • Lambda Literary
  • Lighthouse Writers Workshop
  • LitNet: The Literary Network
  • Loft, Inc. (The Loft Literary Center)
  • Milkweed Editions
  • Narrative 4, Inc.
  • National Book Critics Circle Board
  • National Book Foundation
  • National Novel Writing Month
  • Open Letter Books/Best Translated Book Award
  • PEN America
  • PEN America Writer’s Emergency Fund
  • Restless Books
  • Richard Hugo House
  • Seattle Arts & Lectures
  • Seattle City of Literature
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Small Press Distribution
  • The Center for Fiction
  • The Corporation of Yaddo
  • The Inner Loop
  • The MacDowell Colony
  • The Moth
  • The Africa Center
  • The Telling Room
  • The Writer’s Block: Writing Downtown Residency
  • Town Hall Seattle
  • Transit Books
  • Ucross Foundation
  • Washington Center for the Book
  • Words Without Borders
  • WriteGirl
  • Writers in the Schools
  • Young Writers Project
  • Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation
‘Instrumental in Helping Thousands of People’

One of the recipients of a grant this year, the popular NaNoWriMo program (National Novel Writing Month) directed by Grant Faulkner. In a prepared statement on today’s news of the grants, Faulkner is quoted, saying, “As a small organization hosting the world’s largest writing event, NaNoWriMo has depended on Amazon Literary Partnership’s support for more than 10 years to help create a global neighborhood of writers focused on inclusivity, empowerment, and encouragement.

“We want everyone to embrace their creativity and make it a priority, and Amazon Literary Partnership has been instrumental in helping thousands of people believe in their story and give it voice.”

Elliot Figman, executive director of Poets & Writers, says, “In times of danger and upheaval, writers help us make sense of what’s happening, expand our capacity for empathy, and imagine the future. So we’re especially grateful to have the renewed support of Amazon Literary Partnership this year. The grant will help us continue ‘United States of Writing,’ which is an initiative to deepen our support for writers nationwide. In a field that’s woefully under-capitalized, Amazon’s support for the literary community is critical.”

Speaking for Lambda Literary, the organization’s executive director Sue Landers is quoted, saying, “The pandemic’s impact on the LGBTQ literary community has been, and will continue to be, devastating. So many of us are struggling to get by, are grieving, have fallen ill, or have been lost. Generous support from the Amazon Literary Partnership will help ensure that Lambda Literary can continue to respond creatively and powerfully to LGBTQ writers’ needs as we move through this historic time.”

In operating a specific poetry fund and a literary magazines fund, the Literary Partnership is assisted by two organizations:

  • One is the Academy of American Poets, which will use the Literary Partnership’s Poetry Fund to administer 10 to 15 grants this year
  • The second is the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), in support of another 10 to 15 grants that program will handle under the aegis of a Literary Magazine Fund

Mary Gannon, who is the exeutive director of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, better known as CLMP, says, “Since its inception, CLMP has been dedicated to sustaining the health and extending the reach of the nation’s literary magazines. Often the first places writers find their readers, these publications are essential to the publishing ecosystem, providing fertile ground for diverse voices to thrive.

“CLMP is honored to lend its expertise to the Amazon Literary Partnership’s ongoing financial support of these underserved and uniquely vulnerable publishers.”

And for the Academy of American Poets, Jennifer Benka says, “We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the Amazon Literary Partnership to support poetry organizations, especially as more and more people are turning to poetry for comfort and courage in this crisis. We appreciate that the Amazon Literary Partnership program was quick to respond in this time of great need.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Amazon is here, and on authors is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.