By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
The UK Program Opened in 2019In London, the Amazon Literary Partnership has this week named 35 nonprofit organizations to receive 2023 grants.
This is the Amazon UK edition of the program started in 2019, a very similar charitable effort to the United States’ program opened in 2009 by Amazon under the direction at the time of Jon Fine.
In the United Kingdom, as in the States, the focus on this annual allocation of funds is writers “of all ages and stages” of their development. The 35 organizations receiving grants from the UK program represents a broader number of beneficiaries this year. In the States, the number of recipients reached 74 in 2022.
The retail giant’s program, 14 years old in the States and four years old in the UK, has always been something that some in the publishing industry rarely refer to because it doesn’t match the “Awful Amazon” narrative preferred by many in the book business.
And there are substantial allocations of community-service funds involved in the Literary Partnership.
Stateside, the company has delivered more than US$15 million over the life of the program, roughly $1 million per year of operation. There, the program has a definite focus on “uplifting and amplifying the voices of overlooked writers,” a goal of “championing writers and diversity in storytelling.” Those grants “are given to innovative groups whose core mission is to support diverse, underserved, and marginalized writers, develop emerging writers and/or build the careers of working writers to connect them with readers.”
In the United Kingdom, the program’s total outlay to date doesn’t seem to be a number provided to the news media.
The UK edition of the program seems a bit less outspoken about being pegged to diversity considerations, but this may simply be a difference of emphasis in promotional copy. Darren Hardy, Amazon’s UK manager for UK author and editorial programs, is quoted, saying, “Championing diverse writers across the UK is so important, and adds so much value to the world of writing and creativity.
“We’re so proud to be able to support all forms of writing, whether it’s for budding authors or people who simply find solace in creative writing.”
It’s interesting to note that some of the chosen grantees are programs that put writing at the service of community-support organizations. For example, York Inspirational Kids, new to the list of recipients this year, runs creative writing and storytelling workshops for disabled young people. York Inspirational Kids “started at working with 40 families and has grown to supporting more than 2,000 families in and around York,” per the program’s media messaging.
A previously supported organization, Creative Future, is based in Brighton and “provides support for local writers who face barriers and lack opportunities–those with mental health issues, disabilities, neurodivergent, survivors, LGTBQIA+, and from working class and ethnically diverse backgrounds.”
Another previously supported grantee, better known to Publishing Perspectives‘ readership, is the National Center for Writing based in Norwich.
Amazon Literary Partnership Recipients: UK, 2023
- Africa Writes (Royal African Society)
- Arkbound Foundation
- Comma Press
- Creative Future
- Dornoch Area CIC
- Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
- English PEN
- Fighting Words Northern Ireland
- First Story
- Hosking Houses Trust
- Kernow Education Arts Partnership
- Literacy Pirates
- Literature Works
- Margate Bookie
- New Writing North
- New Writing South
- Ministry of Stories
- National Centre for Writing
- Papatango Theatre Company Ltd
- The Poetry Translation Centre
- Queen’s University of Belfast Seamus Heaney Centre
- The Rathbones Folio Prize
- Royal Society of Literature
- Scottish Book Trust
- Serendipity (Serendipity Artists Movement Ltd.)
- Sharing a Story CIC
- The Society of Authors
- Swanwick Writers Summer School
- Super Power Agency
- Writing East Midlands
- Winchester Project
- York Inspirational Kids
The program in London says that its next round of submissions will open near the close of the year.
More from Publishing Perspectives on Amazon is here, more on the Amazon Literary Partnership program is here, and more on issues around the work of authors is here. More on the United Kingdom’s book market is here, and more on issues in diversity and inclusion is here.