Sherwood Anderson Foundation Awards $15,000 for Developing Writers

The Sherwood Anderson Foundation Grants are among the highest available for early-career professional fiction writers. They are available for authors with at least one but not more than two books of published fiction (non-self-published). They awarded $15,000 to Katherine Min, also a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize (See PEN/America: Grants for Creative Writing). The Foundation hopes to up the amount to $20,000, though they reserve the right to to give no award whatsoever if they deem the applications not to have "high literary merit." It's quite a prestigious award for writers at this level.

Besides the recognition for his own substantial accomplishments, Sherwood Anderson was also famously instrumental in getting William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway first published. The Foundation, established by first and second generation relatives, seeks to continue this mentorship role by using royalties from Anderson's books to help writers in their critical stages. Since 1988, The Sherwood Anderson Foundation has been awarding grants and scholarships to deserving authors accross the country.

These awards, though popular with those in the know, aren't always in the spotlight the way some other awards perhaps are. This could be due in part to the fact that the Foundation itself is a fairly close-knit organization and something of a family affair. It was begun by Anderson's direct children and grandchildren and the current co-presidents are Anderson's grandsons Michael and David Spear. This isn't to say there's no outside influence, but it's definitely run by relatives who have a persistence of vision.

At $100, the application fee is one of the steepest for this level of award, but the reward more than compensates if you're the recipient. My advice is to get your publisher to pay if that's an option. Unfortunately poetry isn't considered — this is strictly a fiction writer's game. Though this isn't one of the flashier limelight awards, it's quite the feather to put in one's hat. And $15,000–$20,000 isn't too shabby either.