Whiting Foundation: Grants for Creative Writing

OVERVIEW:  The Whiting Foundation supports grants for ambitious creative fiction projects in a wide variety of subject areas. These grants are awarded to emerging writers so they can fully devote themselves to their literary work.

IP TAKE:  Grantseekers cannot apply directly for these grants, but knowing someone influential in the industry may provide an opportunity. These are great awards for research-heavy, multiyear book projects.

PROFILE: Based in Brooklyn, New York, the Whiting Foundation has supported writing through fiction, poetry, and drama since 1985. The foundation seeks “to identify exceptional new writers who have yet to make their mark in the literary culture.” It awards ten grants a year in Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Creative Nonfiction.

Whiting funds $40,000 to $50,000 grants to help promising new writers contribute to literary culture. What makes these grants unique is that they go to emerging writers, to provide an opportunity to fully devote themselves to the craft. Previous Whiting award winners have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Obie Award, and the MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Lannan fellowships.

The Whiting Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications or nominations. Instead, the foundation invites influential people from across the U.S. to recommend emerging writers that show promise for nominations. These expert nominators change each year and include writers, professors, agents, booksellers, editors, and other professionals. Nominators’ identities remain anonymous to prevent undue pressure and encourage candid discussions about the writers.

In the past, Whiting Awards have been announced in March in New York City. Up to six of these grants are typically awarded each year. These grantees are narrowed down from 15 finalists that are evaluated by a panel of four judges. A list of past grantees can be viewed here. In addition to writing, this funder also supports Cultural Heritage.  

General questions can be directed to the staff at (718) 701-5962 or info@whiting.org. A grantseeker’s best point of contact is Courtney Hodell, who is the director of the writers’ program. Questions about the submission project or grant eligibility can be sent to nonfiction@whiting.org. You can keep up with what this foundation is doing in its News & Reviews section.

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