Literary Arts has announced an emergency fund for Oregon writers struggling in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Named after Brian Booth, who founded the Oregon Book Awards, the Booth Emergency Fund for Writers will dole out a total of $100,000 to eligible new authors, poets, playwrights and cartoonists currently facing financial hardships related to canceled events, school closures or loss of steady income.

The fund is based on "need, not merit," says Literary Arts director Andrew Proctor.

"They're waiters, waitresses, adjunct professors, [who] we don't know are writing the great American novel every day," Proctor says.

The money is being drawn from the Brian Booth Writers Fund, which the nonprofit established in 2014. It will be awarded in $1,000 allotments to 100 writers. Applicants must fit one of the following criteria:

  • Oregon Book Awards winner and/or finalists (current and former).
  • Oregon Literary Fellowship recipients (current and former).
  • Book authors, including graphic novelists, with at least one title published since 2010 by an established publisher. Self -published titles can be used for eligibility.
  • Dramatists whose full-length plays have been produced in midsize or large theaters and/or published by established dramatic presses.
  • Essayists, including authors of long-form nonfiction, critics, short story writers, cartoonists and poets with at least eight published pieces in the past three years in periodicals with a national or broad circulation.
  • This does not include copywriting, blogging, public relations or writing for nonperiodical websites and corporate clients.
  • Spoken word poets or writers in other genres, who perform, read, or tour regularly and have performed in a minimum of 12 different venues since January 2019. These should be performances for which the performer earned income, either directly through appearance fees or book sales, at the event.
  • Writers with an established practice that doesn’t fall into above guidelines (to be described by writer on application form).

Proctor adds that writers of color will be prioritized.

The organizations will accept applications starting tomorrow, April 29, and close May 13. The applications will the be reviewed by Literary Arts staff and members of the Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships Advisory Council, and awarded at the end of May.

A second round of applications may open in June, depending on funding.