Grants and Residencies for Writing Parents/Parenting Writers
GrubStreet Instructor, marketing consultant, writer, and mother of two, Allison Pottern Hoch knows how important support can be to fostering a creative life. She’ll be covering this topic and more in her class Writing Like a Parent, Parenting Like a Writer on July 20th, but until then read on to learn more about grants, scholarships, residencies and more for writers who are parents.
How do writer-parents (or any writers enmeshed in an all-consuming life) find time for their creative selves when pressed up against child care, bill payments, and day jobs?
Most of the writers who seek out my seminar on writing and parenting, do so because they feel their drive to write and their drive to parent are perpetually at odds; both acts struggling, and failing, to occupy a single internal space. It’s frustrating and discouraging to feel like two significant parts of one’s identity stand on opposing sides.
But this feeling has less to do with how writing and parenting are different and far more to do with the ways in which they are similar: both acts demand dedicated time, support, and energy; both demand our presence and creativity; both can be joyous and tedious simultaneously. Both writing and parenting can be entirely overwhelming when we try to go it alone.
Fortunately, there are arts organizations interrogating the relationship between writing and parenthood, forging ways to support writers and artists in connecting to their creative selves. Below is a list of programs that have dedicated funds and space, specifically to support parents:
Award: 20 grants per annum/ $5000 each
Application window: February 1 – February 28, 2020
Entry fee: $20
The Sustainable Arts Foundation is the primary source of monetary grants for writers and artists with children. For nearly a decade, SAF has been giving unrestricted cash awards to individuals, as well as residencies looking to support parenting-artists (several of which are listed below). Also, since Fall 2016, SAF has committed to granting at least half of their awards to people of color. They also encourage applicants to contact them if the entry fee is a significant financial barrier.
Award: 1 grant per annum /$1000 + mentorship and publication
Application window: March/April
Entry fee: $15 by mail/$20 electronic
The Pen Parentis started as a literary community and reading series in Lower Manhattan and quickly evolved as it realized the growing need for community and financial support for parenting-writers. They now offer an annual fellowship to a fiction writer with at least one child under the age of 10. They also host literary salons, meet-ups, and a vibrant private Facebook group.
Award: 4 grants for individuals per annum / $250 - $750
Application window: Fall
Entry Fee: Unknown
The Parent Artist Advocacy League is dedicated to family-friendly practices in theater. Specifically for playwrights and artists working in the theater, in 2019 the PAAL offered its first annual grants to assist parenting artists with funding childcare. Adoptive parents and pregnant artists are invited to apply as well. They also have a great list of other parent-supportive funding sources and organizations.
Award: $999 (as funds become available)
Application window: Ongoing
Entry fee: None, but there is an expectation of paying the grant forward
A self-described “Artist Residency in Motherhood,” The Red Thread offers a sense of direction with their free planning toolkit for writers looking to reframe parenthood as “a valuable site for creative practice, rather than an obstruction to be overcome.” Their unique grant system operates on a pay-it-forward model, whereby an artist can apply for funds “to create space, time and support in order to continue creative work,” with the contingency that they’ll pass on similar funds to another artist when they can afford to. They also host a newsletter, a private Facebook group, and a mentorship program.
Brooklyn Art Exchange in New York offers grants and rehearsal space for NYC-based playwrights and theater artists with pre-school age children.
Caldera Artists in Residence in Sisters, Oregon offers an option for parents to attend with their children and a caretaker.
Cutty Hunk Island Residency off the coast of Massachusetts, offers The Crossfield Fellowship, which is given to “a writer who exhibits exceptional creativity, vision, and commitment in his or her work and is also a parent.”
Elsewhere in Greenboro, NC offers a limited number of $1000 awards to Parent Artists to offset childcare expenses during the residency period.
The Luminary Arts in St. Louis, MO offers a dedicated residency for artist parents that comes with “additional financial support, assistance with childcare, and a personalized environment for the unique needs of families.”
Marble House Project in Dorset, VT offers a family-friendly residency where writers can bring their partner and children, where there is childcare/activities for young children and field trips for the whole family.
Millay Artist Colony in Auserlitz, New York offers a unique Virtual Residency option for a working and/or parenting writer who can “participate in one of The Millay Colony's month-long residencies, staying at the colony for a minimum stay of five nights & days, with the intent to continue specific work at home during the rest of the residency month.”
The Unruly Retreat in Rice, VA is tailored to “womxn parents and caregivers” and offers three (3) free, six-day writing retreats, as well as a 50% discounted rate for longer stays of 2 – 4 weeks. Children and parents are welcome, and their definition of parent/caregiver is liberal, including foster parents, grandparents, and caregivers for elderly parents as well.
Allison Pottern Hoch is a writer and event coach with over 15 years of experience in marketing, publicity, sales, and event planning. She spent four years promoting academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a bookseller and event coordinator. She organized, hosted, and promoted over 150 events during her tenure, ranging in size from intimate workshops and lunches to multi-media events with over 700 attendees. She's worked with veteran authors, celebrities, and debut authors alike. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University where she coordinated the Adamson Visiting Writers series. Allison is currently working on her second novel and teaching courses on writing and marketing at Grub Street, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and the Metrowest Writers Guild. For more information on her workshops and coaching services, visit http://www.pottern.comSee other articles by Allison Hoch
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