Funding for Writers
Residential Courses and Funding
Tŷ Newydd, the National Writers’ Centre for Wales based in picturesque Llanystumdwy in North Wales, offers assistance to writers seeking to develop their skills through its annual programme of creative writing courses. Led by renowned writers from Wales and the wider UK, courses are inspiring and practical in equal measure, and offer a week of intensive creative focus and constructive criticism in a friendly, supportive and fun atmosphere. Courses are not free, but Tŷ Newydd does offer a limited number of bursaries, which can help to significantly reduce the costs of courses for those who would otherwise have difficulty paying the full amount. Tŷ Newydd also offers flexible payment schemes to help spread the cost of a course over up to a year. For further details on Tŷ Newydd’s courses and to find out more about its bursaries scheme click here.
Arvon courses run along the same lines as Tŷ Newydd, with centres based in England and Scotland. Again, courses are not free but a grant of up to £350 is available to individuals who would not otherwise be able to attend an Arvon course. For further details on Arvon courses and to find out about its grants scheme click here.
For further details about the residential course experience and benefits click here.
Creative writing workshops and classes
One of the very best ways to improve your work, develop your critical skills and make great creative friendships is to attend a writer’s workshop or a creative writing class.
Private workshops are essentially co-operatives, run and led by individuals united by an enthusiasm for creative writing and contemporary literature, and offer a forum to share your work with others, obtain critical feedback and, of course, to socialise. Some groups even publish pamphlets and anthologies of members’ work. These types of workshop are not free, but costs are extremely low, generally involving a nominal annual joining fee or a weekly or monthly ‘sub’ of little more than a few pounds. Most groups welcome writers at varying stages of experience and development, but some do require a writing sampler before you can join. There are many privately organised, informal workshops across Wales.
Literature Wales carries listings of creative writing workshop groups, together with contact details, here.
For those seeking the more ‘professional’ workshop experience, led by an established practitioner and teacher in creative writing, most universities and higher education colleges in Wales run short and longer courses in creative writing. Despite the more ‘formal’ setting, writers shouldn’t be intimidated; professional workshop groups are generally friendly, supportive and great fun. And you don’t have to have any qualifications whatsoever to join, aside from enthusiasm and a willingness to help yourself – and others – to improve. These courses are not free but they are generally very reasonably priced. In addition, good concessions are offered to those who are not currently in full-time employment or are retired. And almost all institutions offer flexible payment plans, too. Fee waivers may be available to those who do not hold a first degree, claim working tax credit, have been a jobseeker for at least 6 weeks or are in receipt of DWP benefits. Some courses count towards a degree under the Access to Higher Education Scheme.
For further details on writers’ groups, workshops and classes in creative writing click here.
Funding and Self-Publishing
One of the very many difficulties for those seeking to go down the self-publishing route is that all of the costs involved – as well as the potential losses – must be borne entirely by the author. And without a marketing department behind you, or a distributor for your books, you will need to invest money and time beyond the cost of print in order to sell your books – this will often include the setting-up and maintenance of a website. Neither Literature Wales nor the Welsh Books Council can subsidise the cost of self-published work or any costs associated with marketing, and the Welsh Books Council will not distribute self-published work on your behalf. In fact, there are no publishing grants or financial subsidy in the UK available for self-published works or authors seeking support to market them. This is why self-publishing needs to be undertaken with caution, and authors should be clear about the costs involved and what can be reasonably achieved through self-publication before they proceed.
For more information on the pros and cons of self-publishing, how to avoid the scams and cons of the vanity presses, and how to keep costs to a minimum click here.