Awards and Grants for Writers of Color

Getting your book published is difficult, and unfortunately it tends to be much harder when you’re a Person of Color. While there are more diverse books being published, there’s still a lot of work to do!

Fortunately there are awards and grants out there help writers of color achieve their publication dreams.

We’ve created a list of awards and grants to help you get started!

New Voices Award – Established in 2000, is for the unpublished author of color for a picture book manuscript.

Awards and Grants for Writers of ColorNew Visions Award – Modeled after LEE & LOW’s New Voices Award, this award is for Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Mystery middle grade or YA novels.

SCBWI Emerging Voices Grant – This award is given to two unpublished writers or illustrators from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children.

The Angela Johnson Scholarship from Vermont College of Fine Arts – This scholarship is for new students of color of an ethnic minority for VCFA’s MFA program.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Scholarship from Hamline College – “Annual award given to a new or current student in the program who shows exceptional promise as a writer of color.”

We Need Diverse Books Short Story Contest – This short story contest was inspired by Walter Dean Myers’ quote, “Once I began to read, I began to exist.”

The Scholastic Asian Book Award – This award is for Asian writers writing books set in Asia aimed at children 6-18 years of age.

Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund – This fund enables writers of color to attend the Clarion writing workshops where writer Octavia Butler got her start.

SLF Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants – These grants are new works and works in progress. The Diverse Writers Grant focuses on writers from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds, and the Diverse Worlds Grant is for stories that best present a diverse world, regardless of the author’s background.

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award – This one time grant is awarded to an emerging writer of color of crime fiction.

NYFA Artists’ Fellowships – These fellowships are for residents of New York State and/or Indian Nations located in New York State.

Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature – These annual awards recognize emerging African writers and illustrators.

The Sillerman First Prize for African Poets – This prize is for unpublished African poets.

The Highlights Foundation Diversity Fellowship in Children’s Literature – This 24-month professional mentorship program is designed for People of Color and Indigenous authors or illustrators who are actively pursuing publication within the children’s publishing industry and includes a robust professional development curriculum, one-on-one professional coaching, and more.

What other awards and grants do you recommend for authors of color?

12 thoughts on “Awards and Grants for Writers of Color”

  1. Working on my 1st children’s book. I am an African-American male teacher pre k.
    The book is based on me and addresses multiculturalism and inclusiveness. As well as addressing the African American male in in early childrenhood education.
    I am working on manuscript and working with an illustrator. We are moving along but would love to have a grant to help with expenses and aleve some of the stress of getting this to publication.

  2. My name is Deborah Scott, I am an African American mother/grandmother who wrote a children story about a little girl,who didn’t talk, but through the sites an sounds of a neighborhood we learn how to use our words as well as a beautiful surprise awaited her through “The Caterpillar Song.
    Also, I have a short story I wrote about my mentally challenge sister, how I saw life through her eyes an the complicity of her blessing to my family called “A Simple Life”

  3. I am an African American mom who wrote a children’s book to enable young kids to understand their mom’s serious medical condition. The manuscript is completed and I would welcome assistance with the expenses of illustrations and printing.

  4. Greetings Lee and Low Books,
    It is an honor to see supporters in the literary world willing to help people of color with funding to publish their first book. I am an African American Woman in need of funds to complete the final stage of the self publishing process. Currently, my manuscript is approved by four top self publishing companies with written contract offers however, I have no money to fulfill my part of any one of the contracts. I write Christian Children’s Novels for preteens and teens, as well as picture books for younger readers. The market is ready, I just need funding to start the process…please reply.

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