Since our beginnings as a business, Amazon has always helped writers tell their stories and find readers. This year, we are delighted to announce that the Amazon Literary Partnership will be providing grants to UK literary organisations that empower writers, helping them create, publish, learn, teach, experiment and thrive.

By funding organisations that champion the voices of underrepresented writers, we hope to encourage people to write (and read) about a greater variety of perspectives on the world we live in today.

In the US, Amazon Literary Partnership has provided more than $13 million in funding to hundreds of organisations since 2009. This year in the UK, we supported writing groups from local and national organisations that run after-school clubs, writers’ retreats and creativity workshops, as well as non-profits that campaign on freedom of speech and to protect authors’ rights.

A headshot of Nidaa Raoof
Nidaa Raoof

Nidaa Raoof took part in the Young Writers Programme run by First Story at the Nottingham Academy, and as a result won a place on their year-long Rathbones Folio Mentoring Programme. Nidaa was mentored by author Lucy Caldwell and together they visited major art exhibitions, plays and literary events to bring new energy and ideas to her writing.

Inspired by a new generation of young, female ‘Instapoets’, Nidaa set up her own Instagram account (@worlds_to_come) to share her work online.

This included a live online reading hosted by the Arvon Foundation and the Folio Academy for an audience of more than 70 people. Nidaa said: “I could not have done any of this without First Story. They gave me the confidence to share my writing and go for things I would never have even dreamed of when I first started. I am where I am today because of First Story. They inspired me to start writing.”

Supporting diverse voices from a range of backgrounds, particularly those traditionally under-represented in the literary world, is a key aim of the Amazon Literary Partnership. This year, we’re particularly proud of working with organisations who help us to champion writing, self-expression and stories that are more reflective of the world we live in now.

The Amazon Literary Partnership is now inviting applications from non-profit literary organisations for grants to support their work in 2021. Details of how to submit an application and the criteria for entering can be found at the end of this article.

Headshot of Hannah Hodgson
Hannah Hodgson

Poet and novelist Hannah Hodgson from Cumbria is a member of The Writing Squad, which involves receiving mentoring and also helping other aspiring writers.

She said: “The Writing Squad has been a massively important social and professional group for me. As a writer with disabilities living in a very rural area, before the Squad I missed out on hanging out with writers my own age. The professional mentoring has been a game changer for me. It hasn’t just been advice on specific poems; I have learnt what I need to do to improve my writing as a whole. It also provides me with a social and creative community, offering as much or as little input as I need.”

Supported groups

In 2020, the Amazon Literary Partnership awarded funding to these grant recipients.


The Arvon Logo

For more than fifty years, Arvon has championed creative writing, regardless of experience, across their three writing houses in Devon, Shropshire and Yorkshire. The Amazon Literary Partnership grant supported Arvon’s Learning Programme, which offers residential weeks for schools, young people and adult groups. The courses are led by highly acclaimed writers and span poetry to playwriting, song to screenplay, fact to fiction and how to start and finish creative writing. Arvon also provides courses and grants to vulnerable groups, as well as working closely with teachers to support professional development.

English Pen

English Pen Logo

English PEN is one of the world's oldest human rights organisations, which champions the freedom to write and the freedom to read around the world. It also founded PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 145 centres in more than 100 countries. Amazon is a Silver PEN member and alongside their extensive network of other members – a community of writers, readers and activists – English PEN protects freedom of expression whenever it is under attack.

First Story

First Story Logo

Founded in 2008, First Story set out to provide high-quality creative writing opportunities for young people in secondary schools in low-income communities. The group works with the best UK writing talent and to equip teachers. The Amazon Literary Partnership grant supported four programmes running in schools in the London boroughs of Walthamstow, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Haringey to engage disadvantaged young people to develop their confidence, literacy and ability.

Ministry of Stories

Ministry of stories logo

Ministry of Stories champions the writer in every child. Co-founded by author Nick Hornby in 2010, the organisation helps young people discover their confidence, imagination and potential through the power of their writing. It has developed innovative writing programmes and created small group mentoring groups for children living in under-resourced communities. The Amazon Literary Partnership supports its Writing Labs programme, which includes free after-school sessions for children aged between eight and 15 at its writing centre hidden behind its own fantastical shop, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

New Writing North

New Writing North logo

New Writing North works to seek out the next generation of writers across the North of England, as well as fostering creativity amongst more established writers. Its aim is to enhance the cultural richness of the North of England. The Amazon Literary Partnership supports its young writers programmes, which provide mentoring and project support for children aged 11 to 18.

Society of Authors’ Contingency Fund

Society of Authors logo

The Amazon Literary Partnership supported the Society of Authors’ Contingency Fund, which this year focussed on helping authors financially impacted by the Covid-19 health crisis. Many writers, illustrators, journalists, translators, scriptwriters and other authors have received small grants. As well as those affected by illness and bereavement, book tours have been cancelled, along with lectures, talks, performances and school visits.

Swanwick Writers’ Summer School

Swanwick - The Writers Summer School logo

Believed to be the longest-running residential writers’ school in the world, Swanwick Writers’ Summer School is known for its acclaimed programme of talks, courses, workshops and extra-curricular activities. Every August, over 200 published and unpublished writers across all genres gather at the school to facilitate extensive learning and networking. The Amazon Literary Partnership supports their Top Write scheme which provides grants for those aged 18 to 30 to attend the school each summer. Activity is currently postponed until 2021.

The Writing Squad

The Writing Squad logo

Working across the north of England, the Writing Squad provides workshops, one-to-one support and investment for young writers, as well as offering introductions and an ongoing support network as they begin their careers. The Amazon Literary Partnership supports the ongoing work carried out by The Writing Squad in their investment for young writers.

Man wearing black jacket with hands in pockets stood against some black railngs

Applications for the Amazon Literary Partnership 2021 grants

How do the grants work and how can I apply?

Amazon Literary Partnership provides grants to nonprofit literary organisations on an annual basis. Applications for 2021 grants are being accepted between 9th November 2020 and 29th January 2021. Grant recipients will be notified by 14th May 2021. Due to the volume of requests, we are unable to respond personally to each inquiry, nor can we provide guidance on applications.

Please find the online application here.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be a registered nonprofit organisation in the UK, whose core mission is to develop emerging writers, support diversity, celebrate storytelling, and/or build authors’ careers. Organisations should be structurally and financially sound; display energy, passion, and reach; have an online presence and an enthusiastic membership or readership.

What is the submission period?

9th November 2020 and 29th January 2021.