Government literary patronage is nothing new

Book Cover, Ralph Ellison


Literary patronage is an old problem, one that today is increasingly solved by corporate financing rather than wealthy individuals. A mobile phone company funds one of England’s top literary prizes, the Orange; a financial services firm backs the Man Booker Prize; and Amtrak’s “writers’ residencies” — which give people free long-distance train rides on which they may write — isn’t the weirdest way writers have found a monetary safety net. But before this era of private sector funding, says’s Sanjena Sathian, there was a time when many writers got their start with public funds — through government programs. Some of these were designed to inspire the creatives, and others did so entirely by accident.

Read Sanjena’s full article here.

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