Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Authors League Fund

Today I dug down to the bottom of my To-Do pile, a big stack of letters, clippings, and stuff that accumulates on a table next to the breakfast bar. The breakfast bar is where I read each day's incoming mail, and the little table beside it is where I place the stuff that I intend to do something about -- eventually.

Near the bottom of the pile, I found this year's appeal from The Authors League Fund. Oops. I'd meant to send my contribution in April. Well, better late than never.

To try to make amends for being slow, I'm reproducing the letter here, in hopes of encouraging my fellow writers to send a contribution that will aid authors who are in financial distress. Who knows? The writer the Fund helps may be you, one of these days.

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March 2011

Dear Colleagues:

We continue to see the impact of the recession upon writers and dramatists, as more and more applicants report having nowhere else to turn. A career novelist, now in her 80s and living alone, was declared blind after suffering from macular degeneration for several years. "I am penniless," she writes, and she has allowed an injury to go untreated for lack of funds. An award-winning children's book author was left with lasting injuries following a car accident and has been living off of credit cards, "getting by day-to-day" in the midst of overwhelming medical bills.

The Authors League Fund is here to help these and other writers, as we have been for 94 years. By providing interest-free loans, most of which are never repaid, the Fund helps professional writers continue their careers, even their lives, with dignity. Many of those we help suffer severe health problems but have inadequate or no insurance; others face eviction or are seniors whose income from writing has ceased because of the changing market. These applicants' words are eloquent testimony to the need and gratitude of the writers we serve:

  • I cannot tell you how much l appreciate this. I was finally able to get a good night's sleep last night and today was the first day in a very long time I wasn't worried sick. My tears today are of relief.
  • When I opened the envelope and saw the check and your note, not only was there a sense of relief over finances, but a restoration of some of the faith in what I'm trying to do as a reporter and writer.
  • What a wonderful thing to greet me after a rocky summer! Now life is not only possible, it may even be sweet.
We encourage you to support your fellow writers by sending $50 or more to the Fund. Every dollar you send -- 100% -- will go to a writer who has fallen on hard times. As always, we are grateful when you share  information about the Fund with career writers enduring financial distress. They need not be members of the Authors Guild or the Dramatists Guild to apply.

Sincerely,

Pat Cummings, President
Isabel Howe, Executive Director

The Authors League Fund
Established by the Authors League of America, Inc.
31 East 32nd Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
http://www.authorsleaguefund.org