Words Ireland Statement in Support of Writers & Artists – 25 March


As many writers and artists have events, job, and gigs cancelled or postponed, it’s now vital that we talk about artists’ income, and arts organisations’ obligations to writers and artists.

Arts and literature organisations, festivals, venues and producers find themselves in very difficult situations. They’re having to cancel events months or years in the making. They’re foregoing box office income and event sponsorship that would otherwise help them to cover costs, including artists fees. For individual writers and artists, we recognise the situation is much worse.

Many writers and artists will have received emails notifying them that various events and other sources of work have been cancelled. In some cases, these communications make no reference to fees—the presumption being they won’t get one.

In other cases, events have been postponed. However, the postponement of events and fees does not offset the dramatic drop in income that artists will suffer now and in the coming months. As freelancers, it’s more complicated for writers and artists to engage with social welfare services. The already precarious life of working artists has never been more threatened.

Therefore, Words Ireland is asking that all organisations who engage or pay writers or artists, frequently or occasionally, make every effort to keep their financial commitments, or where not possible, to use available funding to support writers and artists through alternative grants, projects and initiatives. We commend the many organisations who’ve already taken steps in this regard.

As organisations revise their artistic programmes for the year, we ask people to consider programming activities that generate income for artists as well as serve their (online) audiences.

When we come out of this, the State will look to artists and writers to help us understand the difficult times we’ve endured, and to help us celebrate that we’re through them. Now, more than ever, is an essential time to invest in the arts; and in particular to fund artists and artist-led projects. By doing so, we’ll help artists to survive through this period of unemployment, and to ensure a flourishing of the arts in the months and years to come.


Words Ireland is made up of

Children’s Books Ireland

Irish Writers Centre

Poetry Ireland

The Stinging Fly

Munster Literature Centre

Literature Ireland

Publishing Ireland


Words Ireland organisations have also made individual statements, collated useful information for writers, or taken the following actions.

The Irish Writers Centre: https://irishwriterscentre.ie/blogs/news/covid-19-information-and-resources-for-writers-and-artists

Children’s Books Ireland: https://childrensbooksireland.ie/childrens-books-ireland-covid-19-update/

Poetry Ireland https://www.poetryireland.ie/news/covid-19-resources-and-information-for-writers

And to help readers through a difficult time, The Stinging Fly have opened their archive to the public, which includes all the great writing they’ve published in the magazine since 1998. https://stingingfly.org/category/archive/

Munster Literature Centre has recently generated, or will generate, a number of paying bursaries, jobs or projects amounting to €38,050 in fees to authors over the three months.