Words Ireland supports and endorses the fair payment of writers at events, festivals, panel discussions, readings, interviews and any other sort of public, audience-based activity. The below describes what the organisations in Words Ireland pay writers for a variety of work opportunities, with statements further below on Words Ireland organisations’ own policies or views in regard to the payment of writers at events.
While we recognise that event organisers have their own constrictions, we do think writers should be paid reasonably for working at an event. Programmers should consider €300 per writer per event as a ballpark figure where the writer is the key to the event. Recognize that literature is currently an underfunded sector, Words Ireland is currently engaging in advocacy work to address this to improve on the below fees. Writers should feel empowered to negotiate with the programmer for higher fees, as well as travel and accommodation and other costs if they feel the fee being offered does not reflect the time and work required of them for a given job.
(UPDATED July 2019)
Pay Scales at a Glance:
|€||Solo Readings||2—3 Performers/Panel||5—10 min slots||Keynote Address|
|Munster Literature Centre||€250–$500||250||100||€250–$500|
|Children’s Books Ireland||250||150—200||N/A||250|
|€||Masterclass/Seminar||Workshop/Facilitation||Mentoring||Writers in Schools|
|Irish Writers Centre||200-400||65 per hr||65—100 per hr||N/A|
|Poetry Ireland||300-400||1,200–1,400 per 8—10 week engagement||N/A||200 per 2.5 hrs|
|Munster Literature Centre||300-400||200—250 per 3 hrs||Fees included in larger Fellowship programmes||N/A|
|Children’s Books Ireland||N/A||N/A||N/A||200 per 2.5 hrs|
|The Stinging Fly||N/A||300 per 2 hrs||250—300 per session||N/A|
Irish Writers Centre
Paying writers a fair fee for work contracted is a key principle. We would advocate this principle to anyone engaging a writer to work with them, and would advise new programmers to be respectful of writers as professionals. It has happened that programmers have suggested to writers that they work for free, in exchange for the publicity and book sales that they may gain from an appearance. This is not an acceptable proposition, and in Ireland, most programmers understand this, and pay fees according to their means. Two additional principles are:
– to be clear about the role for which the writer is contracted, and,
– to pay promptly.
The Irish Writers Centre aims to lead by example, and while our rates are not yet at the levels that we would like them to be, they are on the rise. We pay our writers fees in a range from €150—€400 depending on what we are asking them to do, and the funding available for any given event. Generally, to sit as part of a wider panel is at the lower end and to give a bespoke lecture, seminar or masterclass at the higher, with €250 the most usual fee for the equivalent of a solo interview appearance, or for chairing an event. This is a 25% increase on 2016 levels. We aspire to pay nearer the €300 mark but aren’t in a position financially to do so at present.
If a writer is part of a team event, with five or more writers presenting short readings of 5-10 mins, then we pay €80 as a fee. For MC-ing an event such as our regular Takin the Mic, we pay €100 to the MC and €80 to the featured guest writer for a short reading. For teaching/facilitation, we have a standard rate of €65 per hour. Mentoring fees range from €65—€100 per hour depending on the number of partners and resources available to the mentoring programme in question.
Where we can reasonably do so, we cover or contribute towards travel and accommodation expenses for events or teaching (on a case by case basis). Our process is to issue a letter of agreement or contract, or to have a documented email agreement where the role and fee are clearly outlined. Payment is made electronically upon receipt of a legitimate invoice. While by law we have 30 days to pay, we generally we pay the writer within the week of the work being completed.
Poetry Ireland has a range of fees across its programmes. For a solo reading, we try never to pay less than €300. For a reading with two or three poets on the bill, we usually offer €150 to €200. For a five-minute slot similar to a Culture Night programme, we pay €75. Writers who are part of the writers in schools scheme receive a fee of €200 plus travel and accommodation for a schools workshop, which usually runs for up to 2.5 hours. For a longer residency, running over 8 to 10 weeks, we pay a fee of €150 per 90-minute session, plus travel expenses. For a poet delivering a one-off masterclass for adults, we pay €300—€400.
Munster Literature Centre
The Munster Literature Centre’s minimum fee for a writer presenting a full-length reading is €250. We’ll also pay transport, overnight accommodation and provide meals. We’ll pay €200—€250 for a three-hour workshop, €300–400 for a masterclass, and €800 for a series of four such workshops during a festival. For a series of six two-hour evening, weekly workshops, we’ll charge a class of up to ten or twelve €120 (€100 concession) and pass all fees on to the writer. We pay €100 to multiple readers in an hour’s programme. If a writer needs to travel from another continent, we’ll pay $500. British poets receive £250 from us and European writers €300. Big, international names can require larger fees.
Literature Ireland typically pays writers a fee of €250—€300 for solo readings and a fee of €150—€200 for their participation in a group event or panel discussion. The final fee depends on the nature and location of the event (for instance, if a writer is performing abroad, a fee at the higher end of the scale may be offered) and is agreed with the writer in advance of the event. Transport/travel expenses will also be covered for events in Ireland (local transport is usually provided by the organisers of events and festivals abroad).
Publishing Ireland rarely invites writers to speak unless they are invited to deliver a training course. Our Code of Practice outlines what a good relationship between a publisher and an author looks like. We have also developed an Authors’ Contracts fact sheet for authors with Words Ireland, outlining the basic elements of a contract. Writers do promotional events to publicise a book and don’t receive a fee.
The Stinging Fly
In addition to launch events, we run a small number of other events throughout the year. Panellists at our ‘Fly on the Wall’ sessions are paid €150—€200 each. Guest speakers at our fiction workshops are paid €300 for a two-hour session. Mentors receive this €250–300 per mentoring session.
Children’s Books Ireland
For our annual conference, we cover travel, accommodation and meals for speakers and offer a fee of €250 for someone speaking alone, €200 each for a duo, €150 each for a panel. For our education work, we pay a €200 fee plus travel and accommodation for a schools workshop, which runs usually for up to 2.5 hours.