Tolkien Lecture - Authors Emergency Fund

The Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature is raising money to support professional authors during the COVID-19 crisis, as part of our mission to honour the legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien

The incomes of self-employed workers from all sectors have been hit hard, and many writers, illustrators, journalists, translators, scriptwriters and other authors are among them.  Book tours have been cancelled, along with lectures, talks, performances and school visits. The Authors' Emergency Fund, administered by The Society of Authors , provides financial support for professional authors who rely on their writing as their main source of income.

Financial predicament was something that Tolkien experienced keenly. In May 1937 he wrote to the bursar of Pembroke College, Mr. L. E. Salt, in response to a bill:

"The evil genius that keeps an eye on me must have observed I was saving up to clear off my debt. I am afraid this will eat a hole in my savings again. But I have a book coming out (far from learned or technical) which has already been taken on in U.S.A., so the ship may (possibly) one day get on an even keel. At the moment, I feel the last three years' weather unduly rough to have only an overdraft to live on."

The book that was about to be published was The Hobbit, and eventually Tolkien achieved financial security. The money raised for The Authors' Emergency Fund will help authors in 2020 get their own ships on even keels.


The Society of Authors

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