The McCoy Grant

Period for submission is now closed.

Who is The McCoy Grant for?

The McCoy Grant is for unpublished southern women or nonbinary booksellers who harbor ambitions to be published writers and meet all the following criteria:

  1. Identify as a woman or nonbinary. (Whether they are cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, or bigender.)
  2. Have a novel, memoir, essay collection or poetry collection in progress.
  3. Are a U.S. citizen.
  4. Are based in the territories of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and Mississippi.
  5. Are at least 18 years old.

** Must be unpublished as an author of fiction, portions of memoir, or poetry, including trade publishing, self-publishing in the U.S. or abroad. An applicant with a book deal for an as-yet unpublished book is considered published for the purposes of this grant and is ineligible. Applicants remain eligible if they have published essays, short stories, and/or articles autonomous of the current work being submitted.

What should The McCoy Grant be used for?

Two grants of $1,500 each to be used toward craft development, work-related materials, childcare, bills, or any other financial obstacle.

How do I apply?

Applications closed on March 23, 2023. Recipients will be awarded at SIBA’s 2023 New Voices New Rooms in-person conference in August. Full eligibility details and online grant application can be accessed through the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, an organization dedicated to literacy, diversity, and creating a world where all stories are given equal voice and respect. Thank you for being our bookseller champions.

Please check back for information about 2024’s application season and Follow Sarah’s Instagram @SarahMMcCoy for more news about The McCoy Grant.

2023 Letter To Applicants

Dear Friend,

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to be able to give back financially to the community of book people who have given so much time, energy, and compassion to me. The McCoy Grant is a love letter to you. So, I hope you take the opportunity to submit.

I’ve wanted to do an initiative like this since I was in MFA school, teaching undergraduate students during the days to pay for my own courses. Between office hours, grading papers, studying, and writing, I also took on a weekend job to navigate the bills that seemed to never stop piling up. I swore then that when I could, I would help other writers in similar financial and time straits.

If you’re a hoper, a dreamer, a story stoker opening your laptop and a 99¢ can of tuna fish on the coffee table for dinner while you do the work that really lights your fire… then you’re a kindred spirit. That was me, too. Still is on many nights. You are not alone. $1,500 won’t magically transform everything, but it’s enough to buy bread to go with that tuna. If you have someone in mind who could benefit from this grant, please share.

No effort is small. I’m a woman who believes in the power of positive multiplicity. Every word is a precious stone. One by one, they build castles, create reserves, and fortify our imaginations. If you are an unpublished, southern writer with a stack of words, don’t worry that they aren’t enough. Take a step of faith. You never know what wonders you might unleash. I believe in you.

With great love,