How is the British Council funded?

Over 75 per cent of the British Council’s turnover is earned through teaching and exams, tendered contracts and partnerships. The British Council also receives grant-in-aid funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). This makes up less than 20 per cent of our total income but enables us to represent the UK’s long-term interest in countries where we cannot rely on earned income alone.

You can access detailed information about our activities and sources of income in the British Council’s Annual Reports and Accounts and the Management Statement (see below for download) and Financial Memorandum agreed between the British Council and the FCDO, setting out the conditions associated with the grant-in-aid funding under corporate reports and documents.

Further information about our paid services and our relationship with the UK government is available here.

Who does British Council Literature work with?

The Literature team in the UK work closely together with colleagues in British Council offices in more than 100 countries around the world to create programmes that help to build important connections and increase mutual knowledge and understanding. We work with individuals and organisations from all parts of the UK literature sector and their international counterparts.

How do you select writers for programmes and projects?

We do not have a central list of writers with whom we work. All our work is based on opportunities identified by colleagues based in our offices overseas, responding to events, issues and themes which are of local relevance and help us meet our cultural relations objectives. In collaboration with our colleagues, we develop programmes with UK writers and other practitioners who are most relevant to the specific opportunity. Points for consideration may include genre, workshop or teaching experience, language ability, experience of a particular country or region, balance of programme with other writers, availability of translation. Whenever possible we try to create opportunities for writers who have not yet benefited from international experience. We are always looking to connect with new people and for our work to represent the breadth of the sector in across the UK. 

I’m a published author in the UK. Can I be included in your Writers Directory?

Our Writers Directory contains profiles of some of the UK's most important living writers. It is not a list of every author in the UK, but we do update it periodically. If you want to submit your profile for consideration, you can contact the team on We strongly recommend that you visit the Writers Directory to get a sense of the appropriate information to send. We update the site twice per year.

Do you only work with prize winning authors?

In all our programmes we focus on creating international opportunities writers, especially those who have not yet had the benefit of international exposure; building an international network for the next generation of literature producers; and raising awareness of UK literature areas of strength that are less well-known abroad.

Each programme is different, and designed to respond to the requirements of the country in which we are working.  Writers are selected on the basis of relevance to the programme, and therefore we work with people at different stages of their career.  Sometimes high profile names are important to the programme, but we do try to create opportunities for early and mid-career writers and those with UK but not international profile where possible. Recognition in the form of awards, shortlisting, reviews and festival selection is often helpful in presenting writers to an international audience unfamiliar with the range of UK literature.

I’m a writer – will you send me to x country? I’ve been invited to attend a conference/workshop/event there.

For specific project funding we recommend you investigate the Artists' International Development Fund.

In uncommon instances, we are able to directly support a visit – but this is not how we normally work. Although we are not often able to support trips in this way, you can still tell us about your overseas work and we may find other ways to support it, for example, through communications and by making introductions.

I work for a literature organisation in the UK. Can you help me build partnerships overseas?

Yes. We are able to create links with countries in which we have a British Council office. We are happy to facilitate introductions and meetings where possible, but please note that we are not responsible for directing activity in different countries.

I am an author going on a trip – what should I know? 

Read the blog from programme manager Jim Hinks here!

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