Opportunity: Funding for international literature work

In November we offered grants of between £1500 and £8000 to support the UK literature sector to work with organisations and individuals in selected countries.

Applications now closed – Working Internationally grant programme

In November we offered grants between £1500 - £8000 to support the UK literature sector to work with organisations and individuals in select countries.

Grant recipients: 


We’re supporting StAnza & Ex Libris Skopje to collaborate on a translation project bringing together poets from the UK and North Macedonia to create new work  

Chai Yee Thong 

Artists Chai Yee Thong and Rebecca Yeoh will curate an online exhibition exploring literature in response to the events surrounding May 13th, 1969 in Malaysia 

Writing on the Wall 

As part of Liverpool’s 2021 Year of Writing, Writing on the Wall will work with Gambian partners Dole Ndawi, Myanmar writer Amie Dodd & Saqi Books on international writing development workshops, performances and commissions. 


Literature as Testimony: The Wasafiri Festival of Human Rights Writing will unite writers from South America and East Africa in a series of eight events that explore the power of writing to respond to and help with healing in the wake of catastrophe 

Beyond the Border 

Beyond the Border will host 6 international online “Casglu/Gathering” sessions from March to October 2021, to share knowledge and practice between storytellers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Wales, stimulating professional development and future creative collaborations.  

Manchester UNESCO 

We’re delighted to be funding a joint project between Manchester City of Literature and Slemani City of Literature sharing expertise and translating poetry from each city into Kurdish and English.  

Rebecca Ruth Gould 

Arabic Poetry in Exile is a collaboration between Syrian writer and translator Saleh Razzouk and UK-based writer and translator Rebecca Ruth Gould to translate into English Arabic poetry that reflects the different varieties of exile experienced by Arabic poets throughout the 20th century 

CulturalSIX Huza 

Devon-based CulturalSIX & RwandaHuza Press are working on a new Rwanda and Devon Writing Partnership to create co-learning and exchange. 

All Change 

Connect 360 run by All Change is a global cultural exchange and arts activism project, re-connecting Francesca Beard, Hilda J. Twongyeirwe and Priya K and supporting them to mentor up to 60 diverse participants from Malaysia, Uganda and the UK 

Peter Kalu 

Writers Peter Kalu and Obinna Udenwe will discuss SARS/Black Lives Matter and Covid-19, using digital forms to hold a literary conversation on the challenges of our time. 

Nazneen Ahmed 

Write Beyond Borders is a UK-South Asia literature development and mentorship scheme run by writers Nazneen Ahmed, Susmita Bhattacharya & Aiysha Jahan that will showcase published authors of South Asian origin and nurture emerging talent in the UK, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. 

Hadi Badi 

We’re funding Hadi Badi Books to produce a UK-Egypt Creative Exchange aimed at promoting literary exchanges in children’s and YA literature through creative learning activities 

Knights Of 

Publishers Knights Of will work with Bengali illustrator Farrah Khandaker in a new and exciting children's fiction project.

Literature Works 

We’re funding a collaborative project between Literature Works and Durban-based Poetry Africa Festival who will host a series of 5 free online networking, writer development and showcase days celebrating writing by women in the UK and South Africa. 

Why a Working Internationally grant programme?

Through these grants we seek to:

  • Develop audiences for international literature from developing countries in the UK
  • Enable more UK literature organisations to work with international artists from developing countries, and to actively support professional development in this area.
  • Offer literature professionals from developing countries and the UK the opportunity to make new connections and gain a better understanding of each other’s work.

Each project should deliver one or more of the following:

  • Collaborative creative projects with partners in ODA recipient countries.
  • Introduce writers and artists from ODA recipient countries to wider audiences in the UK (e.g. appearances at digital festivals, virtual appearances at festivals in the UK).
  • Professional development or training activities where knowledge is shared between practitioners in the UK and ODA recipient countries

We particularly welcome applications from organisations or individuals who have not worked internationally before or propose to work internationally in a new way.

What is an ODA recipient country?

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is the UK government’s overseas aid budget to support the government’s 2015 Aid Strategy in developing countries. 

The Working Internationally grant programme is Official Development Assistance. ODA is a term coined by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to measure aid.

A full list of ODA recipient countries is available here.

Who can apply?

Literature festivals, literature development agencies, publishers, freelancers, venues, programmers or curators, libraries, creative collectives, writers, illustrators, and other literature professionals, who are based in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

Example project types:

These projects could include but are not limited to: creative collaborative commissions, captioning/translation costs for digital presentation of work from other languages, mentoring programmes, online writing workshops, training workshops or seminars, fees for writers from ODA recipient countries to present their work, research (where the researcher is based in a ODA recipient country), translation (where the translator is based in an ODA recipient country).

General eligibility information:

  • Describe how the activities benefit artists, or the literature sector, in one or more ODA recipient countries as well as the UK.
  • Include provision for paying an artist or freelancer in an ODA recipient country for their work.
  • Describe how activities are adapted to the Covid-19 context
  • Ensure activities are compatible with British Council EDI values
  • Provide evidence that the applicant has the capacity to deliver the activities
  • Detail the applicant's experience of working in an international context. If the applicant has not worked extensively internationally before, how will the activities internationalise their work?
  • Describe what the applicant is hoping to achieve through this activity in the short and long term
  • Ensure activities will be completed (including evaluation) by December 2021

What’s not eligible:

  • Capital projects
  • Unpaid engagements for writers or artists
  • Projects where the primary benefit is to UK participants only
  • Projects already in receipt of British Council funding

How to apply

Applications are now closed.

 Submissions should include:

  • a 500 word proposal responding to the eligibility criteria including details of capacity to deliver the project
  • a budget proposal
  • a proposed timeline of activity
  • a risk management plan
  • a brief evaluation plan, explaining what the key performance indicators of the project will be and how you will assess whether they have been met.
  • If the project involves collaborating with an overseas organisation (as opposed to an individual writer), please included a signed letter from the overseas partner committing to working together on the proposed project. Please email this to uk-literature@britishcouncil.org 


  • Closing date for submission of proposals: midnight on 12 November 2020 
  • Decision communicated to applicants: w/c 16 November 2020
  • Awards made: November – December 2020

Once you have submitted a proposal:

  • You will be sent an automated confirmation email response once you have submitted your application.
  • Applications will be considered by the British Council with assessments based on the criteria above.
  • You will be notified by email with the outcome of your application.
  • Once you have returned all necessary forms we will begin the payment procedure.
  • Payment will take a maximum of 30 days to clear into your bank account.
  • Applicants will need to commit to taking part in an evaluation procedure providing a report following their project and acknowledging support with agreed credit (e.g. on social media), within 1 month of the activity taking place.
  • To help us process payments promptly, it is important that you return the grant paperwork to us as quickly as possible. You must be in the position to have all project proposals and grant paperwork must be finalised and returned to the British Council before 1 December.

The British Council reserves the right to amend or clarify any aspect of this call for submissions prior to the closing date for applications. Please check the latest version before you apply.

The British Council is also offering larger grants of £10-50k as part of the Digital Collaboration Fund. Organisations can apply to both funds but should choose different projects as projects already in receipt of funding are not eligible for the Working Internationally grants

About the British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

We help young people to gain the skills, confidence and connections they are looking for to realise their potential and to participate in strong and inclusive communities. We support them to learn English, to get a high-quality education and to gain internationally recognised qualifications. Our work in arts and culture stimulates creative expression and exchange and nurtures creative enterprise.

The Literature team in the UK work together with the arts managers 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.


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