World of Books launches SoA award

News - Prizes Thursday, 1st April 2021

Society of Authors links with the UK’s largest retailer of used books for £5,000 bi-annual award for books 'that have the power to inspire progressive behaviour change'

World of Books Group, the UK’s largest retailer of used books, has partnered with the Society of Authors to launch a new grant to support writers as they work on 'books of any genre that have the power to inspire progressive behaviour change.'

The World of Books Impact Award will be granted twice a year and offers the winning author a sum of £5,000 to support them as they complete their work. The award criteria is linked to World of Books own guiding values and aligned with the UN sustainability goals of Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action and Quality Education.

Applications for the first World of Books Impact Award are now open until July, with the first award due to be granted this October.

In addition to this support, the company has also committed to providing additional contributions to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to support writers experiencing financial difficulty, also managed by the SoA.

According to a report from the SoA, two-thirds of authors have suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the majority losing more than half. Furthermore, over 60% have received no financial support from the government. The sharp increase in applications for support to the SoA prompted the organisation to source emergency funding from industry partners, government and individuals, enabling it to award £1.3 million in hardship grants to writers facing financial difficulty during 2020.

Graham Bell, chief executive of World of Books Group, said: "We understand that words have the power to change the world. Writers play a vital role in inspiring necessary changes in behaviour that go far in protecting the planet and making society a better place. We were founded on an ethos to support communities and protect the planet – and we’re delighted to be able to provide support to writers who are working on exciting books that align with this purpose.

"The last year has been difficult for everyone – but especially those in creative industries. Over the last year, many writers and other arts professionals who dedicate their lives to providing entertainment, escapism and knowledge have missed out on the government support provided to others. We’re proud to do our bit to help the Society of Authors continue to provide the vital support to authors who need help now more than ever."

Nicola Solomon, chief executive of SoA (pictured), said: "We award many grants for work in progress each year, but the World of Books Impact Award uniquely acknowledges the profound difference the written word can make to the way we think about the environment and the action that can inspire.

"There is an urgent need for forward-thinking, transformative books to lead positive environmental and societal change. Authors feel passionately about these issues, but those books can only happen when authors have the time and space to create them. That can be a challenge at the best of times. But with so many authors hit financially by the health crisis, the World of Books Impact Award is a very positive opportunity at a critical time. We are excited to see what new books this funding might help to make possible- and the change they will inspire in our world.

"We are extremely grateful to World of Books for understanding the value of supporting authors and the difference they can make."

Authors wishing to submit their application for funding should visit the Society of Authors website for further information at