rganizations that relied on large gatherings were hit particularly hard by the shutdown of Dallas, but Deep Vellum fared OK. Readers had plenty of newfound time.
But freelance writers who relied on literary endeavors as their primary sources of income struggled.
Deep Vellum launched an emergency fund for Texas literary artists in response. The local publishing house raised $11,500 in private donations and distributed grants of about $250 to 43 writers across the state.
“What little we gave was a lot to them,” says Will Evans, executive director of Deep Vellum. “This [virus] is dragging on, and there’s no more relief coming for anybody, it looks like. We’re trying to make it work for these great writers.”
The applications Deep Vellum received painted a dire portrait. Nearly 30 percent of applicants had been laid off from a secondary, non-literary job, and half earned less than $15,000 a year.
The need for more support was clear. A second round of fundraising produced $12,000, composed of private donations and a $5,000 grant from United Way. The need-based grants will be distributed in November.
“We could use $5,000 too, but another day,” Evans says. “It’s about paying forward the goodwill we’ve received from the literary community across Texas.”