The Walter Dean Myers Grant program was established to provide grants of $2,000 each to promising diverse writers and illustrators who are currently unpublished. Since 2015, we have awarded 26 grants, and we are set to award three new grants in 2021.
Prior recipients have secured literary representation and book deals, including our 2015 winner Angie Thomas who used her grant to purchase a computer to complete her Black Lives Matter-inspired manuscript. That YA manuscript, titled The Hate U Give, went on to sell in a 12-house auction, received 8 starred trade reviews, and is now a #1 New York Times’ Best Seller and a major motion picture.
We will start accepting applications for the 2021 Walter Grants at 12:01 AM EST on August 1, 2021. Our submission window will remain open until August 31, 2021. Applications must be in by 11:59 PM EST on August 31. We have extended the deadline for our Walter Grant for refugee and/or migrant writers and illustrators to September 22 at 11:59 PM EST. You may submit an application below using our application form.
- Applicants must identify as diverse, as per WNDB’s definition of diversity.
- Applicants must be unpublished as illustrators and/or authors. This includes both trade publishing and self-publishing. If the applicant has a book deal for an as yet unpublished book, the applicant is considered published for purposes of this grant. Essays, short stories, and articles do not render an applicant ineligible.
- Applicants who have books on submission to publishing houses are not eligible for the Walter Grant. Books on submission to procure an agent however will not render the applicant ineligible.
- Applicant must be working toward a career as a children’s author and/or illustrator. This includes but is not limited to: Picture Books, Early Reader Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade Books, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction, Poetry.
- Applicant must be a U.S, resident or a refugee living in the States. (Note for refugee applicants: receiving a grant might affect your income limitations and any government assistance you may receive. You may want to reach out to appropriate officials, like an immigration attorney, for advice.)
- Applicant must be at least 18 years in age.
Walter Grant FAQ
Please choose one category to submit, whichever you feel is a better fit for consideration.
In 2021, we have one Walter Grant available for trans creators, one available for Muslim creators, and one available for refugee/migrant creators. These grants ask that you self-identify as part of the community that you are applying for. There are no specifications or limitations. The Walter Grant for trans creators is open to all trans writers and illustrators, including but not limited to people who are nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, and agender. The Walter Grant for refugees and migrants is open to any refugee or migrant and there are no qualifications surrounding when you immigrated or became a refugee.
You may belong to one or more of these communities and still decide to apply for a general Walter Grant. If you belong to more than one of these communities, you need to choose one of the grants to apply for and cannot apply to more than one.
No, there is no limit to the number of entries accepted. We are accepting entries until August 31, 2021, at 11:59 pm EST. Applications are accepted through our application form online.
You are eligible to apply if you have legal residence in the United States regardless of citizenship.
Unfortunately, we cannot have original works or copies mailed in. Any illustration must be submitted electronically.
Applicants who have books on submission to publishing houses are not eligible for the Walter Grant. Books on submission to procure an agent however will not render the applicant ineligible.
No. Authors who have published outside of children’s literature are also not eligible for the Walter Grant.
There are no degree or publication credits required to apply for the grant.
No, authors who have have self published are not eligible for the Walter Grant.
Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.