August 9, 2023
In an era when emerging writers face unprecedented challenges, the Authors Guild is proud to endorse the new Federal Writers’ Project bill. The original Federal Writers’ Project, during the New Deal era, bore witness to the creation of phenomenal works, offering a vivid record of a time of deep transition in America. These works stand as testament to the value of investing in our writers, encapsulating the heart and soul of a nation in flux.
The decline of more than 2,000 local newspapers and a staggering 60 percent decrease in newsroom staff over the last 15 years has resulted in a pressing need to chronicle the American experience, especially at the local level. Given the economic challenges writers face today, where even full-time authors grapple with declining, modest earnings—with median earnings of just over $20,000 a year—and talented young writers find it increasingly difficult to launch careers, providing employment for the record-keepers of our time is paramount.
With the rise of generative AI, the authentic narratives of human voices are more essential than ever. This legislation would offer grants to aid unemployed and underemployed writers and artists to document contemporary American realities, ensuring our nation’s cultural and historical legacy thrives for generations to come. We are grateful to representatives Ted Lieu and Teresa Leger Fernandez for introducing it.
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