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ACE literature funding to rise 9.9%
Arts Council England (ACE) portfolio funding for literature organisations will rise 9.9% in real terms compared to the previous funding period, the government claims, as ACE revealed its new national portfolio of arts organisations

Literature organisations within the portfolio will receive a total of £20.9m between 2012/15, receiving £6.8m in 2012/13, £6.9m in 2013/14 and £7.2m in 2014/15. This represents an increase in cash terms of 20.7% (9.9% in real terms) on the previous funding period. The figure for 2010–2011 is £5.9m.

As reported yesterday, London-based independent publisher Faber is among 11 literature organisations that have been added to the funding portfolio, and will receive £40,000 each year from April 2012 to 2015 for its Faber New Poetry ¬≠programme.

Although the publisher has already received funding for the programme from ACE in 2009 and 2010, Faber’s commissioning editor of poetry Matthew Hollis said he was “thrilled” to find out it was now part of the portfolio. He said: “It seems to make sense to us—and we hope ACE too—that the funding continues on a steadier footing for the next three years.” Hollis claimed it will allow more poets to learn about and take part in the scheme, which mentors developing poets, and will also allow more “bespoke” support.  

Other new organisations include short-story specialist Comma Press, charity Poet in the City, and The Children’s Bookshow.

However, the number of literature organisations to receive regular funding has fallen from 58 to 53, with previously funded publishers such as Arc, Enimarthon Press and Ayebia losing funding from 2012, as well as the Poetry Book Society (PBS), set up by the Arts Council in 1953. Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy said the PBS decision “goes beyond shocking and touches the realms of the disgusting”.

Becky Ayebia Clarke, who set up African and Caribbean publishing specialist Ayebia in 2003, called ACE’s decision to cut all funding to Ayebia “a heavy blow”. She added: “It is somewhat ironic that this sad news should come only a few weeks after I was awarded an Honorary MBE for services to the British publishing industry in the New Year’s Honours list.”

However, other publishers were relieved to continue to receive funding. Carcanet Press founder Michael Schmidt, which has been granted £368,712 for the 2012/15 period, said the new approach was “imaginative”, praising the introduction of new organisations. Tindal Street Press publishing director Alan Mahar, who will continue to receive funding, said: “I would have expected that literature would have been worse hit than it seems to have been.”

The Bookseller