Literary Fund

Literary Fund (Літературний Фонд; Literaturnyi fond). The popular name for a private relief fund for writers in need, established in Saint Petersburg in 1859 as the Society for Assistance to Needy Writers and Scholars. The only branch in Ukraine existed in Odesa. The society was open to all writers in the Russian Empire as well as to all other interested persons. Its funds came from dues, bequests, donations, and proceeds from readings, concerts, and publications, as well as from the Ministry of Education. Its aim was to give financial assistance to writers or bereaved families of writers, to have their works published, and to help young and talented but needy persons to attain an education toward a literary or teaching career. Subsistence grants were not made public until after the recipient’s death. It is believed that among Ukrainian writers Taras Shevchenko, Marko Vovchok, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, and Pavlo Hrabovsky all received aid from the fund. The literary fund society ceased to exist in 1918. A fund with similar aims of all-encompassing aid to needy writers was established in the USSR in 1934; it was run by the state and was under the auspices of the Writers' Union of the USSR. Grants, however, were restricted to writers faithful to the Communist Party. In the same year a branch was opened in Kyiv with subbranches in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lviv, and Odesa. Under the fund’s auspices were also the ‘buildings of creativity’ in Irpin and Odesa, the writers’ building in Kyiv, living quarters, clubs, and the like.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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