The Society of Authors has announced two new awards to be distributed amongst its annual £250,000 Authors’ Foundation grants.

All applicants for grants for work in progress will now be considered automatically for the Eric Ambler Awards, offered in memory of the spy thriller writer, and for the Antonia Fraser Grants, open to any writer, offering two grants of £3,000 per year for a biography of a woman or women.

Antonia Fraser, one of the Authors’ Foundation’s original trustees, will be retiring from her role this year and commented on her decision to set up the Antonia Fraser Grants:

‘The Antonia Fraser Grants are inspired by my own lifelong interest in women’s history and a wish to encourage others to share it. Not only biographies of individual women will be eligible, but also studies of women in more general terms.  I have written both myself, starting for example with Mary Queen of Scots in 1969, and then moving to The Weaker Vessel: Woman’s Lot in 17th century England in 1984, ending with a group biography of Louis XIV’s ladies in 2006.

I believe strongly in the biographical approach to history which was after all created by individuals, and above all hope that applicants for an A.F.G will experience the same mixture of excitement and discovery in the course of their researches, as I have done.

As one of the founding Trustees of the Author’s Foundation, it gives me special pleasure to support its work in this way: to mark my withdrawal from active involvement after 33 years.’

Other awards currently offer funding for writing in the fields of natural history and the environment, philanthropy, poetry, racial understanding, Scandinavia, science fiction, and fantasy and magic realism (open to adult and children’s writers).

Applications for the Autumn round of the Authors’ Foundation close on 30 September. Information about all the Authors’ Foundation awards, eligibility criteria and details on how to apply can be found here.