Princeton grant program seeks to fund work from non-White authors

Princeton University Press is offering a grant opportunity specifically targeted to "BIPOC" authors.

Princeton University Press recently announced that it would offer grants for work specifically from "BIPOC" authors.

These grants are part of the Princeton University Press' (PUP) “Supporting Diverse Voices: Book Proposal Development Grants” program. The program seeks to attract Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) authors in areas across social science including: economics, politics, anthropology, and urban studies. 

The program launched in February 2021, with the initial cycle focusing on on reaching women, transgender, and gender-expansive authors. The PUP focused on race this cycle in response to lack of minority representation in the social sciences professional fields.  

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Those program’s benefits are expansive. According to the PUP’s official statement, selected grantees are partnered with a book coach and provided assistance with drafting a book proposal. The PUP also gives the grantees a sponsored editor.

These sorts of academic book writing programs are typically expensive. Jane Joann, one of the coaches partnered with this program, charges $8000 for a six-month virtual book-coaching program through her consulting firm: Up In Consulting. Laura Portwood Stacer, another coach involved with this program, charges a relatively more affordable $325 for her Book Proposal Accelerator. 

Campus Reform reached out to each coach associated with the Book Development Grants, but they did not respond in time for the publication of this article. 

The PUP claims that this program is aligned with its institutional goal of, “a publication program that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive—a goal we acknowledge requires direct and meaningful intervention.” 

Christie Henry, Director of Princeton University Press, told Campus Reform, “The grants are a part of a multi-faceted equity and inclusion strategic initiative, which intentions to diversify the demographics of our publishing program.”

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“This is also in support of a larger publishing industry commitment to establish a greater diversity of voices among book authors, scholarly authors included," Henry said.

Henry also clarified that the fees for the grants themselves were subsidized by the book coaching partners, and not Princeton University Press itself.

When asked if she thought the PUP’s initiative to focus on BIPOC authors was unfair to others, Henry pushed back. 

“There are many publishing grants available to scholars, of all demographics.” Henry said, “We have chosen a series of investments to support historically underrepresented and historically excluded scholars in publishing endeavors, in the way that we have long created opportunities for majority demographics and communities through our peer reviewed publishing process.”