Aberystwyth University: Fair pay for writers in Wales to be explored in new survey

Making writers’ pay fairer and establishing benchmarks for different kinds of author incomes will form part of a new study by Aberystwyth University.



Researchers at Aberystwyth Business School are working with Literature Wales in a new nationwide partnership exploring the earnings of writers working in Wales.



The Welsh literary organisation is working to ensure that Welsh and English language writers receive a fair rate of pay for their work from events and commissions to workshops and performances.



However, because of a lack of data, it is issuing a survey open to any author working in Wales. They will be asked about their work including writing income, modes through which they have been published, and how much of a proportion of their income is derived from events.



Authors will also be asked about their use of technology and networks, as well as the effects of COVID-19 on their work.



A representative random panel of 30 writer respondents will then take part in extensive one-to-one interviews with academics at Aberystwyth Business School to gain further insight into their experiences.



Researchers from the department will separately interview 15 commissioning organisations to discover how they calculate how much they pay authors for various tasks.



The results of the questionnaire will be used to understand the current rates of pay for writers in Wales and determine how this changes according to level of experience, language, form of writing and location. These will then inform how much the organisation pays its writers.



Literature Wales then plans to produce a set of payment guidelines that other commissioning organisations can use and how these should be influenced by the likes of the nature of an event or size and status of the commissioner in question.



Dr Sophie Bennett-Gillison, Lecturer in Management at Aberystwyth Business School, said:



“The creative sector plays an important role in Wales, both from an economic and cultural perspective, yet we know that income in this sector varies widely and income is no longer solely derived from writing. Some authors earn an income from public appearances or delivering literary events to supplement their income.



“We hope this investigation into author’s pay will highlight the contribution to the economy made by those working in this creative sub-sector, as well as helping to ensure fair rates of pay for all involved. We are delighted to be working with Literature Wales on this project.”



Leusa Llewelyn, Joint Interim CEO & Creative Lead, said:



“The power of literature helps to shape and improve our society, economy, and culture. Literature, in its great variety, has the power to connect communities and bring comfort, inspiration and hope to those who need it most. At the core of this work is the writers of Wales.



“As the national company for the development of literature in Wales, we champion fair employment practices for writers, including a fair rate of pay. This research will directly inform Literature Wales’ rates of pay and will be shared with the literary sector as guidelines, ensuring that Welsh writers are paid fairly in recognition of their professional skills.”

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