More Money, More Problems


What happens when writers suddenly face a windfall? Bad things. That’s why the Whiting Awards include a financial planning workshop for winners. Winners of the 2016 Whiting Awards each received $50,000. For authors who are struggling as freelancers or adjunct professors, that is a huge influx of cash. At the New York Times, Sarah Lyall catches up with this year’s winners after they attended the aforementioned financial planning workshop:

“There’s a temptation to use magical money for magical purposes, to say, I should just throw the money up in the air and quit my job for a year and write my book,” said Alice Sola Kim, 32, who supports herself in part from her job as the executive assistant to a Columbia professor, writes short fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications and is working on a novel. “But this has taught me there’s another way, too, that I can be prudent about the future.”

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →