A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

ICYMI: Watch the #ThisIsIt2017 videos

If you didn’t make it to the Literary Cabaret 2017 on 23 November, or to watch the speakers again, here are the videos.

Please share your comments with us @LitScotland using #ThisIsIt2017.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scotland’s Culture Secretary opens the show.

“Words matter, writers matter…Scotland is a country of the word. You are guardians and nurturers of that word. You are creators of that word. Thank you.”

 

Francis Bickmore, Publishing Director of Canongate, on publishing:

“Novels are literally a crash-course in empathy…Books can not only make us care but they can also give us hope.”

 

Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival on book festivals:

 

Pamela Tulloch, CEO of Scottish Library and Information Council on public and school libraries:

 

Award-winning poet William Letford on writers:

 

Best-selling author Louise Welsh on international perspective:

December 4, 2017

Open Letter: We hope Government will continue to recognise the value of public funding of the arts

The Editor, The Herald

The cultural sector in Scotland awaits the UK Government’s budget announcement on Wednesday this week with trepidation: a perfect storm approaches.  Stark warnings have been issued to prepare for significant financial challenges. But further cuts to the public funding that supports the arts and its infrastructure in Scotland, the bedrock of a cultural offer recognised worldwide for its quality, will undoubtedly lead to the disappearance of many irreplaceable arts organisations.

The sector in Scotland has already weathered cuts of more than a third in real terms since 2010, including a year-on-year collapse of Lottery funding, which until now has been used to shore up Creative Scotland’s core funding for theatres, galleries, venues, literature, and more.  Creative Scotland would need an increase of 48% or £22m on the 2016 budget simply to match the real-term level of 2010.  Arts Council England, by contrast, this year announced £170m in new investment to support 180 additional National Portfolio Organisations.

Core funding reductions are compounded by threats from other areas:  if Barclay Review recommendations are implemented, millions would be wiped from the budgets of arts venues across Scotland.  Culture is not a protected spend, so further cuts to Local Authority budgets will wipe out grass roots community arts activities.

We welcome the positive public statements made by the Scottish Government in acknowledging the central role culture plays across our society, and we applaud the major new investments in film and the Edinburgh Festivals, The Burrell Collection and The V&A in Dundee. Clearly, the will to support arts and culture exists at the highest level.

However, big flagship investments cannot substitute for the basic funding that our everyday, small-to-medium sized cultural groups need to exist. If these disappear, which many will if predictions about cuts to Regular Funding Organisations (RFOs) are correct, how will we nurture and sustain the highly skilled but low-paid artists who deliver arts, culture and creative experiences to audiences across every community in Scotland?

We are clear that we have now arrived at a tipping point where even a small cut to Creative Scotland’s Grant-In-Aid, alongside the reduction in Lottery funds and local authority cuts, will devastate Scotland’s arts and culture infrastructure.  Damage to this infrastructure, developed with the aid of public investment over the last fifty years, will be irreversible. This cannot be overstated.

Conversely, a very small increase in funding would allow the core infrastructure of arts and culture in Scotland to survive and to thrive.

The argument for investment is strong. The arts and culture sector is one of the most efficient and dynamic in the country. In 2015/16 RFOs attracted £109m of extra investment from sources other than public funds and created 1.62 million public participation opportunities. In 2015, 92% of adults in Scotland participated in a cultural activity and Scotland’s Creative industries contribute £4.6bn GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting 73,600 jobs. These outcomes draw from, and depend on, skills identified and developed by the arts.

We are proud to live in a country that values arts and culture for its own sake as well as for its wider societal impact on health, education, justice and communities.  Government funding is vital to this ecosystem. We write to ensure the potential impact of further cuts is fully understood, and we ask the Scottish Government to demonstrate that understanding in the Draft Budget to come.

Yours faithfully,

Seonaid Daly, Director, Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Marc Lambert, Literature Alliance Scotland

Jan-Bert van den Berg, Director, Artlink Edinburgh & Lothians

Fiona Logue, Director, Craft Scotland

Dave Watson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Unison

Claire Stewart, Director, Creative Edinburgh

David Francis, Director, Traditional Music Forum

Jude Henderson, Director, Federation of Scottish Theatre

David Watt, Chief Executive, Arts & Business Scotland

Janie Nicoll, former President, Scottish Artist Union

Sara Graham, CC Skills, Nations Director

Robert Livingston, Director, Regional Screen Scotland

Diana A Sykes, Director, Fife Contemporary

The letter appeared in The Herald on Tues 21 November 2017 here, and was also covered by Phil Miller online here.

 

 

November 21, 2017

LAS launches Membership Skills’ Survey

LAS is delighted to launch our Members’ Skills Survey, which aims to build a clear picture of our combined expertise and resource.

The results will be used to aid our long-term strategic planning with a view to identifying opportunities for professional development, collaboration and networking within the membership.

To maximise the value of this process we are keen that all Member and Network Associate organisations contribute.

The survey can be found here: http://bit.ly/LASskillsSurvey

The closing date is Friday 3 March 2017 with the analysis ready by the end of March 2017 to share with our membership thereafter.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and, although it does depend on the level of detail you provide, this survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Thank you!

Please contact Jenny Kumar on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk with any questions.

February 20, 2017

LAS seeks new Chair

LAS seeks to appoint a new Chair in early 2017 and welcomes expressions of interest from potential candidates. A description of the position and the candidate qualities sought is attached below. The person appointed will have a sound knowledge of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level, familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management and knowledge of the principles of corporate governance.

The Chair serves for a term of three years, which is renewable for a further term of three years.

As Literature Alliance Scotland is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), the position is unremunerated but expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out the duties of Chair will be met.

How to Apply
If you are interested in putting your name forward for this position, please send a CV and covering letter by email to Dr Donald Smith, Vice-Chair on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk by 31 January 2017.

Key Responsibilities

  • Advance the interests of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level.
  • Fulfil a strong ambassadorial role for Scottish literature and languages in consultation with members of Literature Alliance Scotland.
  • Provide leadership to the Board of Trustees and Members of Literature Alliance Scotland and ensure that Trustees and Members fulfil their duties and responsibilities as a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).

Main Duties

  • Provide leadership to the Board of Trustees and Members in setting the future strategy for Literature Alliance Scotland.
  • Ensure that the values and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland are regularly reviewed.
  • Chair Board and Member meetings and oversee an effective administration.
  • Represent Literature Alliance Scotland and promote the organisation to government, local authorities, external partners, stakeholders and funders.

Candidate Qualities

Knowledge

  • A sound knowledge of Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level
  • Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management
  • Knowledge of the principles of corporate governance

Experience

  • Active involvement with Scottish literature and languages in one or more fields
  • Acquaintance with leadership and management within the public sector
  • Familiarity with working collectively and in partnership

Skills

  • Strategic thinking and problem solving
  • Strong ambassadorial skills
  • Sound independent thinker and ability to think creatively
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Managing finance and accounts
  • Excellent spoken and written communications skills

Personal Qualities

  • Strong commitment to the values and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland

Other Factors

  • Convenient access to Edinburgh is desirable since most (but not all) meetings are held there.
January 10, 2017

Development meeting for overseas literature promotion set for January 2017

mb2_0945

LAS is set to hold a development meeting in January 2017 as part of the next steps agreed with delegates at their International Literature Summit in November 2016.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 25 January 2017 from 12-2pm at the Saltire Society in Edinburgh and welcomes individuals and organisations with a remit in the international promotion of Scotland’s literature, languages & books.

Following consensus at the International Literature Summit for a joint service between organisations for overseas promotion, the meeting aims to work out the detail with a practical, pragmatic and focused universal approach.

Please register here

Summary notes on the Literature Summit can be read here.

December 15, 2016

Headline notes on the International #LiteratureSummit 2016

We were delighted to welcome an impressive turnout of literary delegates and speakers – writers, publishers, literature organisations, literary agents, literary editors, translators and academics – to the Summit on the International Promotion of Literature & Books 2016 on 23 November for what many have described from the feedback as a stimulating discussion. We’re grateful to all the speakers, including Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for International Development & Europe who delivered the opening address, and delegates for their contribution. Photos of the day are here.

mb2_1049

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP.

Below are the headline notes, including, at the end, the consensus reached and the agreed key action, on which we will move forward quickly, so watch this space!

Headline Notes

mb2_1073

Keynote – Dr James Robertson

  • Joined up thinking and acting to be done
  • Are Scottish Literature and Languages part of soft diplomacy’s toolkit and if so to build what, with whom and for what purpose?
  • With less money available, need to spend wisely and efficiently
  • Economically and ecologically best to send writers overseas? – use resources differently e.g. podcasts, more translations
  • How to judge success? Number of book sales or literary prize wins?
  • ASLS good example of how patience in building international contacts can yield rich outcomes over a long period
  • What do mean, whom do we mean by Scottish writers?
  • What does Scottish Literature look like from elsewhere?
  • If literature represents the kind of society from which it grows, historically, Scottish Literature tells the world a very different story to English Literature
  • Need to balance literary identities and aspirations with practicalities and the realities of the political world.

Session One – Literature Organisations’ Perspective: what needs to be done?

mb2_1091

Fiona Brownlee, Brownlee Donald Associates for Association of Scottish Literary Agents (ASLA)

  • Focus on best use of resources
  • Fund authors to travel with dedicated promotion
  • Point of contact in international / foreign offices, offering / driving coherent promotional support for authors
  • Promotion and book appearances tied together e.g. Saltire offices in NYC
  • Join up disparate organisations

mb2_1129

Duncan Jones, Director, Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS)

  • University network as natural ambassadors for Scottish Literature, engaging with students internationally
  • Readers regularly not realising strong Scottish writers are actually Scottish
  • Scottish universities to recognise Scottish Literature alongside other courses
  • Availability of texts is vital, online and at home, classic texts to be brought back in to publication

mb2_1148

Eleanor Pender, Communications Executive, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust

  • Balance of home and abroad working together to create a strong basis for international collaboration

mb2_1167

Nick Barley, Festival Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival

  • Authors needs to travel to develop relationships
  • Global relationships and exchange are vital in promoting Scottish Literature – it’s an ongoing conversation

mb2_1208

Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive, Publishing Scotland

  • Coming from a position of strength in collaborative working
  • Build on existing assets to work better internationally
  • Recommends new joint venture / service from a number of organisations rather than new body in charge – with dedicated staff to handle work

mb2_1226

Asif Khan, Director, Scottish Poetry Library

  • Sustainability – share authors and writers abroad, visiting poets and residencies, translation workshops and media collaborations
  • Joined up thinking
  • Historically Scottish poetry is more outward looking
  • Synchronise Scottish Poetry to where it’s looking out to the world

mb2_1438

Session 2: Public Agencies & Tourism Panel

Chair: Magnus Linklater; Panellists: Jenny Niven, Creative Scotland (JN), Cortina Butler, British Council – Literature (CB), Jeni Oliver, SDI (JO), James McVeigh, Festivals Edinburgh & Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (JMcV).

JN: important to consider what success looks like. Four key themes of CS’ framework for international approach: import, export, cultural exchange, and cultural diplomacy.

JMcV: Arts and tourism separated by semantics – visitors = readers, audience. Literary tourism generally packaged as heritage as easier to engage with place marketing. Challenge is how tourism sector works with contemporary writers. Engage with organisations to find the ‘hook’.

Soft power
JN: Cultural diplomacy and relationships are fluid. Difficult to match countries and agency objectives with artists’ creative suggestions and where they want to go.

Tourism
JMcV: Readers are the audience. Engage with the cultural tourism offering of all kinds of countries.

CB: We need to understand and recognise the differing priorities for organisations, agencies, writers, publishers etc. to find where they overlap – the sweet spot.

Branding a culture
JO: Need to understand what starts the conversation with a country, which varies from country to country. Need to start thinking about its audiences, tourists, readers – where do we want to engage? Don’t rely on what is already out there and the known writers. Need to do more about content that resonates here – different across Scotland. Businesses here are identifying new ideas, taking on the risk and offering support with that risk.

CB: English and Scottish book activity looks for a range of writers from across the country, depending on what the project is looking for.

JO: What is your audience, where are they and what is the hook? How to bring it all together?

JN: An atmosphere where organisations are championing each other’s efforts. Need for a collective mechanism to bring these efforts together. New agency not feasible, but tangible efforts can be made. Persuade Scottish media to focus on the arts more. Work in development visibility on increasing Scottish arts in the media.

mb2_1519

Session 3: Writers’ Panel – what additional support do writers need?

Chair: David Robinson; Panellists: Ronald Frame (RF); Gavin Francis (GF), Vivian French (VF) and Kathleen Jamie (KJ).

VF: When do you decide that an author is Scottish and that their work is Scottish?
Children’s picture books are a massive export. 80% of books in a Copenhagen bookstore originated from the UK. Live aspect is very important for children’s books.

GF: Attending events or travelling has been under different provisos, different organisations and mechanisms. It’s very precarious, often fortuitous. It would be useful for authors if they knew that British Council would help fly them if there was a bursary or more information available.

RF: Scottish fiction doesn’t seem to sell well. It sells well in the US but less so here.

KJ: Scotland is a country of landscape, not of crime.

VF: With the children’s book world, it’s our books going out but not many books coming in.

GF: There are hopeful signs with basic minimums to pay writers travelling to events. Most writers have a couple of jobs to support themselves too.

Jenny Niven mentioned Open Project Funding less than £5k – smaller pots of money available with quicker turnaround.

Key issues: writers and bureaucracy for applications and rights issues, points raised about the issue of selection of writers, perception that the same writers get chosen for agency projects, writers not being aware of how their work is used or what organisations offer.

Also highlighted was International Literature Showcase in Norwich, which CS is partner funding.

mb2_1641

Session 4: Publishers’ Panel – what more could be done internationally?

Chair: Jenny Brown; Panellists: Hugh Andrew, Birlinn (HA); Andrea Joyce, Canongate Books (AJ); Katy Lockwood-Holmes, Floris Books (KL-H); Adrian Searle, Freight Books (AS); Rosemary Ward, Gaelic Books Council (RW), Robert Davidson, Sandstone Press (RD).

AS: Sell more books to International publishers, more resource to Publishing Scotland to expand on success. Foundation of success based on books that have done well in their own country – over 10,000 copies. Build the market in Scotland. Pressure the media for support.

KL-H: Children’s part of Scottish Literature is building readers of the future. Authors & illustrators’ success overseas translates in sales and rights sales.

RD: Action on sales – we have a team in North America selling Scottish books. Face to face contact is key.

AJ: AJ: Key for Scottish publishers to get out and build relationships with international publishers to persuade them to take risk on a new voice and new writer. Need Go See follow up fund, Reverse Fellowship internship.

RW: Co-ordinated initiative to promote writers and authors.

HW: Home market is dysfunctional. If we don’t make any money at home, can’t expand and invest in foreign markets. Need self-sustaining home market.

Cortina Butler, British Council – on looking at other countries – recommended Polish Book Institute as a good example of online resource providing support and information available to writers. Translation needs with marketing component.

AS: Good examples is NORLA, great engagement, success in home market but doing it for 25 years – long term investment.

mb2_1774

Q&A highlights

  • New Books in German – Publishing Scotland produces similar title for Scotland
  • Invite translators to conferences
  • Irish Literature Exchange (name clearly says what it does)
  • Why does Irish diaspora support their books more?
  • Discover books via link with television and film adaptations / improve link with development directors
  • AS: need more independent bookshops – call to remove business rates

mb2_1732

Session 5: Resolutions & Next Steps

Magnus Linklater (ML); Donald Smith (DS); Marion Sinclair (MS)

mb2_1758

Headline discussion points

  • Need for coherence, communication and some co-ordination
  • No desire for uniformity or imposition of one single strategic line
  • Agreement for a shared strategy that encompasses the different aspects and is understood by all
  • How might this be expressed and developed?
  • Joined up thinking – can different bodies and organisations release boundaries in guarding own patch to work in coordination?
  • New agency model may be applicable in the longer term
  • At present, agreed that the model had to be structured co-operation amongst the existing lead organisations working closely with the public bodies and agencies
  • Consensus around the idea of a joint service – jointly between organisations. Detail tba – see key action below
  • Festivals Edinburgh suggested as a possible comparator.

Jeni Oliver, SDI, made a commitment for

  • Further support for Go See Fund for follow-up visits to new markets, showcasing a new product to a new market or looking to build new relationships.
  • More support for Translation Fund for marketing element

mb2_1053

Headline audience discussion
Donald Smith: Mission critical that Creative Scotland support those who already exist so it’s difficult to find new resources for a new organisation.

Jenny Niven: Some seed money is available from Creative Scotland to move things forward.

Joy Hendry: Literary editors and magazines not discussed. No recognition for literary editors’ unique links and relationships on international stage with writer networks. Need formal recognition and input from literary magazines.

Ian Brown: Problem of not overlapping – clear need for more coordinating and communicating within the sector.

Fiona Brownlee: Very positive day. Publishing Scotland and EIBF bring a great deal and should be involved.

James Robertson: Opportunity to promote literature in collaboration with other cultural forms – overlap with music and other art forms, especially film.

Ron Butlin: Need to help Scottish Government understand that the arts are cost-effective PR for Scotland.

Kaite Welsh: Soon to be four literature officers at Creative Scotland – please contact us to ask questions.

Linda Strachan: Authors don’t know what’s going on and how their work is being used. How to communicate information to the grassroots level? It needs to reach the writers and the creative people.

Robyn Marsack: Poets needs to try and subscribe to literature organisations such as SPL. Writers need to make an effort too – it’s a two-way system.

Graeme Hawley: Scottish Literature on Wikipedia needs updating. Far less info, photos, links available than Irish Literature – missed opportunity, can be updated by anyone!

Cathy Agnew: Highlighted DG Unlimited – new online membership organisation for those who care about Dumfries & Galloway’s creative sector and cultural life. Shared press & publicity.

In addition, Jenny Niven presented an update on work achieved or underway since publication of Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Review in 2015, based on news release issued the morning of the Summit – Growing Scotland’s Literature & Publishing Sector

Key Action

A meeting will be convened, under the auspices of LAS, via an open call, that both members and interested non-members can attend to discuss and work out the detail of the Summit’s consensus for a joint service between organisations with a practical, pragmatic and focused universal approach.

Timescale: by end February 2017.

mb2_1082

November 30, 2016

Creative Scotland news: Growing Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector

Creative_Scotland-logo-695

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland today, Wednesday 23 November 2016, provides an update on Creative Scotland’s work to support Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector, since the publication of its Literature and Publishing Review.

The update coincides with Niven’s appearance at Literature Alliance Scotland’s International Summit, taking place at Edinburgh’s Storytelling Centre, during Book Week Scotland.

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, commented:
“Convened in direct response to recommendations within the Literature and Publishing Sector Review published in June 2015, the Summit is bringing together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and public bodies to plan how Scotland can better support the international promotion and presentation of Scotland’s writers and literature.

“A range of other projects, including new support for translation as well as investment in the recently established International Literature Showcase are part of our increased focus on international working, in response to feedback from the Literature sector in 2015’s sector review.

“That consultation has helped shape our Arts and Creative Industries Strategies and we thank everyone who has contributed to this work so far.  We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

Published 18 months ago, the Literature Sector Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland, sustaining the sector as a vibrant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. The review covered a range of areas including individual writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.

In addition to the £4m awarded to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations, over the last year, to support their work in Scotland and internationally, a number of measures have been undertaken in the past 18 months to help grow the Sector, including:

International Promotion
Developing a strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writers and Literature

  • Today’s International Summit has been co-ordinated by LAS, in direct response to a specific recommendation from Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector Review, to explore a more strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writing and literature.  Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event. The aim of the day is to lay the groundwork for a stronger international presence for Scottish literature.

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.”

  • Creative Scotland is partner funding a major new initiative with Writers Centre Norwichand the British Council to promote UK writers and literature organisations overseas.  Launched in September 2016, the online International Literature Showcase is supporting talented upcoming writers with promotional opportunities, new commissions and the development of their international profile.

Developing Talent and Skills

  • In the last financial year, 2015-16, Creative Scotland awarded more than £4million to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations to support their work in Scotland and internationally. For further information on Creative Scotland’s support for Literature, languages and publishing please visit, here.
  • Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fundoffers support for individual writers at all stages of their careers.  Awards made this year include Janice Galloway, Kirsty Logan, Amy Liptrot, Ewan Morrison, Merryn Glover, Malachy Tallack and Gordon Meade.
  • The Gavin Wallace Fellowship enables writers to take time out of their usual environment to develop their practice over the course of a year.  Writer Kirsty Logan, who undertook her Fellowship in 2015, commented: “The past year has been absolute bliss. Having the freedom to read, think and explore is truly priceless for a writer. The fellowship came at exactly the right time in my writing life, and I can’t recommend it enough.”
  • Creative Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Review of Books to run the Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme, which was launched with a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2016. Between November 2016 and February, 2017, 20 writers looking to break into literary criticism are being mentored in small groups by critics Alan Taylor, Rosemary Goring, David Robinson, Kaite Welsh and Dave Coates. Mentees are receiving guidance on writing literary criticism for print and online platforms and are receiving individual feedback with a view to showcasing their work on a special Emerging Critics section of the Scottish Review of Books website.

Mentee Ian Abbott, commented: “The emerging critics programme is bringing together different voices and practices from inside and outside the field of literature to learn from, share with and challenge each other. It offers the opportunity to reset, refocus and deepen our thinking on what criticism is, could be and how relevant it is; I’m interested in who isn’t represented, the gaps that exist and why some voices are invisible. There is already a generosity and exchange amongst our group and I believe it’s going to produce a series of stimulating debates, new sets of knowledge and a hearty barrel of the unknown.”

Translation

  • Launched in August 2015, the new Translation Fund, delivered by Publishing Scotland, is designed to encourage international publishers to translate works by Scottish writers. The £25,000 fund has already supported the translation of work from authors such as Amy Liptrot, Gavin Francis, Jenni Fagan and Jackie Kay translated into a variety of languages including Spanish, Italian and German amongst others.

Aly Barr, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said “The Publishing Scotland translation fund is now attracting applications from leading publishers around the world. The fund forms part of a pathway for international publishers-working in parallel with the annual international publishing fellowship. The fund is the amongst the largest awards schemes for translating books in Britain and positions Scottish publishing as an outwardly facing industry keen to share its stories with the world.”

  • The Fellowship Programme launched in August 2015 with the aim of forging stronger and more strategic links between international and Scottish publishers and agents to discover and acquire the rights to Scottish books.  Developed in partnership between Creative Scotland, Emergents and Publishing Scotland, the programme has engagedeighteen international publishing fellows.
  • The newly established Translation Residency Programme is offering writers the opportunity to take the time to work on the translation of Scottish works.  Delivered by Cove Park in partnership withPublishing Scotland and the British Centre for Literary Translation.  Anne Brauner (Germany) and Clara Pezzuto (Italy) undertook residencies in September 2016 and translated works byScotland based authors – The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie and And The Land Lay Still by James Robertson, respectively.
  • In 2017, the Translation Programme will expand to include partnerships with Writers Centre Norwich and University of Glasgow, in addition to a continuing relationship with Publishing Scotland, creating a UK-wide and outward looking programme. Highlights include residential mentoring for translators and poet-poet translation, as well as an increase in the number of translation residencies available.

Advocating for literature

  • Literature Alliance Scotland was awarded £50,000 in April 2016 to undertake a two-year programme of advocacy and networking involving its 26 member organisations (e.g. EIBF, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Book Trust, Saltire Society). The programme of activity will be rolled out over the next 18 months and the first output is today’s international summit.

Writer’s Pay

  • Creative Scotland’s recently published Arts Strategy underlines its ambition to improve the financial context in which artists and other creative professionals develop and make their work.  The Strategy has been informed by findings reported in the Literature Sector Review which found that that 81% of Scottish writers who responded to the survey earn below the National Minimum Wage. Together with the Society of Authors in Scotland, and other partners, Creative Scotland is exploring ways to address this issue and encourage organisations representing writers to continue to work closely with the sector in setting  standards  and  terms  of  engagements  for  activities  such as travel,  speaking  engagements, residencies, and publishing  contracts.

Access to literature and support for Scotland’s languages

  • In August 2015, Creative Scotland and the National Libraries of Scotland announced the first Scots Scriever – poet, novelist and playwright, Hamish MacDonald.  Responsible for working with the cultural sector, communities, and in particular, schools across Scotland, the Scriever will work to enhance awareness, understanding and use of Scots.  The Scriever post is also directly complementing Education Scotland’s work through their Scots language co-ordinators to broaden engagement of the Scots language policy.

Notes to Editors

About Creative Scotland 

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

Media Contact

Sophie Bambrough
Media Relations and PR Officer, Creative Scotland

D +44 131 523 0015 +44 7916 137 632

E: Sophie.bambrough@CreativeScotland.com

November 23, 2016

Summit to Debate Promotion of Scotland’s Literature & Books Overseas

A Summit to debate how Scotland’s literature sector should promote its writing and writers overseas is set to take place on Wednesday 23 November 2016 at the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.

Taking place during Book Week Scotland, the Summit is hosted by Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS), Scotland’s largest network of literature and languages organisations.

Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event that brings together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and the main public agencies in Scotland with a responsibility for the international promotion of Scotland’s literature and languages.

Author and publisher James Robertson will deliver a keynote speech. Speakers also include non-fiction award-winning writer Dr. Gavin Francis, poet Kathleen Jamie and children’s author Vivian French, publishers Canongate and Birlinn, literature organisations Publishing Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Association of Scottish Literary Studies, and public bodies and agencies Creative Scotland, British Council and Scottish Development International. The full programme is here.

The ‘by invitation’ Summit responds to recommendation 31 of Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Review, published in June 2015, to ‘lay the groundwork for a strategic and coordinated international presence.’

Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Allan said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Scotland’s literature internationally. This event will bring together for the first time public agencies, writers and literary organisations to discuss ways to strengthen the presence of Scotland’s literature and publishing on the international stage.

“I look forward to opening this event and being part of the discussions on how we can work together to promote our literary culture at every possible opportunity.”

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: “The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.

“We’re honoured to welcome Dr Allan MSP to open the day and look forward to hearing from a range of different voices across the sector – both speakers and delegates. We don’t expect to find an answer in only one day, but we’re ambitious to reach a consensus of how we move forward practically, which is a step in the right direction.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “Writing from Scotland, both historic and contemporary, is recognised worldwide for its excellence. However, a stronger, more visible and better coordinated international presence would bring benefit for Scottish writers, publisher and organisations alike, which in turn is of benefit to Scottish culture and society as a whole. This view was voiced across the sector during the consultation commissioned by Creative Scotland in 2015, so it’s terrific to see that work is being made tangible via the upcoming summit. There is a range of partners with a vested interest in working towards this goal and having everyone brought together is of enormous value. I look forward to a vibrant discussion, which foregrounds the strengths on which we can build, and lays the foundations for a practical approach in the future.”

-Ends-

Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland. For further information, please contact LAS Communications Officer Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

  • Published in July 2015, Creative Scotland’s Literature Sector Review provides an overview of contemporary literature provision, reflecting the successes and the distinct qualities of Literature and Publishing in Scotland whilst at the same time identifying development needs, future challenges and opportunities, which will help inform the future work to best support literature and publishing in Scotland.
  • The Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland and sustaining the sector as a vibrant and resonant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. It covers a range of areas including writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, the sector ecology and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.
  • This event responds to a recommendation with the review that leading literature institutions and publishers convene a summit for laying the groundwork for a strategic and coordinated international presence. More info here:
  • http://www.creativescotland.com/resources/our-publications/sector-reviews/literature-and-publishing-sector-review

Literature Alliance Scotland, a membership organisation, represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and is committed to advancing their interests at home and abroad. We exist to provide a strong, trusted collective voice on their behalf. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland.

For further information visit www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk or follow us @LitScotland

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.

Working with a range of partners, it is delivered by Scottish Book Trust, a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. Scottish Book Trust believes that books and reading have the power to change lives. As a national charity, we inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure. For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit www.bookweekscotland.com. Follow @Bookweekscot on Twitter, check out #bookweekscot or like the Book Week Scotland Facebook page.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland, please visit www.creativescotland.com Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

November 15, 2016

End of LAS Chair’s term marked at first AGM

LAS held their first AGM yesterday (9 November 2016) at Saltire Society under their new constitution as a SCIO, which marked the end of Dr Ann Matheson’s term as LAS Chair.

The meeting was well attended by members and the board who made a special presentation to Ann for her dedication to Scotland’s literature and languages and her incredibly hard work and inimitable leadership in overseeing the transition of the organisation into Literature Alliance Scotland.

In addition, yesterday marked LAS Administrator Catherine Allan’s last board and members’ meeting as she is due to leave the organisation in December 2016. Catherine, who has worked tirelessly to keep the organisation running smoothly from its inception, also received a presentation to thank her for her important contribution.

amca

Dr Ann Matheson (left) and Catherine Allan

LAS is in the process of seeking a new Chair and more information will follow in due course.

Meanwhile, the role of administration will be handed over to Communications Officer Jenny Kumar from January 2017.

November 10, 2016

Appointment of LAS Communications Officer

Literature Alliance Scotland is very pleased to announce that Jenny Kumar of JK Consultancy in Glasgow has been appointed to the post of LAS Communications Officer. Jenny is a graduate of the University of Glasgow with thirteen years’ experience in communications. She has worked with organisations across the arts, third sector, health, economic development and tourism, and will take up her post with Literature Alliance Scotland in the week commencing 25 July 2016. We welcome Jenny to her new role with Literature Alliance Scotland.

July 21, 2016
Appointment of LAS Communications Officer

Literature Alliance Scotland seeks new Communications Officer

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) wishes to contract a Communications professional to assist in driving forward its goals and future development. This work offers an opportunity to work with Scotland’s literature organisations, contribute to developments and have an active involvement in managing and delivering LAS’s activities for literature. The contract will also include some events management and administration. The successful applicant will work largely independently on a day-to-day-basis, and will report to the Lead on Advocacy and Communications and ultimately to the LAS Board of Trustees.

The estimated time commitment equates to 2.5 days per week for an initial contract period of one year based on a daily rate of £150.00.

LAS plans to appoint to allow the work to begin from July 2016. Contract details are shown below.

How to Apply

Please send a CV and covering letter by email explaining why you think you are right for the project and highlighting relevant experience. We welcome applications from organisations as well as individuals.

Applications should reach us by noon on 17 June 2016, with interviews soon afterwards.

Email LAS Administrator: catherineallan.las@gmail.com

May 2016

Communication Officer: Job Details

Main Purpose of Role

Working largely independently on a day-to-day basis, the Communications Officer will work closely with LAS’s Board and four steering groups (Advocacy and Communications; International and Partnerships; Events; and Professional Development), providing editorial, strategic, creative and operational support across LAS’s activities for literature. He/she will play a key role in ensuring that LAS’s communications are both influential and informative for the literature community in and beyond Scotland.

Main Duties

Communications (75%)

  • Researching and writing a range of content for a variety of audiences, to be published across a range of channels, e.g. press releases, newsletters, internal bulletins, magazines, website and social media
  • Drafting, editing and distributing material relating to LAS’s activities to the literature community and others as required
  • Working with LAS’s Advocacy and Communications group on preparing annual literature campaigns; and in reacting to current issues that may arise
  • Pitching information to a range of media outlets to achieve quality coverage, and reporting results in a meaningful and timely way
  • Managing the LAS website, ensuring the main site (http://literaturealliancescotland.co.uk/) is regularly updated; and developing the main website and microsites as required, ensuring they remain up-to-date and responsive to the needs of their different audiences of writers, literature professionals, publishers, translators, etc.
  • Building and maintaining LAS’s social media presence through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks as appropriate
  • Fielding inquiries from the literature community in and beyond Scotland; and arranging member surveys as and when required
  • Helping to promote and communicate LAS’s events
  • Designing and distributing quarterly literature updates and annual state of literature reports.

Events Management and Administration (25%)

  • Arranging LAS meetings (e.g. annual Literature Day, literature summits, regional meetings), including booking venues, sending approved invitations, other non-media publicity and ensuring the smooth running of the event on the day.
  • Arranging LAS member meetings, and Board meetings, and preparing agendas and minutes of meetings
  • General admin duties as required

Person Specification

Qualifications

  • Educated to degree level or equivalent
  • Qualification or experience in working in communications

Essential Skills

  • A knowledge of Scotland’s literatures and languages and a commitment to the aims of Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • A sufficient understanding and a proven ability of working collaboratively with key stakeholders and relevant external bodies;  and developing and maintaining effective working relationships with a range of people
  • A good knowledge of website management and experience of working on a regularly updated website, including direct experience of WordPress and a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS
  • Basic Adobe skills and the ability to use Photoshop, InDesign creatively
  • Experience of using social media successfully
  • The ability to prioritise and to work accurately to tight deadlines
  • Is a self-starter and can work on his/her own initiative

Key Contacts

The Communications Officer will report directly to the LAS Lead on Advocacy and Communications, and, when required, the Chair and Vice-Chair, and is ultimately responsible to the LAS Board of Trustees.

The Communications Officer will also work closely with LAS’s Advocacy and Communications, International and Partnership, Events and Professional Development Groups.

The Communications Officer will also be required to maintain strong links with LAS members and to identify and be responsive to their needs and wishes.

The Communications Officer will be expected to forge effective working relationships with the press and broadcast media at national and local level.

Remuneration and Conditions

The estimated time commitment equates to 2.5 days per week for an initial contract period of one year based on a daily rate of £150.00.

It is anticipated that the Communications Officer will work either from home or from within an existing literature organisation.

About Literature Alliance Scotland

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is the collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland. It is Scotland’s largest network for literature and languages, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies. Formed in spring 2015 as successor to its forerunner, the Literature Forum for Scotland, LAS is now looking to expand its membership in order to ensure that in seeking to speak for literature’s interests the organisation is fully representative of the wide scope of literature in Scotland.  LAS’s aim is to take a greater role in campaigning and advocacy for the needs of literature and languages in Scotland; and it will hold annual summits and discussion events on topics of national and international relevance for the literature constituency. LAS will also hold one of its four members’ meetings in a different area of Scotland on a regular annual basis in order to meet and discuss with those working in literature.

Recently granted SCIO status, LAS has become a membership organisation. Its income is based on membership subscriptions and it also receives funds from Creative Scotland.

Further information about LAS can be found on the website: www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

May 2016

 

May 31, 2016
Literature Alliance Scotland seeks new Communications Officer

LAS Becomes a SCIO

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) has become incorporated as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with effect from 4 March 2016. This means that it is now is an incorporated body having charitable status under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, and has been entered into the Scottish Charity Register by OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator.

March 4, 2016
LAS Becomes a SCIO