A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

CS Open Project Funding for Literature: May 2018

£1.2million of National Lottery Funding has been awarded through Creative Scotland Open Project Funding in May 2018.

54 recipients received between £1,457 and £90,000, supporting individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in May 2018 for Literature:

Bloody Scotland, the Caledonian Crime Writing Festival (21-23 September 2018) has received funding towards its programme. The annual festival furthers the development of Scottish crime writing by bringing together leading Scottish and international writers, showcasing debut voices, encouraging new writing and introducing the best of the genre to audiences and readers.

Glasgow-based publisher Vagabond Voices has received funding towards its 2018-19 publishing programme. This will include a series of books over a wide range of activities, to help authors of innovative and non-genre works to start or re-establish their literary careers.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

June 29, 2018

ALCS 2018 Authors’ Earnings: Findings

New research from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Service (ALCS) finds working writers’ earnings continue to decline sharply and exposes growing gender gap.

The earnings of writers in the UK continue to fall, new research commissioned by ALCS reveals. The median earnings of professional writers – that is those who dedicate over half their working hours to writing – has fallen by 42% in real terms since 2005 and by 15% since 2013.

The ALCS research, Authors’ Earnings 2018: A survey of UK writers, found that the median annual income of a professional writer now stands at under £10,500. In 2017 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Minimum Income Standard (MIS), the income level considered to be a socially acceptable standard of living for a single person, was £17,900.

Earnings well below minimum wage

The current minimum wage in the UK for those over 25 is £7.83. Based on a standard 35-hour week, the median hourly earnings of a professional writer are just £5.73.

At £3,000 a year, the typical median earnings of “all writers” – which includes occasional and part-time writers in addition to professional writers as defined above – are also declining steeply, falling in real terms by 49% since 2005 and 33% since 2013.

Steep decline in full-time writers since 2005

In 2005, 40% of professional writers earned their income solely from writing. In 2017, that figure had fallen to 13.7%. This reflects the fact that due to their declining earnings, the majority of professional writers now need to have “portfolio” careers, supplementing their writing income with other activities such as teaching. Whilst the incomes of all writers continue to fall, the creative industries in the UK – now valued at £92 billion – are growing at twice the rate of the UK economy as a whole, calling urgently into question the extent to which writers’ significant contribution to those industries is properly valued.

Growing gender gap

Troublingly, the latest ALCS research has also revealed a growing gender gap, with the average earnings of female professional authors only around 75% of those of the average male professional writer down from 78% in 2005.

Over 5,500 writers working in a wide range of fields responded to the ALCS survey which was carried out by CREATe; that is more than double the number of respondents who participated in ALCS’s previous research into author earnings in 2013, and a higher number than the combined total of those who participated in 2005 and 2013. More detailed findings from the research will be published later in 2018.

Commenting on the latest findings Tony Bradman, children’s writer and ALCS chair, said:

“The results of this third ALCS survey into author earnings confirm what most writers know only too well – that incomes continue to decline, and that it is harder than ever to make a living as a professional writer. Given the enormous contribution that the work of UK writers makes to the success of our world-leading creative industries, the ALCS research calls starkly into question the extent to which we value that work. Without writers, our country and our culture would be poorer in every imaginable way and so we must ensure that we give writers as favourable an environment in which to make a living as possible”.

For further information, please contact Alison Baxter on 020 7264 5700 or alcs@alcs.co.uk

The authors’ earnings findings booklet can be found here.

Information reproduced from the ALCS press release

June 28, 2018

New Scots Scriever appointed

Dr Michael Dempster has been named as the successful Scots Scriever and begins his two-year residency at the National Library of Scotland on 27 June 2018.

Dr Michael Dempster. From NLS website.

Growing up speaking Scots at home, Dr Dempster has made the Scots language a prominent feature of his academic and artistic work. He has written librettos and graphic novels in Scots, explored the use of Scots with sufferers of dementia within the NHS, and worked with schools and community groups to tackle stigma and prejudice surrounding the Scots language.

A prominent linguist, Dempster undertook a Psychology PhD at Glasgow University, researching the processing of rhythmical signals critical to language and music. Dempster has coached film industry professionals in use of the language, produced award-winning podcasts, written comedy sketches performed across the Edinburgh Fringe and TV pilots for the BBC and Comedy Unit and delivered the first ever TED talk in Scots.

Upcoming works include a Scots-Emoji dictionary and ‘Mind yer Language’ — a comprehensive guide to Scots.

He said: ‘A’m that delichtit tae get appyntit Scots Scriever. Whit an honour!

‘Oor Scots language, an wir Scots speakin communitie, is that important tae baith wirsels an tae the warld thit fir me tae hae this opportunitie tae expand ma wirk wi the support o the National Library of Scotland, Creative Scotland an the Scottish Buik Trust is a dream come true.

‘A’v that monie writin projects A’m luikkin forret tae gettin oot there an A luik forret tae reachin oot tae Scots speakers tae help them engage wi their ain language an the Scots collections we hae fae aw ower the kintra. Scrievin Scots? Hou no gie it a wee shot yersel?”

National Librarian Dr John Scally said:

‘Michael Dempster clearly has a passion for the Scots language. He has a strong artistic track record across a range of mediums, an academic background in linguistics, and he already promotes the language in everything he does. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with in this residency.’

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said:

‘We are delighted to be able to appoint a new Scots Scriever during what is an exciting time for Scots. With more than 1.5 million people identifying as Scots speakers via the most recent census, with the upcoming UN Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019 and with development work in Scots gaining traction around the country, we are confident the Scriever will play an active and prominent role in this upcoming period of development.

‘The appointment of Michael Dempster to the role I believe will give us the best possible chance of taking advantage of these unique circumstances. He has a vision for Scots which stretches across different parts of society, is contemporary and dynamic and is rooted in his own artistic and academic practice.

‘We look forward enormously to working with Michael, with the National Library and with our partners in Scots development around the country in this exciting new phase of the scriever project.’

Scottish Book Trust Director of Programme Amina Shah said:

‘Michael’s knowledge of the collections at the National Library, coupled with his academic background and sheer passion for Scots, make him an exciting choice for this residency. He is committed to Scots as a living language and promotes its use and benefits, not only in literature but in all aspects of public life. G’aun yerself, Michael.’

Background

Dr Michael Dempster’s appointment will run from July 2018–2020, which spans the UN Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019.

A joint initiative between the National Library and Creative Scotland, the Scriever role is designed to produce original creative work in Scots, its variants and dialects, across any art-form, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country and amongst all parts of the population.

Creative Scotland published its first Scots Language Policy in June 2015, in which the role of Scots Scriever was identified. The policy underlined the organisation’s commitment to supporting the language through its own work and the work that it funds across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Hamish MacDonald was appointed as the inaugural Scots Scriever in August 2015 and completed his residency at the National Library of Scotland in September 2017. MacDonald developed the ‘Wee Windaes’ website which captures the breadth and variety of Scots, in all its variants and dialects, from its beginnings to the present day.

Reproduced from the NLS media release.

June 28, 2018

Consultation Paper – A Culture Strategy for Scotland

The Scottish Government has now launched a public consultation on a draft Culture Strategy for Scotland which runs until Wednesday 19 September 2018.

The consultation seeks your views on the priorities for supporting culture in Scotland over the next decade and beyond. It builds on extensive engagement with people across Scotland throughout 2017 and sets out a vision, ambitions, aims and actions which will deliver the new National Outcome for culture: We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely.

Read the Consultation Paper.

You can contribute to the consultation in a number of ways:

  • Complete the questionnaire at Citizen Space Portal. You can submit your views as an individual or as part of a larger group or organisation.
  • Host an event or meeting to discuss the strategy with your members or networks.  If you would like to host an event to discuss the strategy with your networks or members, please email culturestrategy@gov.scot for further information about the criteria for use of available funding.
  • You can also share your event details and ideas about the strategy on Twitter by mentioning @culturescotgov and using the hashtag #culturescot.

The Culture team want to reach as many people as possible through this public consultation so that the final strategy reflects as many voices of those with an interest in the future of culture in Scotland as possible.  Culture is about every person in Scotland so please share the details of the consultation with anyone you think may have an interest.

When the consultation period ends, all responses received will be reviewed by independent analysts and a report will be published that summarises the results of the consultation based around the consultation questions.  All responses received will be published on the Scottish Government website and anonymised where appropriate.  Your responses will inform the development of the final strategy.

 

June 27, 2018

PS/EIBF: Scottish Books International Manager

Books, writing, publishing and festivals

Publishing Scotland (PS) in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) is seeking an exceptional Manager who can drive forward an innovative programme, developing the international ambition and impact of the books and literature sector in Scotland. The new role will be for a fixed-term contract of eighteen months with the potential to extend.

The successful applicant will be an excellent and persuasive communicator with significant experience of strategic development and partnership working. The Manager will join passionate and dynamic teams across the literature and books sector, committed to bringing the best of literature, writing, publishing and events to an international audience.

This role will include scoping and developing a strategic plan for international activity, identifying and developing opportunities for increased visibility, co-ordinating marketing work from the sector, identifying and implementing potential income sources, preparing funding applications, and building relationships with key partners here and overseas.

Job Title: Scottish Books International Manager

Reports to: Publishing Scotland CEO and steering group

Fee: £21,000 per annum (equivalent to £35,000 per annum, pro-rata to 3 days per week)

Working hours: 24 hours per week

Terms: Freelance 18 months’ fixed-term contract, with potential to extend

Location: Central Edinburgh at the offices of PS

Main purpose of role: Developing, co-ordinating and communicating a new joint service on behalf of the books and literature sector

 

Background

Following a Review of the Literature and Publishing sector undertaken by consultants on behalf of Creative Scotland, which recommended that “Creative Scotland and leading literature institutions and publishers convene a summit for laying the groundwork for a strategic and co-ordinated international presence”, a number of bodies in the sector, working closely with Literature Alliance Scotland, have decided to set up a post dedicated to the international promotion of books, writers, festivals and organisations. PS and EIBF have brought together a steering group, who will advise and oversee the service.

About the organisations

Publishing Scotland is the network, trade and development body for the book publishing sector in Scotland. Formed in 1974, it is a membership body with over 100 members, in two categories, publisher and network. It aims to support publishers and the wider sector on a national and international level.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, a non-profit making organisation, is a distinctive international showcase celebrating the written word, literature and ideas. It brings around 950 leading and emerging international, British and Scottish authors and thinkers together each August to inspire each other and audiences in an extensive programme of over 900 public events for people of all ages.

 

Key duties and responsibilities

Work with partners on the development and delivery of a co-ordinated, international presence for Scottish writing, publishing, festivals and organisations, and more specifically –

  1. Develop a strategy for the Scottish book sector’s international profile, working closely with senior management of both host organisations and the steering group
  2. Research and develop new income streams and identify overseas partners opportunities
  3. Work with a range of partners, organisations and bodies in Scotland and overseas to enhance the current work being done in the sector
  4. Event delivery, including attendance and participation at national and international events
  5. Communicate, using a variety of methods, to raise the international profile of the sector
  6. Work closely with the teams of PS and EIBF to help ensure successful delivery of an overall programme
  7. Maintain records and produce reports indicating work in progress, planned work and reporting on the financial status of projects

Person specification

Successful candidates will possess the following:

  1. Considerable experience of strategic planning and development
  2. Demonstrable knowledge and passion for the literature or arts sector, including the Scottish literature and publishing scene
  3. Experience developing and maximizing international partnerships
  4. Significant experience of managing relationships with diverse stakeholders
  5. Experience of developing and delivering marketing activity
  6. Event management experience
  7. Experience of project/programme evaluation and reporting to stakeholders

 

Additional qualities will include:
  1. Influencing and negotiation skills
  2. Clear, confident and persuasive oral communication skills, including public presentation, and the ability to adapt to the needs of different audiences
  3. Clear, concise and persuasive written communication skills, able to adapt to needs of different stakeholders
  4. Commercial acumen
  5. Strong organizational skills

 

Terms and conditions

The post will have access to a desk at the central Edinburgh office of Publishing Scotland and the possibility of hot desking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival offices during the autumn and winter months. The role is offered as a freelance contract and the post holder will be fully responsible for their own tax including any National Insurance contributions.

Publishing Scotland and Edinburgh International Book Festival are committed to being as accessible as possible to customers, participants and staff. If you have any specific access requirements or concerns, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Edinburgh International Book Festival and Publishing Scotland are equal opportunities employers and Edinburgh International Book Festival is an Investor in People.

This job description is also available as a PDF document to download.

 

How to apply

Please send a copy of your CV and an application letter outlining your suitability for the post to marion.sinclair@publishingscotland.org. You may include any other information to support your application.

 

Closing date for applications: Thursday 12th July 2018

Interviews: Monday 30th July 2018

This post is supported by funding from Creative Scotland. 

June 26, 2018

Scots writer wins Orwell Prize 2018

Congratulations to Darren McGarvey, better known as rapper Loki, who is this year’s winner of The Orwell Prize for Books for Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass (Luath Press).

Chair of judges, Andrew Adonis said: “George Orwell would have loved this book. It echoes Down and Out in London and Paris and The Road to Wigan Pier. It is heart-rending in its life story and its account of family breakdown and poverty. But by the end there is not a scintilla of self-pity and a huge amount of optimism. It made me see the country and its social condition in a new light.”

The judges for The Orwell Prize for Books are politician, academic and journalist Andrew Adonis (Chair), Literary Journalist and Artistic Director of Words and Literature of the Bath Festival Alex Clark, novelist Kit de Waal, and Deputy Life & Arts Editor for the Financial Times Lorien Kite.

The Orwell Prize rewards the writing that comes closest to achieving English writer George Orwell’s ambition to make political writing into an art’.

This year’s winners each focus on modern Britain, revealing a ‘turn to the nation’ in political writing in the continued wake of the EU Referendum result.

Each year prizes are awarded for political writing in Books, Journalism and the Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils, sponsored and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Each £3,000 prize was presented by Richard Blair, George Orwell’s son and is determined by a separate panel of independent judges.

The winner of the Prize for Journalism is Carole Cadwalladr for her reports in The Observer on the impact of big data on the EU Referendum and the 2016 US presidential election while ‘On the Edge’, a Financial Times team of Sarah O’Connor, John Burn-Murdoch and Christopher Nunn won The Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils for their spreadsheet-and-shoeleather’ report on the relationship between poverty and mental health in ‘forgotten towns’ left behind by the UK economy

The Orwell Foundation, based at University College London, home of the Orwell Archive, is sponsored and supported by Political Quarterly, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Richard Blair.

The winners were announced on Mon 25 June 2019 at a prizegiving ceremony at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

June 25, 2018

Findings: Holyrood inquiry into CS Regular Funding 2018-21

Creative Scotland must urgently address its strategic failings following a catalogue of criticism from Scotland’s creative sector, says Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee.

The cross-party committee of MSPs say the organisation’s decision-making process on funding for touring theatre and dance companies fell “well below the standard expected” of a non-departmental public body.

In a 12 page letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Creative Scotland, the committee sets out the findings from its parliamentary inquiry into Regular Funding for 2018-21.

Committee Convener Joan McAlpine MSP said: “We received unprecedented levels of representations from within the sector following Creative Scotland’s handling of regular funding for 2018-21.

“With more than 50 responses from artists and arts organisations, it is clear to us that the confidence of a significant element of the cultural sector in Creative Scotland’s regular funding process has been badly damaged.

“In particular we felt that the handling of the process in relation to touring theatre and dance companies fell well below the standard that is expected from a non-departmental public body.”

Deputy Convener, Claire Baker MSP said: “The Committee has expressed serious concern over Creative Scotland’s Regular Funding for the 2018-21 period. We keenly await its written response to the issues we have raised and have set a deadline of 31 August. We will also invite representatives of Creative Scotland to appear before the committee again when Parliament returns from summer recess.”

Background

Joan McAlpine’s letter to Janet Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Creative Scotland, will be available on the Committee’s inquiry page.

Key findings and recommendations from the Committee’s inquiry include:

  • The Committee considers it is a serious matter that Creative Scotland’s evidence about whether the Board was aware of factual inaccuracies contained in assessment reports before its emergency meeting on 2 February has been challenged by the written evidence received. The Committee invites Creative Scotland to review this issue urgently and to report back on its findings.
  • The Committee is disappointed that the strategic issues identified by Creative Scotland were not recognised at an earlier stage so that they could be addressed before applications for regular funding were opened. The failure to do so left the sector in a very challenging position and has ultimately had an impact on a significant element of the cultural sector’s confidence in the regular funding process. . These issues must be urgently addressed by Creative Scotland so that a revised strategy is in place before applications for the next round of regular funding are opened. The Committee intends to scrutinise Creative Scotland’s plans for a refreshed strategy.
  • The Committee considers Creative Scotland’s handling of the regular funding decision-making process in relation to touring theatre and dance companies fell well below the standard that is expected from a non-departmental public body. Creative Scotland should have made a decision about touring companies’ eligibility for regular funding before applications were opened and communicated its decision clearly to the sector. The failure to do so has meant that artists and organisations have committed staff and financial resources unnecessarily to complete regular funding applications. This approach has hampered the sector’s trust in Creative Scotland and added to ongoing uncertainty for the sector at a time when the funding pressures on the sector are already high.
  • The cultural sector is concerned that too much regular funding is being directed away from artists towards network organisations. The Committee therefore invites Creative Scotland to consider an alternative model for the funding of network organisations going forward.

The above press release has been reproduced from the Scottish Parliament’s News & Media Centre here.   

June 15, 2018

Edinburgh Festival of cycling goes on tour

Edinburgh Festival of Cycling is back again for another year celebrating sports, arts, and culture, this time connecting the three Scottish UNESCO Creative Cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dundee, to explore the ways in which cycling can play a part in our creative communities.  

Listed as ‘one of the top 10 cycling festivals in Europe’ by the Active Travellers Magazine, Edinburgh Festival of Cycling takes place this year from 7 to 24 June, with an exciting programme of events taking place across the city and beyond.

Edinburgh Festival of Cycling doesn’t just cater to the sports side of cycling, but also explores the many different sides and routes of access to the sport(from transport to competition, from leisure activity to cultural icon) which the festival sets out to celebrate, with a wide range of sporting, cultural and family events for all age groups.

This year is also different, as it sees Scotland’s three UNESCO Creative Cities: Edinburgh (City of Literature), Glasgow (City of Music), and Dundee (City of Design), come together for the first time ever in order to celebrate the benefits that arts and culture can have in promoting and enhancing an active live.

One of the key features of the programme is a screening in each of the creative cities of the Dutch documentary ‘Why We Cycle’. In this thought-provoking film, ordinary cyclists and specialists talk about why there’s a culture of cycling in the Netherlands and what we can learn from it. The screenings are followed by a discussion which will cover many of the issues raised by Glasgow 2018: how can we make an active life a more ingrained part of our communities?

Edinburgh City of Literature is excited to be involved in the coming together of the cities, and is looking forward to the events taking place between them. The events to look out for in Glasgow and Dundee are:

As well as the usual packed programme in Festival’s hometown of Edinburgh, this year there is an increase in literary events, including talks from Peter Walker (author of Bike Nation) and William Manners, who’ll be discussing Revolution: How the Bicycle Reinvented Modern Britain. Working with Edinburgh City of Literature, a writing competition (Writing & Reading) will be held again, encouraging short fiction and poetry about cycling.

Thanks to the support of Festival 2018, Edinburgh Festival of Cycling is able to go on tour to these Creative Cities, which share a common narrative of sport – specifically of bikes and how they can change the world. From the stories we tell about them, to the way they work, to the fun we can have on them, the Festival of Cycling programme this year is packed with events for all ages bringing out the best of the UNESCO Creative Cities.

Full details of the Art and culture programme of the festival can be found here.

-Ends-

For further information please contact: Rebecca Raeburn, Communications Assistant, City of Literature Trust on rebecca@cityofliterature.com or 07966 847580

Notes to Editor

Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling Ltd. is a not-for-profit social enterprise, run by a small group of people. The current board of directors are: Kim Harding (Founder and CEO), Caroline Brown, and Ulli Harding. The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling was originally envisaged as a proper Edinburgh-style festival. A city-wide event, originally held over nine days, showcasing and celebrating all aspects of bicycle culture and the city itself. The Festival was expanded from nine days to ten in 2014, and then 11 days inclusive from 2015 onwards.

Festival 2018
Festival 2018 is the fun-filled cultural programme of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships. Glasgow and areas hosting sport across Scotland will be buzzing with live music, circus, dance, theatre, visual art and much more at city-centre festival sites, venues and in communities, bringing a carnival atmosphere to the 11 days of sporting action.

Edinburgh Festival City
Building on a culture of collaborative working the Directors of Edinburgh’s leading Festivals came together in 2007 to formally establish Festivals Edinburgh with a mission to support Edinburgh’s Festivals in sustaining and developing their position as the world’s leading festival city through:

  • development and delivery of collaborative projects and initiatives which support growth, product development, leadership and audiences
  • acting on behalf of and representing the collective strengths of the Edinburgh Festivals

UNESCO Creative Cities Network
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was formed in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among citiesthat have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

The Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 180 members from 72 countries covering 7 creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts.

The Cities work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. The UK cities involved in the network are: Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Galway, Bristol, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham, York, Bradford and Liverpool.

City of Literature Trust
The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is the development agency for Edinburgh as a UNESCO City of Literature. It works to bring literature to the streets of Edinburgh, involving people in the city’s literary life, bringing organisations to work together collaboratively for greater impact, and sharing Edinburgh’s literary story with the world. @EdinCityofLit

June 12, 2018

CPG on Culture – 12 June 2018

The Cross Party Group on Culture is to meet on Tuesday 12 June 2018 from 5.30pm-8pm in the Scottish Parliament. The theme of the meeting will be Transformations: the impact of international working.

The meeting will include a musical performance from 2017 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards ‘Folk Band Of The Year’, Talisk, as well as a reading from internationally renowned novelist, poet and playwright, Kevin MacNeil.

The meeting will also include presentations, Q&A and a group discussion, featuring:

  • Julia Amour, Director, Festivals Edinburgh
  • Jo Clifford, playwright and performer
  • Norah Campbell, Head of Arts – Scotland, British Council
  • Fiona Miller, Artistic Director, Tricky Hat
  • Lisa Whytock, Director, Active Events

There are a few places remaining on the guest list for the event. Please RSVP via Kirstin.MacLeod@creativescotland.com and feel free to share with your networks.

June 11, 2018

Borders Council to replace school librarians with pupils

Earlier this week, the Border Telegraph reported that Borders Council has started replacing trained school librarians with pupils in the region’s secondary schools.

There was outcry from parents, and the library and teaching profession and we sent the following comment to the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland (CILIPS).

Peggy Hughes, Chair of Literature Alliance, Scotland said: 

“Trained school librarians are an essential part of a modern school, making a positive impact on education by improving literacy in all subjects and helping to raise attainment across the curriculum. They transform the school library into a place of learning and, importantly, they help direct pupils with their own learning, research, and reading, which brings with it important health benefits.

Depriving the students of the Scottish Borders of their professional school librarians acts directly against giving them equal opportunities and equal rights. We urge Scottish Borders Council to rescind this decision, which will surely have a negative impact on the future life chances of the young people in their area.”

CILIP in Scotland has written an open letter to the Chief Executive of Borders Council and reproduced some of the statements they received in reaction to the Borders Council proposal on their website, which you can read here.

We will keep you informed of the response from Borders Council.

June 1, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: April 2018

Last month £650,000 of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 35 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in March 2018 for Literature:

Artist collective Recollective have received funding to create a publication charting untold stories of Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom. The Barrowland: Music, Memory, History (working title) will feature photography, creative writing, graphic art and multimedia brought together in collaboration with the venue, the east end community that surrounds it, gig-goers, dancers and musicians.

Poet Victoria McNulty has received funding to embark on a five-date pilot tour of solo theatre show Confessionals to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Belfast and London. Combining contemporary spoken word and traditional theatre Confessionals is a coming of age character piece featuring music from Abi Normal; produced by Sonnet Youth (Kevin Gilday and Cat Hepburn) in partnership with the Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

May 31, 2018

Publishing Scotland International Fellowship programme 2018

Senior publishing figures from the US, Korea and Europe are set to visit Scotland in a trade mission that puts Scotland firmly on the international literary map.

The fourth International Fellowship Programme from Publishing Scotland facilitates international exchange and comprises nine invited Fellows from Germany, France, Italy, Finland, US, and includes – for the first time – a delegate from South Korea.

The group will spend a week in Scotland at the end of August meeting Scotland-based publishers, agents and writers in a varied programme of events planned across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

The purpose of the visit is to help develop relationships between the international publishing community and the Scottish sector, facilitate rights selling and bring Scottish books to an international audience.

The Fellows will experience the Edinburgh International Book Festival and – in another first for the scheme – attend a showcase of Scottish writing hosted at University of Glasgow by best-selling author Louise Welsh who is the university’s Professor of Creative Writing.

The 2018 Fellows are:

  • Regina Kammerer, Publisher, btb Verlag, Germany
  • Raphaëlle Liebaert, Editorial Director Foreign Fiction, Editions Stock (Hachette Group), France
  • Gregory Limpens, Rights Manager, Open Books, Korea
  • Beatrice Masini, Founder/Publisher, Bompiani-Giunti Editore, Italy
  • Andrea Morstabilini, Acquisitions Editor and Rights Director, Il Saggiatore, Italy
  • Patrick Nolan, VP, Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Penguin Books, USA
  • Päivi Paappanen, Publishing Director, Like Publishing, Finland
  • Melanie Tortoroli, senior editor, WW Norton and Co, USA
  • Eva Wallbaum, Editor, Harper Collins, Germany 

The first Fellow from Korea to take part in the Programme is Gregory Limpens, the Rights Manager at Open Books, a publishing house based in Paju Book City near Seoul, which specialises in literature in translation. Originally hailing from Belgium, Mr Limpens has lived and worked in South Korea since 2005. He said:

“I’ve always wanted to attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival and am eager to learn about the Scottish publishing industry and book market. Works by Scottish authors are translated into Korean as a result of the author’s visibility on the international literary scene so Korean readers have enjoyed translations of books by Jenni Fagan, Irvine Welsh, A.J. Cronin and George MacDonald, and one of Korea’s largest publishers has recently published the first translation of Muriel Spark’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Scotland to be inspired to add a few more Scottish authors to our own list, which already includes Iain Banks, Ali Smith and Graeme Macrae Burnet.”

Scotland-based Andrea Joyce, Rights Director of Canongate, who has been involved with the Fellowship since it was established in 2014, said: “The Fellowship enables us to punch well above our weight on the international stage. It’s been hugely beneficial to Canongate by establishing and strengthening relationships with international publishers, and we have wrapped up several major deals with Fellows over the years. A great example of the reach of the connections created through the scheme is when publisher Elena Ramirez at Planeta bought the Spanish rights to ‘The Last Night Out’ by Catherine O’Connell. Elena then recommended the book to her colleagues at Planeta Italy, Portugal and Brazil who subsequently bought the Italian, Portuguese and Brazilian rights.” 

Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, said: “Now more than ever, it’s vital that we maintain our international connections and ambition. The book world is fuelled by relationships that we make through bookfairs, selling rights and licensing, and the Fellowship scheme allows us to develop and deepen those relationships between the Scottish publishing industry and the rest of the world.

“In four years, we have invited 36 senior international publishers to Scotland and given our publishers, agents, and writers the chance to get to know them in a more relaxed setting. It’s all part of a wider internationalisation strand within our work and is a key way of getting more visibility for the sector here.”

The award-winning Programme from the network, trade and development body for the book publishing sector in Scotland is supported by funding from Creative Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s XpoNorth Programme.

Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “By inviting these nine publishers to Scotland for their International Fellowship Programme, Publishing Scotland helps connect Scottish literature to the world. The fellowship ensures that the work of our writers will be available in different languages and sit on bookshop shelves across Europe and further afield in the US and Korea. This is only one side of a cross-pollination process though, with the other encouraging Scottish publishers to build strong commercial relationships with the Fellows and enhance their lists with international titles, therefore providing our readers access to new literary voices and stories from diverse cultures.”

Please see the Publishing Scotland website for biographies of the 2018 Fellows.

 

 

May 11, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: March 2018

Last month £1.2million of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 44 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. Over £1.1million of these awards has been awarded through National Lottery Funding, with awards ranging from £1,094 to £150,000.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in March 2018 for Literature:

The Borders Book Festival (14-17 June), and Booked! (8-19 May), West Dunbartonshire’s annual celebration of the written and spoken word, have received funding towards their 2018 programmes.

Edinburgh-based Charco Press have received funding to deliver the first part of its 2018 publishing programme consisting of three books by contemporary award-winning Latin American authors who have never before been published in English.

Cartoonist and artist Kate Charlesworth has received funding to support the development of a new graphic novel.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

May 1, 2018

LAS strengthens Board with new Trustees

LAS welcomes three new Trustees to strengthen our expertise in education, Scots and strategic leadership, and to broaden our geographic representation, at executive level.

The new Trustees are:

  • Valentina Bold, Principal Knowledge Exchange Fellow at University of Strathclyde
  • Sophie Moxon, Executive Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Poet David Wheatley, Reader at University of Aberdeen

Chair of LAS Peggy Hughes said: “We’re delighted to have had great interest from the sector in joining our Board for the two positions advertised. From such strong candidates we have appointed three Trustees to broaden the Board’s voices and perspectives and we look forward to welcoming Valentina, Sophie and David at our next meeting in May. 

“With the combination of skills, knowledge and expertise in academia, education, Scots and writing they bring to the Board, we’ve no doubt our new Trustees will make a huge contribution to our vital work in championing the literature, languages and publishing sector across the whole of Scotland and beyond.”

April 27, 2018

Blood Bath litzine issue 1: Bodies

Blood Bath Litzine is open for submissions of short fiction and poetry on the theme of bodies.

Bodies are sites of terror and desire; they can be politicised, policed and possessed, becoming either a haven of pleasure or a hellish prison of flesh. They want to read your weirdest, most innovative stories on bodies.

They’re open to any and all types of horror, dark fantasy, speculative or science fiction – so don’t hold back.

Blood Bath accepts short fiction from 100 to 2,500 words, flash fiction shorter than this as well as poetry (maximum 15 lines) are also encouraged and welcome. A maximum of four poems and two prose pieces at a time.

Contributors will be paid, at a rate of £10 per 1,000 words for prose, and £10 per poem.

The deadline is 1 August 2018.

For more guidelines and information, see the website here.

April 26, 2018

Former Freight Poets Find New Home

  •   Award-winning pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb takes first steps into full collections
  •   Debut collections by poets Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum reissued

 After two years in hiatus, Stewed Rhubarb has made the decision to start work again as a specialist in the publication of poetry by spoken word artists, and is set to re-issue two poetry collections previously taken out of print following the collapse of Freight Books late last year.

Tonguit by Harry Giles – a collection shortlisted for both the Edwin Morgan Award and the Forward Prize for First Collection – and The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate by Rachel McCrum – former BBC Scotland Poet in Residence – will find a new home with the press, and will both be available in bookshops come April.

 

Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum had both previously published pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb before being picked up for their debut full collections by Freight. Editor and designer James T. Harding said:

“I was so excited when Rachel and Harry were taken on by Freight. I thought a bigger publisher would be able to advance their careers better than I could. When Freight went into liquidation, Harry Giles emailed to ask if they could buy one of my ISBN numbers to self-publish a reissue. I thought I could do better than that… so here we are, a few months later, and I appear to have started a full-on publishing company.”

The new edition of Tonguit is currently available to order from bookshops and online, and McCrum’s The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate will be released in May.

Of the press, poet Harry Giles said: “Stewed Rhubarb’s dedication to fertilising the roots of literature is immense and impressive. They care about poetry, and they’re doing difficult work to keep Scottish poets in print at a vulnerable and precarious time — and they’re doing it with gusto. After a tumultuous year, working with SR again felt like coming home. Also, they design gorgeous books.”

Rachel McCrum said: “I am thrilled to my core to be working with Stewed Rhubarb again, and honoured to be among the first for their new wave of publishing. Their books are immaculately designed and edited, and their publishing model is responsive, considered, and places the author at the heart of things. Scotland should be proud of them. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Stewed Rhubarb was founded in 2013, winning the Callum Macdonald Award for its first pamphlet, The Glassblower Dances by Rachel McCrum. Since then, the imprint has published 16 pamphlets from writers ranging from Edinburgh to the Appalachian Mountains, including playwright Jo Clifford, Scottish spoken-word luminary Jenny Lindsay, and Freight author Russell Jones. Stewed Rhubarb is known for its wildly diverse list, authentic appreciation of the spoken-word scene, and high production values.

The online launch for both collections will take place on Wed 25th April.

www.stewedrhubarb.org | @stewedrhubarb | #stewedrhubarb

– ENDS –

For press enquiries please contact: rebecca@stewedrhubarb.org

www.stewedrhubarb.org

Interviews available

James T. Harding

Rachel McCrum (based in Canada)

Harry Giles

  

Notes to Editors

–       The online launch for both collections will take place on Wed 25th April

–       Poetry from both collections if available for reprint

Harry Giles

Harry Giles is from Orkney, Scotland. They write and perform work across poetry, theatre and games, and their work generally happens in the crunchy places where performance and politics get muddled up. They were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, co-direct the live art platform Anatomy, and have toured participatory performances across Europe, North America, New Zealand and Leith. www.harrygiles.org

Tonguit

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize’s 2016 debut collection award, Harry Giles’ Tonguit is a moving exploration of identity in Scots, English, and bureaucracy. Politically radical and formally inventive, Tonguit plays at the borders of nationality and sexuality with irreverent affection, questing through languages for a place to speak.

Rachel McCrum

Rachel McCrum was born in 1982 and grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. She lived in Edinburgh, Scotland from 2010 to 2016, where she previously published two pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb Press: The Glassblower Dances (2012, winner of the Callum MacDonald Award) and Do Not Alight Here Again (2015, also a solo Fringe show). She was the Broad of cult spoken word cabaret Rally & Broad, the inaugural BBC Scotland Poet-In-Residence, and a recipient of an RLS Fellowship in 2016. She has performed and taught across the UK, Ireland, Greece, South Africa, Haiti and Canada. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec, where she is Director of Les Cabarets Batards.

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate is both lyrical and gentle, demanding and sharp as it carves its own path through themes of family, place, environment, and repression. The poems in the collection are fragments of McCrum’s sea-bourne journey from Northern Island, across Scotland, and alighting in Canada. It’s a collection about leaving home and what you take with you.

James T. Harding

As well as running Stewed Rhubarb, James T. Harding is the editor of C&B News and the features editor of Broadway Baby. He is a writer on Cops and Monsters, a supernatural police thriller on Amazon Prime. He occasionally sleeps.

 

April 21, 2018

Donald Meek Award 2018 – submissions invited

The Gaelic Books Council is inviting submissions from Gaelic writers for the Donald Meek Award 2018. This award, established with financial assistance from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, aims to encourage and support new and established Gaelic writers and new Gaelic writing. Six entries were shortlisted for the Donald Meek Award 2017 and it was bestowed on Iain MacRae for his stage play, Taigh Sheonachain.

For more information and rules, see our website.

Submissions should be sent via email to rosemary@gaelicbooks.org  on or before 5pm on Friday 4th May 2018.

The shortlist will be announced early in September and the award will be presented at an evening reception in Glasgow in October 2018. The very best of luck!

Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean a’ sireadh thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig airson farpais Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 2018. Chuireadh an duais seo air chois le taic-airgid bho Alba Chruthachail agus bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig le sùil gum misnich is gun cuidich i sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig ùra agus stèidhichte. Chaidh sianar ainmeachadh air gèarr-liosta Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 2017, agus chaidh am prìomh dhuais a bhuileachadh air Iain MacRath airson an dealbh-chluich, Taigh Sheonachain.

Gheibhear tuilleadh fiosrachaidh agus riaghailtean an seo.

Faodar an sgrìobhadh a chur a-steach gu h-eileagtronaigeach gurosemary@gaelicbooks.org  ro 17.00 air Dihaoine 4 Cèitean 2018. Feumar clàr-iarrtais (a gheibhear gu h-ìosal) a chur ris an tagradh. Thèid an geàrr-liosta fhoillseachadh aig toiseach na Sultaine agus thèid na duaisean a thoirt seachad aig tachartas sònraichte ann an Glaschu san Dàmhair 2018. Gur math a thèid leibh!

April 20, 2018

LAS submission to Culture Committee

Following the Call for Views from the Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations, we submitted the following written response at the end of March 2018.

The Committee is due to share all written responses on the website from Wednesday 18 April 2018.

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is the collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages. We are a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. As Scotland’s largest network for literature and languages, with more than 30 member organisations, we bring together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

Last week we surveyed our membership anonymously for their views on Creative Scotland funding. We asked them to share the survey among their own networks and obtained 34 responses, which have informed this submission.

Respondents are writers, poets and people who work in publishing, festivals, teaching, charities and organisations involved with the literature, publishing and languages sector. They are based across Scotland, from the Outer Hebrides to Aberdeen and from Shetland to Wigtown.

Of the 121 organisations in the 2018-21 Regular Funding Network, nine represent the literature, languages and publishing sector. They were awarded just over £7m of the total RFO budget of £101.6m.

 

The extent to which Regular Funding supports the arts and creative organisations throughout Scotland

More than half of respondents (53%) consider Regular Funding to support the arts and creative organisations throughout Scotland ‘a great deal’, or ‘a lot’ (19%) while 22% say ‘a moderate amount’ and 6% ‘a little’.

The impact of awards for Regular Funding on other funding streams

This was a comment-only question. Key comments include:

  • With shrinking budgets and more money for RFOs, other funds such as Open Project Funding will become even more competitive with longer waiting times thereby inhibiting support for innovative work from individual artists and smaller organisations, especially those outwith the central belt.
  • Regular Funding offers stability and can open access to other match- or part-funding resources. However, ittakes up a large share of the total arts budget and can lead to unsuccessful bid organisations turning to Open Project Funding, involving more time spent on form-filling and rendering it even more oversubscribed.
  • Open Project Funding needs to be redesigned to accommodate the wide variety of applicants, from large organisations to individual writers and artists.
  • With so much focus placed on Regular Funding, the possibility of other funding sources being sustainable for an organisation’s future can often be ignored.
  • The exclusion of RFOs from applying for Open Project Funding could be perceived as an inhibitor of spontaneity over the three-year funding deal. Any deviation from the three-year programme of work would need to be in agreement with the organisation’s lead officer at CS and would mean that something else on the programme would need to give to allow a new initiative a chance.  

Other relevant issues

6% of respondents said there were errors and 3% said there were speculations in their RFO assessment. Another respondent stated that in addition to errors there were also assumptions and contradictions in their RFO assessment. 6% said there were no errors, assumptions or speculations in their RFO assessment. 65% of respondents didn’t apply for RFO.

47% of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement ‘I am concerned that the recent RFO process introduced major strategic change at a late stage in the process without consultation.’

Link strategies to funding decisions

97% agree or strongly agree that there should be a clear link between Creative Scotland’s strategies and its funding decisions (assuming the strategies are sound).

Key comments:

  • Clear, well-communicated strategies are a must for organisations distributing public money. This also ensures equitable treatment of those applying for funds and makes it clear why applications were not successful.
  • However, there should be caution around strategies becoming agendas, and essentially reducing those strategies to a box-ticking exercise as part of the application process.
  • A policy of positive discrimination was suggested in order to contribute to the revitalisation of Scotland’s languages among all art forms and to adequately represent diversity.

 Funding flexibility

70% of respondents agree or strongly agree that there needs to be more flexibility in Creative Scotland’s funding routes and timescales to meet different needs within the sector.

Key comments:

  • Review all existing funding routes and strategic development routes, funding purposes, application processes (one form does not fit all), and the language used to make them more artist- and organisation-friendly, less competitive, and to encourage a more stable sector that is able to plan ahead (even if organisations are not RFOs).
  • Flexibility should be supported by transparency and accessibility.
  • A positive comment about the OpenProject Fund application was that it was exceptional in the timescales and with the help and advice offered during the application process.
  • Suggestions were put forward for a rolling programme for Regular Funding rather than once every three years. This would help with CS cash-flow and relieve the intense pressure in assessing applications, affording more time to better understand organisations being assessed, to fact-check and source evidence thereby reducing assumptions and errors. 

Decision-making and peer review

64% strongly agree or agree that decision-making should include appropriate peer review.

Key comments:

  • Peer review would empower artists by enabling the years of experience within the sector to reflect and influence its future.
  • Respondents questioned how to define ‘appropriate’ peer review and cautioned of the additional cost peer review is likely to entail and the potentially onerous impact on funding, timescales as well as the challenge of finding unbiased peers representing Scotland-wide, not just the central belt.
  • Alternative suggestions are for consultation with artists in setting criteria for funding and for strong formal and informal opportunities for feedback on decisions, or a panel of appropriate (non-CS) peer reviewers.
  • Other comments noted the strong backgrounds of CS officers in their art forms and highlighted the need for CS to rebuild trust and confidence so their expertise is respected and they can stand by decisions, which are rigorous and evidence-based.

Future priorities

Members were asked what Creative Scotland’s top priorities should be for the future as a comment-only question. The range of views have been prioritised below by volume.

  • Review all funding streams with input from artists and those working in the sector
  • Advocate for the importance of Scotland’s cultural sector by demonstrating its value
  • Be transparent in funding, decision-making and communications
  • Increase equitable access to culture
  • Equity in funding organisations and individual artists, and work Scotland-wide not just Central Belt.

 

April 17, 2018

A Culture Strategy for Scotland – Engagement Report

The Culture Strategy Team has provided an update on the development of ‘A Culture Strategy for Scotland’.

Many of you took part in the engagement phase which ran between June and December 2017 2017 with the central ambition to stimulate debate and generate ideas across the sector and wider society to inform the development of the strategy.  During this time, the Scottish Government hosted a series of nine Scotland-wide public events during the Engagement Phase which attracted nearly four hundred contributors in total (Dundee; Inverness; Paisley; Dumfries; Galashiels; Aberdeen; Skye; Edinburgh; Dunfermline) and more than fifty events were also held by partners and stakeholders. Written submissions were also made by organisations and individuals, and more than thirty contributions were received via the online interactive ideas forum.

The team has now produced an engagement report which provides an overview of the main themes and ideas that emerged across all the engagement events as well as written submissions and online forums. The main report and a summary can be found here.

The report will inform a draft strategy which will be issued for public consultation later in 2018.

 

Contact

To find out more about the culture strategy and how to get involved, email culturestrategy@gov.scot or contact a member of the strategy team:

  • Donna Stewart, Senior Policy Manager: 0131 244 7682
  • Sarah Simpson, Policy Officer: 0131 244 0305

You can also share your views on Twitter, tagging @culturescotgov and using the hashtag #scotlandscultureconversation

April 10, 2018

LAS support for Western Isles mobile library service

We wrote the following letter in February to show our support for the outstanding mobile service already being delivered to residents of the Western Isles and to urge the Comhairle nan Eileen Siar to invest in three new library vehicles to ensure continuity of this vital service. A decision is expected to be made at the Comhairle’s Policy & Resources Committee in May.

 

A letter in support of the mobile library service delivered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

My name is Peggy Hughes and I am the Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS), which represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland.

I’m writing in support of the existing mobile library service and to urge Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to invest in the procurement of three new library vehicles to ensure the continuity of this vital service to the communities of the Western Isles.

While I do of course fully appreciate that the Comhairle is under financial pressure, the argument for long-term investment in public libraries – both static and mobile –  is strong.

The mobile library provides access to library and information services, including literature, culture and knowledge to all those who live too far away from a static library. With only four static libraries in the Outer Hebrides, the mobile vehicles cover huge areas and are vital in providing an adequate library service for all residents, as per the requirements of the Local Government Act.

The service supports reading for pleasure and their stock is vital in supporting literacies. Reading is Scotland’s favourite cultural activity, which brings with it important health benefits. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by the Scottish Government shows clear and significant links between cultural participation and improved health and wellbeing.

They also facilitate better quality of life through greater access to services, reducing service inequalities between towns and rural communities, and lower social isolation in all demographic groups, including vulnerable adults and the elderly.

Libraries provide equal opportunities for everyone, therefore renewing the current vehicles, which are no longer fit for purpose, is crucial to ensuring the Comhairle’s continued contribution to national outcomes such as reducing inequality and improving literacy, life chances and health.

Importantly, the mobile library service demonstrates the value the Comhairle places on its communities. And, despite the current state of the vehicles, local residents clearly value the service delivered with a consistent growth in membership nearly doubling in the past four years. Such impressive statistics speak volumes and would be the envy of other Councils across Scotland in putting forward a strong case for continued library investment.

Scotland has long been known for its strong support for public libraries, and for the excellent network of libraries that has already been created.

On behalf of our members, we call on the Comhairle to acknowledge the outstanding service already being delivered by your mobile library service staff.

We would urge you to protect it for the long-term by investing in new up-to-date vehicles to make sure that the people living in the Western Isles can continue to have regular access to a library service and the myriad benefits they offer both now and in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Peggy Hughes, Chair

 

Literature Alliance Scotland Membership at February 2018

MEMBERS

  • Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS)
  • Association of Scottish Literary Agents (ASLA)
  • Bookdonors CIC
  • CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
  • The Gaelic Books Council
  • Moniack Mhor
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
  • Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
  • Publishing Scotland
  • The Saltire Society
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC)
  • SLAM (Scottish Literary and Arts Magazines)
  • Scottish Society of Playwrights
  • Scottish PEN
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Forum
  • Scottish Writers Centre
  • Society of Authors in Scotland
  • Universities Committee for Scottish Literature
  • Wigtown Festival Company
  • Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (Scottish Region)

NETWORK ASSOCIATES

  • Ayton Publishing
  • Florida State Universities Library
  • Indie Authors World
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication @ Stirling University
  • The Poetry Association of Scotland

 

 

April 3, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: February 2018

Last month £1,034,174 of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 43 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. Over £950,000 of these awards has been awarded through National Lottery Funding.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in February 2018 for Literature:

Dingwall-based Sandstone Press have received funding to enable them to publish twenty-five new titles in 2018, including 10 fiction and 15 non-fiction titles, alongside professional development for members of the Sandstone Press.

Novelist Kate Tregaskis, writer Simon Wilson Hall and poet Jim Carruth have all received funding towards new works.

New writing publication Gutter Magazine has received funding to support its next four issues.

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

March 29, 2018

LAS survey: have your say on Creative Scotland funding

If you’re involved in the literature, languages and publishing sector, we’d like to hear your views on Creative Scotland  – whether or not you / your organisation is funded by them.

Please complete this survey before this Friday, 23 March 2018.

It’s only 10 questions. That’s just five minutes of your time to help inform our sector feedback at a meeting with CEO Janet Archer next week.

 
Feel free to share the survey amongst your own membership and with your wider literature, languages & publishing network. Every voice matters – we want to hear them all.
 
The deadline is Friday 23 March 2018. Thank you!
March 20, 2018

Obituary: Sir Gerald Eliot, patron of the arts in Scotland

Sir Gerald Eliot, the former chairman of Christian Salvesen and patron of the arts in Scotland, died on 28 January 2018 aged 94.

The admiration for Sir Gerald’s support for the arts in Scotland is widespread. Read his obituary in The Herald by Alasdair Steven (8 February 2018) which includes the following quote from Edinburgh Festival’s director Fergus Linehan:

“Sir Gerald was passionately enthusiastic about the arts and made a substantial contribution to Scotland’s cultural life. He and Lady Elliot supported both established and emerging artists through The Binks Trust and generously opened up their home to welcome visitors to the Festival.”

 

 

March 19, 2018

New Lobbying Act – have you registered?

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 is in force from 12 March 2018. 

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 became law in April 2016. The Act aims to increase public transparency about lobbying. It defines particular types of communication as ‘regulated lobbying’.

From 12 March 2018 the Lobbying Register website (www.lobbying.scot) must be used by anyone who engages in regulated lobbying to record details of their activities. The Register is also searchable by anyone with an interest in finding out about regulated lobbying activity that has taken place.

Regulated lobbying is lobbying which takes place face-to-face with MSPs, members of the Scottish Government (including the Scottish Law Officers), Special Advisers or Permanent Secretary and which relates to Scottish Government or Parliamentary functions. 

There are a number of exemptions in the Act that may mean you will not need to enter details in the Lobbying Register. See this guidance on the Act to help you to determine whether it applies to you.

Download the leaflet

Download the FAQs

The Lobbying Register Team can be contacted on 0131 348 5408 or lobbying@parliament.scot

There is also a Twitter feed for the Scottish Parliament Lobbying Register:  @SP_LobbyingScot

March 13, 2018

Celebrating Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair on International Women’s Day 2018

Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair honoured at Edinburgh home with plaque installation

In 2016 the City of Literature Trust nominated Dame Sarah Siddons Mair to receive a plaque as part of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme run by Historic Environment Scotland. Today, on International Women’s Day, her plaque was installed at 29 Abercromby Place, where she was born, to commemorate her life and work towards promoting women’s education and suffrage.

Born in 1846, Mair was the great-great granddaughter of the actress Sarah Siddons, who was best known for her portrayal of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Sarah Siddons Mair carved a name of her own, however, as one of the most central figures in the Scottish women’s movement. She was a lifetime advocate for women’s education and suffrage, known for her work as a writer, reviewer, editor, and campaigner.

At the young age of 19, she was the founder and president of the Ladies’ Edinburgh Debating Society, which offered Edinburgh women the chance to practice speaking in public, acquire debating skills, whilst also exploring social issues. She would later go on to help found the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women, and become president of the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage in 1907.

Mair is also known for her work in promoting higher education for women, and notoriously founded St George’s High School for Girls in 1888. We were lucky enough to be joined by current pupils and teachers from the school, who read extracts from her work, as well as the Royal Scots Club, who organised a lunch in her honour.

The unveiling of Mair’s plaque in the New Town came about as a result of the Commemorative Plaque scheme run by Historic Environment Scotland. The Trust nominated three female writers deserving of such commemorations in back in 2016; all of whom were chosen. The other recipients included Dorothy Emily Stevenson, an avid novelist, and Susan Ferrier, widely recognized as ‘the Scottish Jane Austen’. Last year, two further nominated female writers were also chosen to receive plaques: Mary Brunton and Christian Isobel Johnstone.

Siân Bevan, Programme Manager at Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust said: “The plaques are a great reminder of the vibrant women writers who make up the incredible literary history of Edinburgh. Some of them may have, for one reason or another, fallen out of the public’s memory so it’s fantastic to have plaques in public spaces which might encourage folk to find out more about their remarkable life and works.”

This year, we look forward to the installation of a further two plaques commemorating the lives of Mary Brunton and Christian Isobel Johnstone. For more information about both women, explore the Women Writers’ page on the Edinburgh City of Literature website.

– ENDS –

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Raeburn, Communications Assistant, City of Literature Trust

rebecca@cityofliterature.com or 0131 557 9850

 

March 8, 2018

Guest blog: Scottish children are reading what they want

Shelagh Toonen, Librarian at Elgin Academy, responds to an article in the national press that  ‘Scottish children are not reading challenging enough books’ (BBC News, 22 February 2018)

The report reads that we are failing our pupils in Scotland. It highlights a study which leads us to believe that we have a Scottish education system clearly heading for catastrophe. Librarians, teachers, parents, pupils, education authorities and concerned citizens have reason for alarm. There are signs of literacy failure nationwide.

However, in my own school, Elgin Academy, in 2016, 87% of our pupils left school with a literacy level of level 5 in literacy or better. This was compared with 80% of our virtual comparator.

This refutes the claim in the study that “many 16-year-olds sitting National 4 and 5 exams have the reading ability of a 13 year old or lower.”

However, the education company Renaissance Learning, Inc. has made the claim that Scottish children are not reading challenging enough books and this was reprinted in the Scottish media. Renaissance Learning’s flagship product is a software package called Accelerated Reader. The company claims that AR (as it is called) is “the world’s most widely used reading software.”

It has been established in the UK since 1999 and claims to have a presence in over 40,000 schools in more than 60 countries worldwide. Renaissance’s purpose is to accelerate reading and learning for all. A minimum subscription rate for 50 pupils is £450, or £9 per pupil. AR is, by its very nature, a system of providing extrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards for reading. A very expensive system with very expensive rewards.

Most pupils, even those with less reading ability, quickly realise that one way to accumulate points is volume, volume, volume. Read easier books and lots of them so you can quickly take as many AR quizzes as possible with minimal challenge. This competitive race is likely to discourage weaker readers while proficient readers may find the joy and power of reading reduced to vocabulary words and computer-generated comprehension quizzes. Our young people should not be reading to achieve tangible rewards. They should read because they want to. AR gets motivation wrong. It assumes that the reason our young people don’t read is that they need to be bribed into doing so with extrinsic awards.

Bestselling YA author Judy Blume is unequivocal: “What I don’t like and what I really don’t like — intensely hate, you could say — is the Accelerated Reader program, even though many of my books are in that program, because they rate books, not on emotional content or emotional readiness. They’re rated by machine — how many words in a sentence, how long is a paragraph. Nothing to do with character, nothing to do with subject and again, nothing to do with emotional readiness.”

Our pupils in Scottish schools read because their school librarian selected and recommended a book they thought they would enjoy based on knowing them and on their interests. Our pupils read to escape, to heal, to experience, to have adventures, to escape into other worlds and to dream. We provide them with the means to do that. School librarians provide a reader-friendly, safe, nurturing space with time to read and be read to and with time to select and to talk about reading. We provide access to books and, more importantly, choice. Young people are given free rein in the library, to read anything and everything they want.

Free choice is a powerful motivator in reading. For a young person, to have the opportunity to independently choose their own book, surely demonstrates their willingness and desire to read? It does not matter what that choice is. It should not be frowned upon nor the reader discouraged. Choice empowers our young people and if we value their choices, then we value them. Their choice leads to discussion, firstly about the books, but also then helps to create and to strengthen relationships. Ultimately, choice develops independent readers and learners.

If secondary school pupils do choose the same books they enjoyed in primary school, or choose to remain with one series of books, then they are reading books they have known, enjoyed and loved. If these books provide a comforting or nurturing value during what might be challenging or difficult times at secondary school, then that is a good thing. If pupils want to remain with Robert Muchamore, or Jeff Kinney or Anthony Horowitz and want to re-read the whole series, then let them.

School librarians are there to help our pupils to make choices based on their interests and to develop their enthusiasm for books. We are there to motivate and to enable our pupils to have choice in their reading. Strong and capable readers are those who read widely and diversely in a wide variety of genres and in the quest to build capable readers, promoting independent, self-selected reading remains key. Creating keen, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen. It takes a school library, with a diverse, relevant and vibrant collection of books and a professionally qualified librarian to help reach that goal.

My own proposal would be that all pupils be given the gifts of time and books they want to read throughout their school lives and that all young children would have an adult who would read aloud to them each and every day.

Parents of our pupils have a role to play in developing their reading habit and their literacy skills too. What parents do is more important than who parents are. A study involving 4000 children in the UK found parents who provided learning support at home had a positive impact on their child’s cognitive, language and socio-emotional development, regardless of the parent’s class or educational background. This can be anything from reading to their child, library visits, singing songs, reading poems or nursery rhymes.

The powerful influence of the early home learning environment was apparent in the pre-school period, and when children started school, and continued right through to the end of secondary school. Closing the gap in educational attainment between children from affluent and disadvantaged homes is a current priority of the Scottish Government.

A quality school library can contribute to reducing the attainment gap and enable vulnerable students to improve academic success. Evidence reveals the difference a school library can make at both primary level and to disadvantaged pupils who have limited access to reading resources in the home.

Nurturing my school’s reading culture gives me the opportunity to raise the profile of books and reading in school, while at the same time sharing my passion for high-interest titles, favourite authors and the joy of books.

I believe that, through independent reading and freedom of choice, our young people gain a wealth of background knowledge about many different things and they will build vocabulary, fluency and will want to read more. I want our pupils to enjoy reading and I know that school librarians’ role in creating readers is one of the most exciting and satisfying parts of our job.

Now, with changing technologies and concepts, the school library is a much more exciting place to explore than ever before. We all relish the excitement on a pupil’s face, when they come into the library, knowing that they are entering a world of creativity, adventure, learning, fun and warmth. It is a reminder every day of why our school libraries and reading are so important to our young people.

Professional library support and choice really do help to make our make young people into readers. I firmly believe that our libraries should be the beating heart of the reading culture in our schools in Scotland.

“Students will read if we give them the books, the time, and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so. If we make them wait for the one unit a year in which they are allowed to choose their own books and become readers, they may never read at all. To keep our students reading, we have to let them.”
― Donalyn Miller The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.

This guest blog originally appeared on the CILIPS’ website. It is reproduced here with kind permission. 

March 1, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: Jan 2018

Last month £836,779 of National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund was awarded to 41 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following projects and individuals receiving funding in January 2018 for Literature:

Literature festivals including Nairn Book and Arts Festival (11-16 September 2018) in the Highlands, Boswell Book Festival (4-6 May 2018) in East Ayrshire, and Aye Write! (15-25 March 2018) in Glasgow have received funding towards their 2018 programmes.

Poets Juana Adcock and Christie Williamson have received support to attend and speak at The International Poetry Festival of Granada.

Katrina Brodin, Programme Manager (Reader Development & Literacy) at AyeWrite! said: “At their core, Aye Write! and Wee Write! exist to foster a love of reading and writing and to encourage development of both. This funding not only helps Aye Write! identify, attract and nurture talent but also helps expose budding writers, readers and authors to new skills, genres and audiences. Similarly, Wee Write! fires imaginations and helps instil a passion for reading in new generations that will last a lifetime and encourage young people to explore writing and reading in all forms.”

For funding information on the other cultural sectors, read the announcement on Creative Scotland’s website.

February 28, 2018

Wigtown Festival Company seeks Cultural Producer

Wigtown Festival Company (WFC) is looking to recruit a cultural producer / programme manager from April 2018.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a key member of a team delivering a variety of literary and cultural activities across south-west Scotland, including the annual Wigtown Book Festival.

The position is full-time with a salary of £25,000 and is based at our offices in Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway.

The successful applicant will have a strong professional background in arts and literature and proven experience of delivering cultural projects, including monitoring, evaluation and reporting. A driver’s license is also required.

This is not an entry level position, though applicants with appropriate internship experience will be considered.

WFC is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Our organisation is committed to equalities, diversity and inclusion.

To register interest and for further information, including job description and application requirements, please contact Anne Barclay (anne@wigtownbookfestival.com).

Application deadline: 5pm, Friday 9 March 2018.

Interviews: week commencing Monday 19 March

Wigtown Festival Company | 11 North Main Street | Wigtown | DG8 9HN

Charity registered in Scotland. Number SC037984.

February 26, 2018

2018-2023 Draft Gaelic Language Plan

The second iteration of the National Library of Scotland’s Gaelic Language Plan is now out for public consultation.

The plan will remain open for this period of consultation from 19 January 2018 to 16 March 2018.

The Library is seeking the views and comments of interested individuals, businesses and local and national Gaelic organisations, regarding the content of its Draft Gaelic Language Plan which, once finalised, will cover the period 2018-2023.

All views and comments will be fully considered before the final draft of the plan is produced at the end of the eight-week period.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the content of the plan, please do send an email to GaelicLanguagePlan@nls.uk.

 

2018-2023 Dreachd Phlana Ghàidhlig

Thathar a’ dèanamh co-chomhairle phoblach air an dàrna tionndadh den Phlana Ghàidhlig aig Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba aig an àm seo.

Bidh a’ cho-chomhairle fosgailte eadar 19 Faoilleach 2018 agus 16 Màrt 2018.

Tha an Leabharlann a’ sireadh bheachdan bho dhaoine agus buidhnean aig a bheil ùidh sa chùis, a’ gabhail a-steach buidhnean Gàidhlig aig an ìre ionadail is nàiseanta, air an dreachd Phlana Ghàidhlig aige airson 2018-2023.

Thèid cnuasachadh air na beachdan uile a gheibhear sa cho-chomhairle mus tèid an dreachd mu dheireadh den phlana fhoillseachadh aig deireadh nan ochd seachdainean co-chomhairleachaidh.

Ma tha beachd no ceist sam bith agad mu shusbaint a’ phlana, cuir post-d gu GaelicLanguagePlan@nls.uk.

 

 

February 26, 2018

Edinburgh: City of Literature – Summer School course

Edinburgh has an amazingly rich literary heritage and was the first city in the world to receive UNESCO City of Literature status.

Now, the University of Edinburgh has created a unique four-week course to examine some of Edinburgh’s most celebrated literary talents – Edinburgh: City of Literature.

Alongside works by Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin, Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh, the course will explore these writers’ presence in the city through manuscript collections and objects in the National Libraries and Museums of Scotland and the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum.

It will also follow their footsteps through the city to see how their presence has been marked with monuments, plaques and other forms of cultural heritage, and consider how these writers represent the city in their works and how it has shaped their writing.

Application deadline: 30 March 2018. The course runs from 4-29 June 2018.

Watch the video below. For full details visit the website.

February 25, 2018