A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

LAS launches survey to demonstrate value of Scotland’s literary freelancers

As part of an independent impact study from Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS), freelancers and temporary workers who work within the literature, languages and publishing sector in Scotland are invited to participate in a survey that aims to bring about positive change and demonstrate their economic and social value of their contributions to the sector.

The research project will bridge a gap in specific knowledge of the literature, languages, and publishing sector by hearing directly from freelancers – including disabled freelancers –  on a range of areas including freelancers’ work in this sector during the Covid-19 pandemic period, Fair Working practices, as well as the challenges and barriers they face.

The report will share findings and include good practice recommendations on how we can all offer better support and provide more accessible and inclusive opportunities for this essential workforce.

And as part of LAS’ advocacy work, this information will be shared widely with those who commission freelancers such as publishers, festivals, literature and languages organisations, with industry stakeholders such as Creative Scotland, Scottish Government, policy makers and with universities as well as other arts organisations, arts researchers and advocates seeking comparative studies.

Freelancers are invited to complete the survey here which should take around 10-15 minutes to complete. It is open from Tuesday 10th May to midnight on Sunday 5th June 2022.

Survey respondents can enter a prize draw to win £50 in National Book Tokens as well as register to be interviewed in more detail with a view to creating ten case studies highlighting varied experiences of working in the sector. The ten case study participants will each receive a £50 voucher of their choice to thank them for their time.

Jenny Niven, Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, said: “Freelancers across the arts are facing hugely challenging times. Through this work we want to shine the spotlight specifically on those who work in the literature, languages, and publishing sector to understand directly from them about their experiences of working practices, payment, professional development, Covid challenges. We’re also seeking to learn what good support, networks and opportunities look like for this freelance workforce.

“We’ve worked hard to make this survey as inclusive as possible to reflect the multiple unsalaried and non-permanent roles that freelancers hold across a mix of art forms to make a living. We want to hear from anyone who works as a freelancer or temporary worker in this sector – from agents and all types of writers, editors, educators and event organisers, programmers and publishers, illustrators, comic creators, storytellers, translators, typesetters and more.

“The more freelancers who share their views by completing the survey, the more accurately we can advocate for the needs of this vital workforce to help organisations enact positive change by offering better support and more opportunities as we slowly move through the pandemic recovery, the increased cost of living and beyond.

“So, we’re asking freelancers to please engage with Literature Alliance Scotland and the survey we’re launching today so we can better understand: What challenges are specific to those working within this area of the arts, what are those shared across all freelance working, and how can we address them?”

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland said: “This important research is extremely welcome as part of wide-ranging work across Scotland’s culture sector to ensure that artists and professionals working in the creative community are paid fairly and appropriately for their time and effort.

“LAS’ focus on literature and publishing will highlight the needs of this specific workforce and inform how we, as a sector, can work together to  implement Fair Work principles. The broader and more diverse the responses, the more valuable this survey will be.”

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact Jenny Kumar, LAS Projects and Communications Manager, on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com OR admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

Notes to Editor

  • Freelancers = anyone who does not have solely permanent salaried roles in the literature, languages, and publishing sector.
  • LAS’ impact study on freelancers in the literature, languages, and publishing sector is conducted by independent research consultant Ruth Stevenson of Ruthless Research
  • LAS is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland via the Open Fund for Organisations.

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of Scotland’s literature and languages at home and abroad. As Scotland’s largest literary network, we bring together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies, in a collective voice for literature and languages, which are celebrated locally, nationally, and internationally. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland. Twitter @LitScotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen, and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at www.ourcreativevoice.scot

May 10, 2022

Scots Makar leads pledge support for Keep the Heid and Read!

Keep the Heid and Read! online totaliser launched to capture Scotland-wide support

Scotland’s Makar, Kathleen Jamie, is one of the first people in the country to pledge their support for the Keep the Heid and Read! campaign, which launched today (Mon 11 Apr).

Joining some of the country’s most influential individuals and organisations, including the Institute of Directors and the SPFL Trust, in pledging to take part in the ‘national reading moment’ on Wednesday 11 May, the Makar was happy to help drive awareness of the project.

The Scotland-wide initiative, led by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and with support from Baillie Gifford, aims to inspire and encourage people of all ages and abilities to read every day to boost their mental health and wellbeing – starting with a pledge to read for just six minutes on11 May.

Research shows that reading for six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68 per cent – in people of all ages.  With the national reading moment due to take place during Mental Health Week 2022 (9-15 May 2022), the campaign signals the perfect opportunity to take stock and establish a regular reading habit.

Kathleen Jamie, the national poet for Scotland (2021-2024), said: “Our local libraries are full of great reading material – books of course, but also comics and pamphlets of poetry, so they are the perfect places to release the imagination, whatever your ability and interests.

“Reading for pleasure can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.  I read every day, often early in the morning to set me up for the day, so I’m glad to support the Keep the Heid and Read campaign.  I’ve pledged my six minutes of reading on 11 May and would encourage everyone else to do the same.”

An online totaliser, capturing the number of reading minutes pledged towards the national reading moment, is available at: www.keeptheheid.scot.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the Keep the Heid and Read! campaign, Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: “This campaign was designed to promote the positive and easy-to-implement changes which can help increase mental health and wellbeing, and highlight the part local libraries can play in that process.

“We believe starting with a simple pledge to read for just six minutes on 11 May will help inspire people to take forward these good habits in their everyday lives.”

Working in partnership with Scotland’s 32 public library services, SLIC hopes the free to use services across Scotland will encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the Keep the Heid and Read! campaign.

Pamela added: “Libraries play a valuable role in reconnecting communities and with the majority of libraries now reopened across Scotland after the pandemic – all with an abundance of free reading materials available – we hope these services will allow people all over Scotland to take part in the national reading moment.”

Individuals and groups, such as schools and workplaces, are invited to sign up now to get involved at www.keeptheheid.scot, and add to the totaliser count. Gaelic translated ‘Na bi ga do chall fhèin, leugh!’ campaign materials are also available in full.  Keep up-to-date and share your support using #keeptheheid on social media.

-Ends-

For media enquiries please email SLIC@3×1.com or call  0141 221 0707.

Reproduced from the SLIC press release.

 

 

 

April 11, 2022

Publishing Scotland reveals 2022 International Publishing Fellows

Publishing Scotland has announced its new International Publishing Fellows for 2022. The Fellows were chosen for the scheme in 2020 and were keen to keep their spaces live and current for when the international book trade opened up again.

Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland, revealed the nine publishers who have been chosen for the sixth International Fellowship which marks 54 publishers who have visited the country to meet Scottish publishers and experience the culture and landscape.

  • Dr. Cordelia Borchardt, S. Fischer Verlage, Germany
  • Sarah Cantin, St. Martin’s Press, USA
  • Nicolás Rodríguez Galvis, Éditions Métailié, France
  • Esther Hendriks, De Arbeiderspers/Singel Publishers, The Netherlands
  • Peter Joseph, Harper Collins, USA
  • Talia Marcos, Keter Books, Israel
  • Jean Mattern, Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, France
  • Andrea Stratilová, Albatros media, Czechia
  • Mark Tauber, The Watermark Agency, formerly of Chronicle Books, USA

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 across the country including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, dinner at Robert Louis Stevenson’s former home, a writer showcase in Glasgow and a trip to the Highlands to meet publishers and writers there.

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. Previous fellows have acted as advocates for the Scottish publishing scene and the Publishing Scotland drinks receptions at the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs is now a hive of international activity as Fellows reconnect with the publishers. This year’s Publishing Scotland’s drinks reception will be going ahead at their stand on Wednesday 6th of April at 5.30pm.

Scotland-based literary agent Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates, who has been involved with the Fellowship since it was established in 2014, said: “The Fellowship enables us to meet publishers and understand their markets, introduce them to authors and for them to encounter the vibrant literary scene here, in a way that brief 30-minute meetings at book fairs can never achieve. And it works in terms of selling rights, we’ve struck many international deals with Fellows past and present, for Scottish writers.”

Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, said: “We are hugely privileged to have this Fellowship Programme as a means of attracting people to come and experience the industry here. Thanks to our funders, in the six years since the Fellowship began, we will have invited 55 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 paying dividends in terms of rights deals made, and in the very important relationships that have been forged between the Fellows and the sector.”

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.

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing, Creative Scotland, said: “The International Publishing Fellowship builds relationships between publishers and therefore develops channels for voices in Scottish literature to reach readers beyond the UK. By facilitating rights sales in international territories, the programme builds a more global readership and profile for our authors, as well as contributing towards sustainable writing careers.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • The 2015 Fellowship week was shortlisted in the Best Networking Event category at the Association Excellence Awards UK

Publishing Scotland is the network for trade, training and development. We’re a membership body and a charity. The International Fellowship Programme is part of our internationalisation work, along with the Translation Fund, rights catalogues, Go-See Fund, and Bookfair representation, which are all designed to make doing business overseas easier and more cost-effective for publishers. Follow on Twitter: @publishscotland

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 more info, please contact Publishing Scotland – enquiries@publishingscotland.org

Publishing Scotland, Scott House, 10 South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AZ

 

Photo: top row (l-r)

  • Andrea Stratilová, Albatros media, Czechia
  • Dr. Cordelia Borchardt, S. Fischer Verlage, Germany
  • Esther Hendriks, De Arbeiderspers/Singel Publishers, The Netherlands
  • Jean Mattern, Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, France
  • Mark Tauber, Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books, USA

Photo: bottom row (l-r)

  • Nicolás Rodríguez Galvis, Éditions Métailié, France
  • Sarah Cantin, St. Martin’s Press, USA
  • Talia Marcos, Keter Books, Israel
  • Peter Joseph, Harper Collins, USA

Reproduced from Publishing Scotland’s press release.

 

April 4, 2022

2021 Highland Book Prize shortlist announced

The Highland Society of London and Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre have today (22 March 2022) announced the Shortlist for the 2021 Highland Book Prize.

This annual award celebrates the finest work that recognises the rich culture, heritage, and landscape of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.  The prize aims to showcase the literary talent of the region and to raise the profile of work created in or about the Highlands.

The four shortlisted titles are all major works in the wider literary field of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry, and are indicative of the quality of literature being produced in the Highlands today.

11 titles were selected for the longlist, out of 71 submitted titles published between January and December 2021, by a reviewing panel of over 180 volunteer readers. The shortlist has now been selected by this year’s judging panel, who are: Kapka Kassabova, poet and writer of fiction and narrative non-fiction, whose book Border (Granta) won the 2017 Highland Book Prize; Jenny Niven, freelance producer and director, and Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland; and Mark Wringe, Senior Lecturer in Gaelic Language and Culture at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Novelist and poet Kevin MacNeil provided an additional Gaelic perspective as a shadow judge, and the selection process was chaired by Alex Ogilvie, a Trustee for the Highland Society of London.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Slaves and Highlanders by David Alston (Edinburgh University Press, 2021)
  • Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flyn (William Collins, 2021)
  • The Stone Age by Jen Hadfield (Picador, 2021)
  • In a Veil of Mist by Donald S. Murray (Saraband, 2021)

Alex Ogilvie, Non-Voting Chair of the Judging Panel, said: ‘Judging a longlist of such high quality was never going to be easy, however the judges had a hugely enjoyable and constructive discussion around each of the titles, which ultimately led to a unanimous decision on the titles that will now go through to the final round.’

Jenny Niven said of Slaves and Highlanders: ‘‘This is a powerful and thought-provoking book that opens a vital conversation on our understanding of the Highlands, both in the past and with implications for the present; and as a result changes our perspective of Scotland as a whole. The depth and meticulousness of the research was incredibly impressive; Alston lets the facts speak for themselves – and they take the breath away.’

Kapka Kassabova said of Islands of Abandonment: ‘Flyn is a brilliantly atmospheric writer who brings out the individual tonality and significance of each of the abandoned worlds she visits. This haunting, courageous, and informative book takes us to places where past and future meet.’

Speaking about A Veil of Mist, Mark Wringe said: ‘Where better to find audacious secrecy for 1950s Cold War biological weapons experiments, than an island community where keeping silent about your deepest concerns, your innermost frustrations is ingrained, especially for its women.  It’s often said that fiction tells truth more intimately, more comprehensively. Donald S. Murray proves it.’

Kapka Kassabova also commented on The Stone Age: ‘In a pantheistic journey of Shetland, Hadfield converses with her environment. The human and more-than-human worlds are perceived to be a seamless whole, and every rock has a voice. This book is a literary, environmental, and spiritual adventure.’

The winning title will be announced at an award ceremony on the 26th May, which will be held in Inverness. One author will be awarded a £1000 prize by the Highland Society of London and will receive a writing retreat the Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre.

-Ends-

Notes for Editors

For more information, contact Kirsteen Bell, Highland Book Prize Coordinator on 07842 040 165 or kirsteen@moniackmhor.org.uk

  • The Highland Book Prize is presented by the Highland Society of London and facilitated by Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre.
  • More information about the Highland Book Prize can be found here: https://www.highlandbookprize.org.uk/
  • The Highland Society of London is a charity which exists to promote and support the traditions and culture of the Highlands of Scotland. highlandsocietyoflondon.org
  • Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre is situated in a beautiful rural location in the Scottish Highlands, Teavarran, Kiltarlity, 14 miles outside Inverness. Since 1993, Moniack Mhor has been working with the finest writers from the UK and beyond to deliver creative writing courses, retreats, and other support for writers of all ages and abilities and from all walks of life.

AUTHOR BIOS AND BOOK INFO

  • David Alston is a Historian and Independent Researcher from He is the author of Ross & Cromarty: A Historical Guide (1997) and My Little Town of Cromarty: The History of a Northern Scottish Town (2006). He was a Highland Councillor and from 1991–2003 was curator/manager of Cromarty Courthouse Museum. He has published articles on the Highlands and Slavery including ‘Very Rapid and Splendid Fortunes: Highland Scots in Berbice (Guyana) in the early nineteenth century’, in Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, (2007) and wrote a chapter in the T.D. Devine edited collection ‘Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past’ (EUP, 2015).

About Slaves and Highlanders: Scots were involved in every stage of the slave trade: from captaining slaving ships to auctioning captured Africans in the colonies and hunting down those who escaped from bondage. This book focuses on the Scottish Highlanders who engaged in or benefitted from these crimes against humanity in the Caribbean Islands and Guyana, some reluctantly but many with enthusiasm and without remorse. Their voices are clearly heard in the archives, while in the same sources their victims’ stories are silenced – reduced to numbers and listed as property. David Alston gives voice not only to these Scots but to enslaved Africans and their descendants.

  • Cal Flyn is an author and journalist from the Highlands of Scotland (Inverness and Orkney). Previously she has been a reporter for both The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph, and a contributing editor at The Week magazine. Cal holds a MA in Experimental Psychology from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Her first book, ‘Thicker Than Water’, was a Times book of the year and dealt with the colonisation of Australia and questions of inherited guilt.

About Islands of Abandonment: This book explores the extraordinary places where humans no longer live – or survive in tiny, precarious numbers – to give us a possible glimpse of what happens when mankind’s impact on nature is forced to stop. From Tanzanian mountains to the volcanic Caribbean, the forbidden areas of France to the mining regions of Scotland, Flyn brings together some of the most desolate, eerie, ravaged and polluted areas in the world – and shows how, against all odds, they offer our best opportunities for environmental recovery.

  • Jen Hadfield lives in Her first collection, Almanacs, won an Eric Gregory Award in 2003. Her second collection, Nigh-No-Place, won the T. S. Eliot Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. She won the Edwin Morgan Poetry Competition in 2012.

About The Stone Age: Jen Hadfield’s collection is an astonished beholding of the wild landscape of her Shetland home, a tale of hard-won speech, and the balm of the silence it rides upon. The Stone Age builds steadily to a powerful and visionary panpsychism: in Hadfield’s telling, everything – gate and wall, flower and rain, shore and sea, the standing stones whose presences charge the land – has a living consciousness, one which can be engaged with as a personal encounter.

The Stone Age is a timely reminder that our neurodiversity is a gift: we do not all see the world the world in the same way, and Hadfield’s lyric line and unashamedly high-stakes wordplay provide nothing less than a portal into a different kind of being. The Stone Age is the work of a singular artist at the height of her powers – one which dramatically extends and enriches the range of our shared experience.

  • Donald S Murray is a Gaelic-speaking poet, author, non-fiction writer and occasional dramatist raised in Ness, Isle of Lewis, who now lives in Shetland. His first novel, As the Women Lay Dreaming, about the Iolaire disaster of 1st January 1919, won the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for 2020, and his pamphlet Achanaltwas the winner of the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award 2021 at the Scottish National Book Awards.

About In a Veil of Mist: Operation Cauldron, 1952: Top-secret germ warfare experiments on monkeys and guinea pigs are taking place aboard a vessel moored off the Isle of Lewis. Local villagers Jessie and Duncan encounter strange sights on the deserted beach nearby and suspect the worst. And one government scientist wrestles with his own inner anguish over the testing, even if he believes extreme deterrent weapons are justified. When a noxious cloud of plague bacteria is released into the path of a passing trawler, disaster threatens. Will a deadly pandemic be inevitable?

A haunting exploration of the costs and fallout of warmongering, Donald S Murray follows his prize-winning first novel with an equally moving exploration of another little-known incident in the Outer Hebridean island where he grew up.

Reproduced from The Highland Book Prize’s press release.

March 22, 2022

#PayTheCreator – calling for all creative freelancers to be paid professionally and promptly

The Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA) has launched a campaign: Pay the Creator. It calls for creators (creative freelancers) to be paid professionally and promptly, and to be given the same considerations enjoyed by other workers in the areas of pay, business support and policy making.

The CRA is asking everyone to share the #PayTheCreator hashtag, to link it to their campaigns for better practice and to call out good and bad examples of payment and contract practices.

How you can help:

As an organisation: Promote the campaign to your members via your newsletters and forums.

  • Download the Pay the Creator logo and use it on your website and email signatures – https://www.creatorsrightsalliance.org/paythecreator
  • Link your campaigns to the CRA website
  • Tell the CRA about the campaigns you’re running so they can share them with others; write to contact@creatorsrightsalliance.org.
  • Use #PayTheCreator on your social media feeds to highlight the best and worst in pay and contract practices.
  • Contact the CRA with case studies so they can highlight how these practices are affecting creators.
  • Pledge your support to the Pay the Creator campaign here.

As a creator:

  • Download the Pay the Creator logo to use on your own website and email signatures, linking to the Pay the Creator CRA page
  • Use #PayTheCreator on your social media feeds to highlight the best and the worst in pay and contract practices.
  • Pledge your support to the Pay the Creator campaign here.

As a member of the public: Use #PayTheCreator on your social media feeds. Pledge your support to the Pay the Creator campaign here.

As a Creative Business:

  • Use the Pay the Creator logo to show your support for the campaign to your team, colleagues in the industry, and the creators you work with.
  • Use #PayTheCreator on your social media feeds to show your support and to highlight your good practice.
  • Pledge your support to the Pay the Creator campaign here.

Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors and CRA chair, said: “It is always unacceptable to expect creators to receive ‘exposure’ or ‘experience’ in place of payments, but this has become especially prevalent throughout the pandemic. Our creative freelancers are a key cornerstone of our economy, providing important creativity, knowledge, and expertise. Without them our books, films, magazines, television, film, theatre and music venues would be empty, devoid of content. They have been dismissed far too long as irrelevant and unimportant to those who use their services and work, as well as to policy decision makers. This must stop. Pay the Creator brings together CRA member campaigns and the work they do tirelessly championing creators’ working rights.”

#PayTheCreator: The challenge

Too often creators are offered payment in kind, through “exposure” or “opportunity”, rather than financial payment for their work.  Creators’ work is the foundation of the largest sector within the UK economy. Yet their needs are repeatedly ignored when policy, economic and support decisions are being made.

The CRA and its members are working to ensure that all creators are:

  • Paid for the work they do, on time and reflecting their contributions, skills and worth
  • Recognised for the contribution they make to the creative industries, the UK’s economy, and our wellbeing
  • At the heart of the government’s and the creative industries’ policy and decision making processes 

Inequitable payment disproportionally affects those who are under-represented within the industry, limiting their chances to make a living from their creativity and to remain in the sector. It sets back any progress toward the inclusive industry that we all want to see. These unfair practices ensure that only those who come from backgrounds where they can be financially supported, can sustain a career in the sector.

Context

The creative industries are hugely important to our wellbeing. They contributed £115.9bn in Gross Value Added to the UK economy in 2019 – this was more than aerospace, automotive, life sciences and oil and gas sectors combined.

A third of people working in the creative industries are freelancers (33 per cent – around 2 million people). In some sections of the industry this proportion reaches 70 per cent. This is double the level of self-employment in the wider economy. (* Creative UK). Creative freelancers are a key cornerstone of our economy, with their work providing important creativity, knowledge and expertise.

A lack of professional and prompt payment makes this vital industry unnecessarily fragile, both in the short and the long-term. In a post-Brexit, post-pandemic world, we must nurture our assets to ensure we retain our world-leading economic and cultural vibrancy.

You can read more and add your support to their campaign by visiting the CRA Pay the Creator page: www.creatorsrightsalliance.org

*About Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA) 
The CRA is a collective of organisations that exists to promote, protect and further the interests of creators through policy, advocacy and campaigning work. We incorporate represents the major membership organisations and trade unions who collectively represent over 350,000 individual members – from authors, artists, photographers and illustrators to translators, performers, musicians and journalists – although their true reach far exceeds this number, with thousands more working in the creative industries and benefiting from their work.

Reproduced from the CRA website and press release.

March 17, 2022

Keep the Heid and Read!

On World Book Day (3 March 2022), a new Scotland-wide reading initiative has been announced to inspire and encourage people to read every day to boost their mental health and wellbeing.

A national reading moment, called ‘Keep the Heid and Read!’, will take place on Wednesday 11 May, during Mental Health Week (9-15 May 2022).  Readers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to pledge to read for just six minutes on 11 May – and they can read anything, from books and magazines to comics, graphic novels and blogs.

An online totaliser to count the overall reading time pledged by the nation will be launched next month (April), and people can sign up to get involved.

The reading campaign is led by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Scotland’s 32 public library services.

The idea was inspired by the post-lockdown plea for public libraries to reopen and the growing recognition that libraries play a valuable role in supporting mental health and wellbeing by connecting communities.

It is taking place during Mental Health Week because of the known mental and emotional health benefits of reading.  Research shows that reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68 per cent*.  Establishing a regular reading habit has the biggest impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC said: “The reading moment came about from an awareness that people have missed their libraries during the pandemic, coupled with the joy and benefits people gain from reading. It is the most popular cultural activity people undertake and, during the COVID-19 lockdown, reading was the nation’s most popular pastime.

“We want everyone to get involved on 11 May by pledging to read for six minutes.  It is a great way for people to reconnect with their local libraries, which offer an abundance of free reading material and library staff can make recommendations based on reading ability and interests.  Getting lost in a good book is a highly effective stress reliever and reading fiction, in particular, can inspire creativity and boost emotional intelligence, not to mention improve overall levels of literacy.”

Chris O’Sullivan, Head of Communications and Fundraising at Mental Health Foundation in Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to support ‘Keep the Heid and Read’.  Local libraries are a fantastic source of support in our communities and we hope that every person in Scotland has, and continues to have, access to the world of books, social connection and services they offer.  We know that reading has many benefits for our mental health; it can bring us joy, help us to relax and it can help alleviate the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.  We encourage everyone to take part in the six minute reading event during mental health week and develop a reading habit.”

Culture Minister Neil Gray said: “Reading books for pleasure can have a huge impact on our wellbeing so I’m delighted to support this Scotland-wide reading initiative.

“Our libraries have a vital role to play in reconnecting communities and promoting health and well-being as we recover from the pandemic.

“I’ll be pledging my six minutes of reading on 11 May and would encourage everyone else to pick up a book to do the same to support their local libraries.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

Issued by Clark on behalf of SLIC.  Contact Angela Hughes, angela@clarkcommunications.co.uk / 07970 184 198, or Joel Meekison joel@clarkcommunications.co.uk, 07921 687 626

  • The reading pledge sign-up and online totaliser will be online at keeptheheid.scot from mid-April
  • *Study conducted by researchers at the University of Sussex: Dr. David Lewis “Galaxy Stress Research,” Mindlab International, Sussex University (2009)
  • SLIC is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library matters scottishlibraries.org

 Reproduced from SLIC’s press release.

March 5, 2022

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2022

The Gaelic Books Council has announced that the Gaelic Literature Awards 2022 are open for submissions from Scottish Gaelic writers and publishers. Prizes will be awarded for books published between 1 May 2021 and 30 April 2022 in a number of categories: 

  • Poetry – The Derick Thomson Prize, sponsored by the Scottish Poetry Library 
  • Fiction – The Highland Society of London Prize 
  • Non-fiction – The Donald Meek Award 
  • Children/young people 

In addition to published books, there is also an opportunity for writers to submit unpublished manuscripts for children and for adults. As part of the prize, the winner of the best manuscript for children will have the opportunity to develop their book with the publisher, Acair. 

 

Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: “The strength of Gaelic writing and publishing despite all the challenges of the past two years has been a cause for celebration, and we hope to see the same standards of excellence and creativity in this year’s submissions. We are grateful to our sponsors and funders for their continuing support, and we look forward to discovering new authors and to rewarding the best Gaelic books published in the past year.” 

The deadline for submissions is 30th April 2022 and the competition terms and conditions can be found here. The winners will be announced on 15th September 2022.

Notes for editors: 

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation supporting Scottish Gaelic writers and publishers, through grants, writer development, and the promotion of reading and enjoyment of literature. It is a registered charity and receives funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland. 

For further information, please contact NDL@gaelicbooks.org or 0141 337 6211 

NA DUAISEAN LITREACHAIS 2022 

Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean air ainmeachadh gu bheil Na Duaisean Litreachais 2022 fosgailte airson thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean agus foillsichearan Gàidhlig. Bidh duaisean rim faighinn airson leabhraichean a chaidh fhoillseachadh eadar 1 Cèitean 2021 agus 30 Giblean 2022 ann an diofar gnèithean litreachais: 

  • • Bàrdachd – Duais Ruaraidh MhicThòmais, le taic bho Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba 
  • • Ficsean – Duais Chomann Ghàidhealach Lunnainn 
  • • Neo-fhicsean – Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 
  • • Clann/òigridh 

A bharrachd air leabhraichean a tha ann an clò mar-thà, faodaidh sgrìobhadairean làmh-sgrìobhainnean neo-fhoillsichte do chloinn is do dh’inbhich a chur a-steach dhan fharpais. A thuilleadh air an duais, bidh cothrom aig ùghdar na làmh-sgrìobhainn as fheàrr do chloinn an leabhar aca a leasachadh ann an co-bhann leis an fhoillsichear Acair. 

Thuirt Alison Lang, Stiùiriche Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean: “Tha neart agus seasmhachd sgrìobhadh agus foillseachadh sa Ghàidhlig thairis air an dà bhliadhna a dh’fhalbh, a dh’aindeoin gach dùbhlan a bha san rathad oirnn, na adhbhar gàirdeachais airson a’ ghnìomhachais, agus tha sinn an dòchas gum faic sinn leabhraichean aig an dearbh ìre de càileachd chruthachail san fharpais am-bliadhna. Tha sinn an comain nam buidhnean a bhios a’ cumail taic rinn agus a tha a’ maoineachadh dhuaisean san farpais seo, agus bidh sinn a’ cur fàilte air thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean ùra agus bho fhoillsichearan nan leabhraichean as fheàrr a tha air nochdadh sa bhliadhna a dh’fhalbh.” 

Is e 30 Giblean 2022 an ceann-latha airson thagraidhean agus gheibhear fios mu riaghailtean na farpaise an seo. Thèid an luchd-buannachaidh ainmeachadh air 15 Sultain 2022.

Notaichean do luchd-deasachaidh: 

’S i Comhairle nan Leabhraichean am prìomh bhuidheann airson taic a chumail ri ùghdaran agus ri foillsichearan Gàidhlig na h-Alba, tro thabhartasan, taic-leasachaidh, agus adhartachadh leughadh agus tlachd ann an litreachas. ’S e carthannas clàraichte a th’ ann an Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, a tha maoinichte le Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail. 

Airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh mun bhrath naidheachd seo, cuiribh fios gu NDL@gaelicbooks.org no 0141 337 6211 

www.gaelicbooks.org 

March 4, 2022

A Scottish cultural treasure: survey reveals huge benefits of Scotland’s book festivals

  • Survey released for World Book Day underlines how Scotland’s book festivals contribute to society, culture and economy
  • Festivals need full-blooded support for post-COVID comeback
  • In Scotland’s Year of Stories, authors including Kathleen Jamie and Damian Barr speak up for book festivals

New research released for World Book Day reveals the immense contribution of the country’s book festivals and the importance of ensuring they can return to full strength after the pandemic.

A survey covering nearly half the country’s 60+ book festivals shows that in 2019 they attracted audiences of almost 780,000 (410,000+ in person), featuring 2,800 authors and invested almost £6.7 million of staff, goods and services (with a wider knock on impact estimated at over £11.3 million).

In 2020 the total audience dropped to 344,000, with 91% being online or digital, as the festivals worked to find new ways to reach audiences, or were forced to cancel.

Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival and Steering Committee member of the SBFN said: “Scotland’s book festivals are a cultural treasure. Their growth has been extraordinary and they are a powerfully positive and much-loved part of our lives.

“During the pandemic many were able to pivot and deliver great events digitally and online – and they achieved a huge amount at a time when people were facing tremendous challenges. But it has been a struggle for the festivals and they have endured a serious battering, not least through the huge loss in revenues.

“It’s clear from our survey that they have an immense impact on Scotland’s culture and society, bringing hundreds of thousands of people of all ages, backgrounds and interests in contact with writers of every imaginable kind – firing imaginations, provoking discussion and strengthening the nation’s love of literature.

“World Book Day is the ideal moment to highlight what they have achieved and the need to rebuild after the pandemic – and this is all the more true given that 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories.

“It is vital that book festivals receive the full-blooded support of public, private and charitable funders, of the Scottish Government, of local authorities and of everyone else who values the role they play, so they not only recover from the pandemic, but further flourish and multiply.”

Jenny Niven, Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, said: “This crucial survey from Scottish Book Festival Network shows just how economically and culturally important book festivals are to communities, authors and audiences across Scotland – and beyond! With more than 60 book festivals taking place in our nation throughout the year, there is an event for everyone. We work closely with SBFN and will continue to support Scotland’s book festivals throughout Scotland’s Year of Stories, which we hope will be a time when festivals can start to rebuild.”

While it is not possible to extrapolate the survey figures to identify the full impact of all Scotland’s book festivals, it is clear that the impacts and benefits from all 60 will be even greater than those from the 27 respondents.

Among the other findings (also see attached sheet of key figures) are that in 2019, the last pre-COVID year:

  • Some 70% delivered events for families and young people – a total of 450 events attracting over 32,000 attendees
  • They ran 280 schools, learning and education events with 29,000 attendees
  • Around 88% provided volunteering opportunities – totalling 3,500 volunteer days, valued at £347,000
  • There were already 100 online or digital events, with audiences of over 390,000
  • An average of 64% of people attending were local, with 33% from other parts of Scotland, 10% from elsewhere in the UK and the rest from overseas.

Authors and poets have also spoken about the importance of book festivals to their careers, to writing and to literary culture.

Kathleen Jamie, Scotland’s fourth Makar and author of Surfacing, Findings and Sightlines, said: “Sometimes you feel the world is going to hell in a handcart, but the growth of book festivals shows that reading and intelligence and debate are alive and well and happening at a local level.”

Damian Barr FRSL, author of Maggie and Meand You Will Be Safe Here as well as presenter of The Big Scottish Book Club: “Each festival has its own character which reflects the area and the stories from and of there. I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad time at a Scottish book fest as author or reader!”

Leela Soma (Twice Born, Bombay Baby and Murder at the Mela) said: “From Bute Noir, to Wigtown Book Festival, Bloody Scotland, Aye Write, to the huge EIBF – Scottish book festivals are making concerted efforts to have more representations from writers of colour from Scotland. I hope this is the start of an evolving change, that will include more diverse voices in book festivals.”

SBFN was set up in 2020, on the request of Creative Scotland, to be a vehicle for providing knowledge sharing, networking, advocacy, collaborative working, as well as guidance on best practice across the spectrum of Scotland’s literary festivals.

-ENDS-

Notes for editors

  • The research was carried out in 2021 by DC Research and is available on request – just email scotbookfestnet@outlook.com.
  • For media information contact Matthew Shelley at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.Org or on 07786 704299.
  • The survey respondents were: A Write Highland Hoolie; Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival and Wee Write Glasgow’s Book Festival for Children and Young People; BIG LIT: The Stewartry Book Festival Birnam Book Festival; Bloody Scotland; Bookends Festival; Bookmark; Borders Book Festival; Boswell Book Festival; Cove and Kilcreggan; Crime & Thrillers Weekend; Cymera: Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing; Edinburgh International Book Festival; Imprint; Islay Book Festival; Nairn Book and Arts Festival; Paisley Book Festival; Pentland Book Festival; Scottish Festival of History; Skye Book Festival; St Duthac Book and Arts Festival; StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival; Tidelines Book Festival; Ullapool Book Festival; Wee Crime Festival; Wigtown Book Festival; Winter Words Literary Festival.

Authors’ quotes:

Damian Barr FRSL, author of Maggie and Me and You Will Be Safe Here as well as presenter of The Big Scottish Book Club: “Scottish Book Festivals range from the intimate, Wigtown, to the epic, Edinburgh and from west, Aye Write, to the northernmost, Shetland! I’m lucky enough to have been to all those and more—Borders is one of my favouriters. Each festival has its own character which reflects the area and the stories from and of there. I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad time at a Scottish book fest as author or reader! Edinburgh has pivoted to digital, which has made it more inclusive and year-round. Bloody Scotland continues to do the best of Crime. Shetland was my first fests after lockdown and the audiences and community were warm and welcoming— it was slickly organised but never impersonal and I got to be in a spectacular place and find out stories of the impact of Boer War, a big part of my novel, on Shetland and the islanders. Fascinating!”

Cal Flyn, author of Thicker Than Water, Islands of Abandonment: “Taking part in literary festivals has been an important element of my development as an author. They’ve allowed me to write many of my readers in person for the first time, and to convince those who have not yet read my work to buy a copy of the book. They’ve given me important experience in public speaking, and in the presentation of my work to large crowds. And, just as crucially, they’ve given me opportunities to meet other Scottish writers. I’ve made friends and contacts at Scottish book festivals which have gone on to be very important to my career. I feel strongly that a strong culture of Scottish book festivals is crucial in the creation and maintenance of a healthy literary ecosystem.”

Dominic Hinde, author of A Utopia Like Any Other: “Book festivals are critical to the vitality and impact of Scottish writers. Given that many writers earn little from direct sales, festivals are a chance to engage with readers, increase profile and generate other forms of revenue. They are also a brilliant opportunity to take literature and ideas to publics around the country, especially in places such as Wigtown, Ullapool and Paisley.

“As an author and journalist I believe book festivals and cultural festivals are absolutely key to Scotland’s cultural and intellectual life, and we should view them as a fundamental investment in civic infrastructure.”

Kirstin Innes, author of Fishnet and Scabby Queen: “From getting the occasional slot as a new writer at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after having my first short stories published in anthologies, to being asked to guest programme a strand on Rebel Women (interviewing Janice Galloway, Jenni Fagan, Emma Jane Unsworth, Chitra Ramaswamy and Emily Morris) for the inaugural Paisley Book Festival, Scotland’s book festival sector has had a huge and profound impact on my career as a writer. I’ve found myself chairing Douglas Stuart right after his landmark Booker win, hosting Elif Shafak and Emily St John Mandel in a daring hybrid online/live cabaret for EIBF’s opening night, forging long friendships with fellow writers after a late night in the Ceilidh Place after Ullapool Book Festival, getting into wordy arguments on book-lined staircases in Wigtown… and above all, meeting readers! Connecting with audiences in Gatehouse of Fleet and Renfrewshire and Nairn and Aberdeen and Cove; making those totally vital connections; being reinvigorated discovering that reading and writing and the love of it is very much alive in Scotland.”

Kathleen Jamie FRSL FRSE, Scotland’s fourth Makar and author of Surfacing, Findings and Sightlines: “The flourishing of book festivals in recent decades has been extraordinary. It seems now that any town which does not have a book festival feels a bit deprived. How has this happened? Through the energy and vision of readers and enthusiasts and folk with good organisational skills. Thank god for them.

“Like many writers I spend a lot of time either in my garret or at the kitchen table. But an invitation to a book festival means that I can travel where the books travel, I can go to where they find their readers. The sparky, one-hour slot means I can glimpse them – actual people! Readers of my work! They’re the ones who matter. I need to speak clearly, respond to questions and wear a dress. I also love the green-room conversations with other writers and the post-event drinks. Sometimes you feel the world is going to hell in a handcart, but the growth of book festivals shows that reading and intelligence and debate are alive and well and happening at a local level. And now we’re exploring the ‘hybrid’ model, another revolution. As a writer and a reader I can’t think of anything I don’t like about book festivals.”

Stuart MacBride, author of the Logan McRae crime novels: “The best thing about attending a book festival is the chance to interact with readers, make new friends, catch up with old ones, and do it in a much more meaningful way than can ever be achieved through 278 characters and a couple of emojis. There are people who’ve been coming to my events, at various Scottish book festivals, year after year and we’ve grown into an extended family. That has immense value to me – certainly far beyond selling a few more books. These festivals are where we come together as a community: readers, writers, publishers, aspiring authors… Scottish Book Festivals are where we find our people.”

Val McDermid FRSL, author of 1979 and Forensics: “Writers spend most of their working lives alone with a screen. The great joy of festivals is the positive interaction with readers, with other writers and with industry professionals. That’s good for us, but there’s an unexpected benefit too. Those random conversations often make spontaneous and serendipitous connections inside our creative brains and lead us to new projects and ideas. So work emerges that otherwise might never have been made.”

Hollie McNish, author of Nobody Told Me, Slug: “I’ve performed at many book festivals in Scotland from the Borders Festival to Ullapool Book Festival to Paisley Book Festival to the larger cities festivals. Being invited and brought to these has been a huge boost for my career – not only in the new audiences it has brought me as a writer and performer (as book festivals often bring in audiences who support the festival as a whole and will try out new writers they don’t necessarily know of already) but also in the new opportunities it has created for me due to being seen by other Scottish organisation: from Neu! Reekie! and The Scottish Poetry to Universities and schools in Scotland, to those who put on events in venues such as Oran Mor, Queen’s Hall and The Lemon Tree, where I’ve now done several touring gigs. These festivals have been an honour to read at and a real aide to my career.”

About the Scottish Book Festivals Network

  • The Scottish Book Festivals Network (SBFN) was convened at the end of 2020 by Wigtown Festival Company on the request of Creative Scotland to be a vehicle for providing knowledge sharing, networking, advocacy, collaborative working, as well as guidance on best practice across the spectrum of Scotland’s literary festivals.
  • The network is intended to be a forum for festivals across Scotland, which represent huge variety in terms of scale, format, and outlook.
  • SFBN now has 46 members include large and small festivals, urban and rural festivals, island festivals and multi-artform festivals.
  • For further information contact SBFN Co-Ordinator Keira Brown at scotbookfestnet@outlook.com.
  • @scotbookfests

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.

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2022

Tenders invited for Freelancer Impact Study

Literature Alliance Scotland invites tender submissions for an impact study and report that will demonstrate the contribution of freelancers to the literature, languages and publishing sector in Scotland in terms of their economic and social value.

The study will aim to bridge a gap in knowledge by gathering qualitative and quantitative data on creative freelancers, including disabled freelancers, working in the literary sector in Scotland. It will then be used to share the best practice recommendations on how sector organisations can do more to support freelancers and provide more accessible and inclusive opportunities.

As part of our advocacy work, the findings will be shared widely and actively promoted to LAS members, sector organisations and industry stakeholders, including policy makers and universities as well as other arts organisations, arts researchers and advocates seeking comparative studies, to funders and the general and arts  media.

The deadline for tenders is 12 noon on Monday 28 February 2022. The final report will be required by Fri 1 July 2022.

About LAS

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of Scotland’s literature and languages at home and abroad. We are Scotland’s largest literary network with more than 30 members: Members and Network Associates.

The Role
As a research consultant you will:

  • Liaise with the dedicated LAS subcommittee and the Project and Communications Manager to develop the study’s content and direction, including scope and methodology
  • Design, share and evaluate an online survey sent to LAS members, freelance networks and related organisations
  • Work remotely to conduct research and interviews as required
  • Analyse data gathered to assess impact
  • Draw conclusions in response to the findings
  • Create a final written report including best practice recommendations

What we’re looking for:

  • A demonstrable track record in research and report writing preferably within an arts sector context
  • The ability to analyse and interpret different types of information and convert them into a coherent, concise and easily accessible report for the general reader.
  • The ability to consult and liaise with key stakeholders
  • Ideally, experience of working with a similar network and your own industry and freelance connections/contacts
  • Knowledge of the Scottish literature, languages and publishing sector or the culture sector in Scotland
  • The ability to work efficiently and deliver the final report in a timely manner. 

Budget

The budget available for research and writing, including VAT and any expenses, is £6,000.

Timescale

The final report should be submitted by Friday 1 July 2022 with a view to publishing the report by end July 2022.

Tender Submissions

Tenders should be submitted by email to admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk by 12 noon on Monday 28 February 2022. The proposal – of no more than three sides of A4 – should include:

  • How you will deliver the project
  • A timeline with a breakdown of tasks for delivery
  • PLUS a copy of your CV and any other parties involved in delivering the project. Each CV should be a maximum of 2 A4 pages.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to present their full brief at a Zoom meeting on Friday 18 March 2022. Prior to submission, interested parties can contact Jenny Kumar, Projects and Communications Manager at LAS with questions about the project, evaluation or tender process.

Download the full details here.
January 31, 2022

New Kavya Prize seeks to celebrate Scotland’s BIPOC writers

A new Scottish literary prize has been launched today (Mon 10 Jan 2022) aimed at celebrating published work and new writing by Scotland’s ethnically diverse communities.

The Kavya Prize, in association with the University of Glasgow, seeks to encourage Scottish black, indigenous, and people of colour writers – either living in Scotland or abroad.

The inaugural prize for full-length published works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or short story collections will be awarded in May 2022 and is worth £1000.

Kavya is a popular and well recognised word in Sanskrit and refers to a literary style or a completed body of literature that was used in Indian courts of the Maharajahs who nurtured the cultural arts in India.

The prize is the brainchild of Indian-born Scottish author Leela Soma, who said: “The Kavya Prize in Scotland seeks to encourage diverse voices and shift the gaze of the literary scene from decades of the ‘norm’ to become more inclusive. The need for recognising diverse voices in a multicultural Scotland is long overdue.

“To reflect our rainbow nation in our books will encourage the young ‘new Scots’ to access, participate and contribute to mainstream Scottish literature. Starting this Prize in the Year of Stories Scotland 2022 is an important milestone for writers of colour.”

Dr Zoe Strachan, a Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, said: “Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow strives to encourage a community of writers and readers that reaches far beyond our cohort and alumni.

“We are honoured that Leela approached us about the Kavya Prize, and hope that it will become an important and treasured part of the Scottish literary scene as well as an aspiration for our talented students and graduates.

“We look forward to developing more opportunities for new writers in association with the enthusiastic supporters of the prize – and, of course, to seeing who will be on the shortlist in 2022!”

The judging panel for the Kavya Prize will be:

  • Professor Bashabi Fraser, CBE, Scottish-Indian  poet, children’s writer, critic and academic
  • Tawona Sithole, a Zimbabwean-born writer, poet, musician and performer who now lives in Scotland and is an Artist in Residence at the University of Glasgow.
  • Leila Aboulela, a fiction writer of Sudanese origin who now lives in Scotland.

For more information contact Aine Allardyce in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 07976 201938 or email aine.allardyce@glasgow.ac.uk or media@glasgow.ac.uk

Kavya Prize Submissions

Publishers may submit full length novels, works of creative non-fiction and poetry collections first published in the United Kingdom between 1 December 2020 and 31 December 2021.

The prize is open to Black, Indigenous, and People Of Colour (BIPOC) writers who are Scottish writers either resident or non-resident in Scotland which includes Scots by birth, upbringing or inclination.

Submissions can be made to the Kavya Prize to Danielle Schwertner, the Prize’s administrator on danielle.schwertner@glasgow.ac.uk

About Leela Soma

Leela Soma is a Scottish-based writer who was born in India, and now lives in Glasgow. She writes novels, poetry and short stories which have been published in several anthologies and publications. Learn more about Leela Soma.

About Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing postgraduate taught, and research-led writing courses are among the most challenging and popular in Britain. They have helped launch the career of a number of successful writers. Learn more about  Creative Writing at UofG.

Reproduced from the original press release from University of Glasgow (contact details above).

 

January 10, 2022

Publishing Scotland announces year-round YS2022 programme – ‘Shaping Scotland’s Stories’

Publishing Scotland, the trade and network body for the book publishing sector, is delighted to unveil a look at their 2022 annual programme, tying in with VisitScotland’s ‘Year of Stories’ national campaign, in an expansive twelve month run of events, online content, and more in celebration of the country’s publishing landscape.

VisitScotland, the country’s national tourist board, runs themed years to celebrate the very best of Scotland and its people. The Year of Stories looks to spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written or created in Scotland, encouraging locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events, and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

As the Year of Stories naturally offers significant spotlight and opportunity for books and authors, Publishing Scotland’s complementary programme, which is subtitled ‘Shaping Scotland’s Stories’, will build upon its annual offerings for the trade to pursue new and innovative ways to showcase publishers and the work they do in bringing these stories to life to the wider public, alongside spotlighting the breadth of talent in Scotland’s literature sector.

Strands will include partnering with book festivals across the country in sponsored events, many of which will offer a ‘behind the scenes’ element of publishing, such as pairing editors and authors to discuss their process. Events include Paisley Book Festival featuring Mick Kitson and Anne Pia and their respective editors, Aberdeen’s crime festival Granite Noir with Leela Soma and Ewan Gault, StAnza poetry festival, and many more to be announced in due course.

Publishing Scotland’s annual film – the last two of which have focused on nature publishing and crime writing respectively – will turn its focus to the history and talent of Scotland’s children’s publishing sector. Alongside a brand new website for the organisation, launching in the new year, Publishing Scotland will host year-round Year of Stories digital content, from curated lists and features across a range of themes, to further showcase the stellar literary talent connected to Scotland’s shores, with particular focus on the publishers.

On top of these dedicated projects, the organisation’s annual offerings will be shaped to complement the Year of Stories national campaign, with thousands of trade catalogues showcasing member publishers and books that fit within the key Visit Scotland themes – iconic stories and storytellers, new stories, Scottish people and places, local tales and legends, and inspired by nature – being available in bookshops, libraries and visitor centres across the country – complete with a newly commissioned poem from Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery, ‘The Gaithering’ – and new editorial strands in Books from Scotland’s monthly issues, celebrating the latest releases.

The year-long project is being coordinated by Heather McDaid alongside the Publishing Scotland team. For those looking to pitch Scottish books or authors for feature content or events, you can contact Heather at heather.mcdaid@publishingscotland.org.

-ENDS- 

QUOTES

Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive, Publishing Scotland: “Publishing is where stories meet the world.  We welcome very warmly the arrival of Year of Stories 2022 as a wonderful opportunity to spotlight the work of writers and publishers in Scotland. Publishing in Scotland began over 500 years ago – the contribution it has made to getting stories out to the wider world still continues to this day with member publishers, agents and booksellers across the entire country. The work of selecting, commissioning, developing, shaping, producing, marketing, and selling, all plays a huge part in helping stories reach their audience.” 

Heather McDaid, Events and Programme Support Officer, Publishing Scotland: “VisitScotland’s campaign is a great opportunity for the Scottish book world to celebrate under one umbrella – a chance for us to further spotlight the work that goes into making books, showcasing not only many brilliant authors, but the teams and processes behind the scenes, working hard to bring stories to life. Across the year, Publishing Scotland will be celebrating Scottish stories in their many forms, and further showcasing the vibrant talent of Scotland’s publishing and literary sector.” 

LINKS

Twitter: @PublishScotland, @ScottishBooks, @VisitScotland, #YS2022
Visit Scotland’s Themed Years: https://www.visitscotland.org/events/funding/themed-year-funding
Publishing Scotland: https://publishingscotland.org
Publishing Scotland annual films:
– Second Nature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8YsMC-HqAc
– Dark Travellers: The Rise of Scottish Crime Writing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q2WZrr4J1o

Reproduced from Publishing Scotland press release. 

December 14, 2021

Year of Stories 2022 events revealed

VisitScotland has unveiled their new Themed Year for 2022, Scotland’s Year of Stories with a nationwide programme of more than 60 events, presented by a range of partners from national organisations to community groups.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 embodies the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. As the year progresses, they will continue to add events throughout 2022.

Book festivals, musical journeys, favourite cartoon characters and fresh takes on our culture and heritage, will form part of a dazzling programme of events to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

The programme was launched by VisitScotland senior figures and Scotland’s Makar Kathleen Jamie, along with a new promotional video (below) featuring the voice of Game of Thrones star James Cosmo. The Clydebank-born actor, known for his role in the fantasy epic as well as numerous Scottish film and TV shows, lends his distinctive timbre to inspire visitors and locals to explore Scotland and celebrate the Year of Stories.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will begin on 1 January 2022 and run until 31 December 2022. Join the conversation online using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.

Read on to find out more about what the Year of Stories has in store:

The story begins across January-March with:
  • Glasgow’s Celtic Connections presenting ‘Whisper the Song’, a series of five newly commissioned events celebrating Scotland’s rich tradition of stories, interwoven with music, song and film.
  • Once Upon a Time in South Ayrshire, beginning with a celebration of Burns then featuring a varied programme of events, exhibitions and experiences that will run across the year.
  • Spectra – Scotland’s Festival of Light, returns to Aberdeen in February, celebrating the humour, seriousness and sheer gallus of Scotland’s storytellers, including ‘Writ Large’, which will beam the country’s finest contemporary storytellers’ prose and poetry in large scale projections and neon.
Turning the page into spring 2022 (March-April) events:
  • StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival presents Stories like starting points, exploring the role of stories in poetry and introducing a brand-new Young Makars poetry initiative.
  • Stornoway’s An Lanntair presents Seanchas, a series of events, films and special commissions celebrating tales from the Hebrides both real and imagined, modern and ancient.
Summer (May-September) provides plenty to write home about:
  • Borders Book Festival returns to Melrose with a special programme celebrating and exploring tales with themes from Walter Scott, to the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
  • The Wire Women project taking place as part of Perth and Kinross’ Year of Stories with community groups, creatives and cultural organisations sharing the stories of women, all connected through objects in the collections of the new City Hall Museum
  • Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Edinburgh International Film Festival will bring Scotland’s Stories On Screen to iconic and exciting places and spaces.
  • The Dundee Summer (Bash) Street Festival will hail Dundee as the home of comics, celebrating its characters, stories, history and upcoming talent. The city will be declared as BEANOTOWN, with a pop-up comic museum, workshops, talks, film screenings, street fun and world record attempts.
  • The world-renowned Edinburgh International Book Festival presents Scotland’s Stories Now – proving everyone has a story to tell with tales gathered from across the country and then shared at the flagship event.
  • In Skye, SEALL and Gaelic singer Anne Martin lead An Tinne, a collection of songs, stories and objects from across the centuries exploring the deep and fascinating connection between Scotland and Australia.
  • Moray Speyside’s Findhorn Bay Festival will offer a journey of exploration and discovery, celebrating the area’s heritage, landscape and people.
  • The Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland’s National Book Town will present two new commissions, Into the Nicht, an immersive Dark Skies tour, and Walter in Wonderland, a whirlwind theatrical tour through the history of the nation’s literature.
  • The Northern Stories Festival led by Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness promises a spectacular celebration of the stories of the Far North.
Continuing the story into autumn and winter:
  • Transgressive North bringing us Map of Stories, in partnership with the International Storytelling Festival, ‘film ceilidh’ events celebrating the most iconic voices from Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions will invoke the places and landscapes from which they emerge.
  • Stirling Castle plays host to Tales from the Castle, an after-hours event which opens the gates to extraordinary stories and takes you on a journey through language and time.
  • Scotland’s Stories – Community Campfires, led by Scottish Book Trust will take place across the country, engaging with communities and showcasing people’s tales from their own lives. It will feature Luke Winter’s Story Wagon and culminating at Book Week Scotland in November.

There are also a number of events that will take place across the year, with some touring the country:
  • Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck Botanic Gardens will host Of Scotland’s Soils and Soul – a multi-sensory journey celebrating stories inspired by Scotland’s rich and diverse plant life.
  • The Scottish Storytelling Centre & Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust present Figures of Speech with prominent and emerging figures responding to our iconic stories and imagining them afresh, sparking new dialogues and directions.
  • The RSNO bring us Yoyo and the Little Auk, a new story celebrating our diverse cultures for Early Years Audiences with an animated film and live performances at events and festivals across Scotland.
  • Songs from the Last Page from Chamber Music Scotland will take place at book festivals, libraries, and community spaces and will create new songs from the last lines of our great and favourite fiction: turning endings into beginnings.

The events programme will bring Scotland’s places and spaces to life, sharing stories old and new covering everything from local tales to oral traditions, iconic books, to tales told on the big screen. They will be told by diverse voices and discovered in many different places, showcasing the many sides of Scotland’s distinct culture.

Across the country, from national to community organisations and businesses, people are preparing to tell their tales of Scotland, shining a spotlight on iconic stories and storytellers, tales of our people, places and legends and stories inspired by nature.

For 2022, the Themed Year will include a brand new events programme strand. The Community Stories Fund has been designed to support organisations and community groups to take part in and celebrate the year, spotlighting the unique stories that matter to them. The fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

Around 100 events will be supported through the Community Stories Fund including:
  • Weaving with words: the magic of Highland Storytelling at Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Museum will feature a series of guided storytelling walks around Cromarty from April to October, inspired by the life and works of the 19th century geologist, folklorist and social justice campaigner
  • In March the distinctive story of Easterhouse will be shared in Mining seams and drawing wells: a living archive for Easterhouse, led by Glasgow East Arts Company with local residents
  • A Yarn Worth Spinning led by The Great Tapestry of Scotland will tell the story of the history and culture of textiles in the Scottish Borders from April to June, including an exhibition and fashion show
  • A cross generational project led by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, The Phone Box – East Linton voices shared down the line, will take place in August with a rich soundscape of stories, memories and music.

In addition to the directly funded programme of events, we will work with the widest range of partners to showcase and promote the full gamut of events and activities that celebrate Scotland’s many and diverse Stories across 2022.

From the wider programme of Burns events in January, including National Trust for Scotland’s Burns Big Night In on 22 January, to the 75th Anniversary of our World Festival City to wonderful stories from our National Theatre of Scotland, including Enough of Him, a remarkable story based on the life of one man who changed the course of history, and the ambitious programme coming to Scotland as part of UNBOXED, a UK wide celebration of creativity and innovation. Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will be a year in which stories are shared and created on a huge scale.

 

December 14, 2021

Moniack Mhor opens its doors again to Scottish Literature

Moniack Mhor is has announced its new programme for 2022. The writing centre based near Inverness is opening its doors again to a full residential programme with a selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and crime writing courses and retreats.

Moniack Mhor will welcome a fabulous new programme of writing tutors including MADELEINE BUNTING, Scottish crime greats VAL MCDERMID, ABIR MUKHERJEE and LOUISE WELSH, Booker shortlisted author GRAEME MACRAE BURNET, award-winning poet and new Edinburgh Makar HANNAH LAVERY and poet HOLLY MCNISH, the highly acclaimed non-fiction writer, CAL FLYN, as well as bestselling novelists JAMES ROBERTSON, TIM PEARS, POLLY CLARK, and SARA SHERIDAN, and musician BOO HEWERDINE.

Moniack Mhor is thrilled to be back to providing a place of solace and inspiration. They are delighted to welcome key figures in Scottish literature to their beautiful writing haven in the hills above Loch Ness. Now more than ever, writers are embracing time together in real life. Moniack Mhor will also host an international residency for writers from all over the world in March 2022.

Moniack Mhor Writing Centre

Photo credit: Mirren Rosie

Rachel Humphries, Centre Director of Moniack Mhor, said: “Moniack Mhor has weathered the turbulence of 2021; we ceased residential activity in March 2020 when the country went into lockdown and opened our doors in a scaled-down way from summer of this year. I am thrilled that we are launching our full residential programme for next year. Having writers with us over the last few months has reinforced more than ever that community is one of the vital components for human happiness. Sharing words around the fire nurtures our wellbeing and fuels the creative drive. To have writers back through our doors makes life seem real once again.

 “We are currently working hard to review our writer development programme to see where the gaps truly are. These will be filled by new support schemes including a wider online programme, expanded mentoring opportunities, more international collaboration and courses and retreats with childcare. We are excited to be getting back fully to what we know, welcoming tutors, guests and participating writers with Highland hospitality to a space for creative expression.”

Viccy Adams, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Scottish writers not only produce world-class literature to enthral readers, they’re also well versed at supporting the next generation of talent to shape and share their words. The glorious landscape and welcoming atmosphere of Moniack Mhor provides space and time for new and established writers to explore and hone their craft, with guidance and inspiration from an amazing array of writers at the top of their game. It is a joy to see Moniack Mhor come through the challenges of the past 18 months with a full residential programme, as well as continuing some of the one-to-one and online provision that has opened up their programmes more broadly.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2022 PROGRAMME INCLUDE:

  • Crime Writing: Louise Welsh and Abir Mukherjee show you how to create killer stories by exploring character, plot development and tension-building techniques. With guest Val McDermid.
  • Writing and Walking: Madeleine Bunting and Chris Stewart will lead its first ever writing and walking course, delving into how to use the landscape and local history to inspire new writing.
  • Picture Books: David Melling and Vivian French will look at creating believable characters and strong stories that children will love.
  • From Research to Readership: Polly Clark and Sara Sheridan on how to find and use unique research material to create a transporting work of fiction or narrative non-fiction.
  • Poetry with Michael Pederson and Holly McNish with a guest workshop with Hannah Lavery, new Edinburgh Makar.

The theme of 2022 will be ‘place’ with Moniack Mhor hosting a writing and walking retreat with BBC journalist and novelist Madeleine Bunting and Chris Stewart.

In addition to relaunching its residential programme in full force, Moniack Mhor has weathered the Covid storm and created a whole new online programme including one-to-one mentoring for novelists, poets, playwrights and songwriters.

Moniack Mhor has adapted well to the changing circumstances of the last two years and has taken the decision to launch a six-month programme instead of the full year ahead, so that they can be more responsive to changing needs in the literature sector. This will allow more flexibility in their programming. Highlights of the programme for the second half of the year will include a summer retreat with childcare and a second autumnal writing and walking course.

Course bookings open to the public on Wednesday 8 December. Bookings can be made on the Moniack Mhor website: moniackmhor.org.uk

For the full list of residential courses for January to July 2022 see moniackmhor.org.uk

Notes for editors

Moniack Mhor  is Scotland’s National Writing Centre. Based in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, we run courses in a range of genres tutored by some of the finest authors in the UK and beyond. With workshops and one-to-one tutorials, our courses provide an atmosphere to fully immerse yourself in your writing. The centre also offers writing retreats providing time and space, free from distractions, where you will find yourself part of a nurturing writing community. Other support offered by Moniack Mhor includes awards, bursaries, mentoring, professional residencies to develop works in progress and a programme for young writers. moniackmhor.org.uk

Creative Scotland  is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at www.ourcreativevoice.scot

“The perfect environment for aspiring writers to dig down and find what it is they really want to say. It’s an enormously stimulating place to be” ~ Val McDermid

Moniack Mhor is such a vital force for Scottish and international literary creativity.” ~ Kevin MacNeil

Press contact

For further enquiries and interview requests please contact Claire Daly by emailing  claire@moniackmhor.org.uk or call the centre on 01463 741 675.

 

December 8, 2021

Want to make connections? Sign up to Here’s a Haun!

Here’s a Haun is a pilot project that randomly pairs people working in the literature, languages and publishing sector to give them a helping hand in making connections and informally learning from one another, thereby building resilience and boosting health and wellbeing.

THIS OPPORTUNITY IS NOW CLOSED.

The randomised pairing aims to recreate the serendipitous connections we make by bumping into people in line for a cuppa at in-person events. It also avoids any notions of gatekeeping as there is no matching process.

This second phase of the pilot is open to literary freelancers and/or writers and people working at all levels in the literature, languages and publishing sector in Scotland, including LAS members.

If you’re a salaried employee, this is a voluntary opportunity.

If you’re a literary freelancer and/or a writer, it’s a paid opportunity at £10 per session (for up to three) and we have 34 paid places available.

Participants will be randomly paired to connect informally via Zoom (or another video call platform) or on the phone, for up to three sessions of 50 minutes each from mid Dec 2021 to end of Feb 2022.

How to apply

 If you’re interested in taking part, please apply using this Google Form before midnight on Mon 13 Dec 2021.

This opportunity is now closed

If for any reason you’re unable to complete the Google Form, please email Jenny on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

The form includes questions on what you want to get out of the experience, as well as what you’ve been reading, watching and listening to.

If you’re randomly paired to take part in the pilot, these four responses will be shared with your paired participant as a helpful conversation prompt for your first meeting.

How it works

Google Forms automatically populates the information from your application form into a spreadsheet. Then we’ll draw lots like a raffle by writing each row number on a piece of paper, folding it up and putting them all in a bowl before drawing two at a time to pair participants.

We’ll notify each paired participant by emailing them an information sheet to share contact details and the responses to the four questions in the Google Form. Then it’s over to each pair to schedule their meetings dates (up to three) within the timeframe.

To get the most out of the project, we recommend that you chat for 50mins. This will give you each, separately, five minutes before you start to consider what you’d like to talk about and five minutes at the end to reflect on what was discussed.

We’d encourage you to make notes during this reflection time to help you complete a short feedback form, which we’ll send towards the end of Feb. The LAS Zoom account can be available for your meetings.

Please be mindful that:

  • The informal sessions are about having a conversation and creating a meaningful human connection by listening to and sharing your personal and/or professional experiences (as you see fit) in a respectful, honest and non-judgemental space
  • This is NOT a mentoring or a coaching programme, the meetings are not to fix people’s problems, nor are they an opportunity for writers to get editorial feedback
  • The pairings are randomised so there is no matching involved, therefore you may already know the person you’re paired with.
  • We suggest meeting up to three times over the timeframe, but it’s flexible if you end up meeting once or twice.
  • Meetings are confidential. If they’re held on Zoom or another video call platform, they should not be recorded
  • Once meetings are scheduled they must be kept, except in an emergency. Please respect each other’s time.
  • Some topics may not be open for discussion. We suggest you agree to use the word ‘veto’ as a safe word for any topics you’re not comfortable discussing. If your paired participant says ‘veto’ at any point during the conversation, you should immediately change the subject.
  • If you live close by to your paired participant and want to meet in-person (and if it is safe and in line with government guidance to do so) each participant is responsible for buying their own food and drink. We can, however, help with travel and other costs. See the Access Fund section below.
  • You can contact Jenny Kumar at any point if you feel that the pairing isn’t working, or that work/life commitments no longer allow them to continue. Please email Jenny on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

 

Access Fund

We want to make this project as accessible as possible. To help ensure that writers and freelancers can take part in the project, we will fund up to three meetings at a rate of £10 per meeting. You’re eligible for this if the majority of your income comes from freelance work or writing.

Our Access Fund is open to all participants, and we can help you set up Zoom auto captions. Please add any accessibility requirements (for example captions, BSL interpretation, childcare and other caring or respite costs, and local travel costs) in the application form and Jenny will be in touch.

 

 

 

November 29, 2021

Scotland’s National Book Awards 2021 Winners

Scotland’s National Book Awards 2021 from Saltire Society were held on Saturday 27 November 2021 solely on Zoom after Storm Arwen impacted travel plans for many attendees to the small live event to be held at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.

Ely Percy’s ‘Duck Feet’ (Monstrous Regiment) was awarded the Scottish Book of the Year 2021 and Scottish Book of the Year 2021. The Lifetime Achievement award went to Scottish poet, editor and critic Douglas Dunn.

The Emerging Publisher of the Year was jointly awarded to Jamie Norman (Canongate) and Ceris Jones (Sandstone) while the Publisher of the Year was Canongate with a special Highly Commended for Charco Press.

Congratulations to all the winners and to the shortlistees of these prestigious awards.

You can (re)watch the #SNBA2021 Awards Ceremony on YouTube here

 

 

November 29, 2021

Inklusion Guide Meets Target Budget

A project to develop a guide to make literature events accessible for disabled people has  reached its target budget of £18,574 to carry out the research and development phase, after receiving support from Penguin Random House, Hachette, Fane, the National Centre for Writing, Literature Alliance Scotland, Publishing Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, Write Mentor and Edinburgh City of Literature, following an initial contribution of £4000 from the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The Inklusion guide was conceived by disabled writers, Julie Farrell and Ever Dundas after they became frustrated by the litany of excuses about why literature events couldn’t be made accessible. They want to create an easy-to-use, best-practice guide for event organisers and individuals, to ensure consistent and reliable access in the industry.

The project also has the backing of authors Val McDermid, Kit de Waal, Frances Ryan and Helen Sedgwick amongst other prominent authors.

Covering accessibility for both invited speakers and audience members, the Inklusion guide will outline best-practice access for book launches, festival events, conferences, panels, workshops, fellowships, to residencies. It will include information on running in-person, online, and hybrid events.  The guide will be available free as an accessible PDF, as a web page on the Inklusion site, and a printed booklet which will be distributed to organisations across the UK.

Julie and Ever hope the guide will take the onus and emotional labour off disabled individuals to educate events providers and publishers. The pair are now embarking upon a 5-month research and development phase where they will collaborate with university researchers in the industry, interview disabled authors about their experiences, and discuss challenges faced by events organisers in order to inform the guide.

Commenting on the funding and appeal, Julie Farrell said:

“This funding allows us to create the content for this much-needed resource which the industry has really got behind and we can’t wait to get started on bringing the Inklusion guide to life. The support from the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Penguin Random House, Hachette and others has been incredible, as has the ongoing support we’ve had from world-famous authors like Val McDermid, Kit de Waal, Frances Ryan and Helen Sedgwick.”

“The pandemic has seen a rapid increase in access and inclusion in the arts all over the world, and for the first-time disabled people are feeling included where they didn’t before.  For so long we were told access was ‘too complicated’ or that organisers didn’t have resources, or it was ‘logistically challenging’. The pandemic has proven this is not the case — and we’re not going back to our old ways.”

Also commenting, Ever Dundas said:

“I’m thrilled we’ve reached our funding goal. It’s been a real joy seeing the amount of support for the work we’re doing, and we’re both excited about getting started on the research phase. 1 in 4 of us is disabled, and it’s time we were included.  We want to make access in the literature sector consistent, transparent and reliable. And fun! In all our hours consulting with organisations in the sector, the most common response to accessibility was fear of the unknown. We’re here to demystify access provision and instil confidence in every event provider.”

The pair hope to launch the guide at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2022.  Anyone interested in helping fund the second phase of the project can do so by emailing hello@inklusionguide.org

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

For more information, contact Julie Farrell on 07921 673 275 or email hello@inklusionguide.org

Reproduced with permission.

November 25, 2021

Creative Scotland launches new initiative, Our Creative Voice

Creative Scotland, in collaboration with people and organisations from across the culture sector in Scotland, and with the support of Scottish Government, today launches a new initiative aimed at promoting the value that art and creativity contributes to all our lives.

With a dedicated website at its centre, Our Creative Voice is a new platform for demonstrating the tangible benefits that art and creativity contribute to our lives.

Our Creative Voice presents a range of case studies that evidence the impact that participation in arts and creativity has, supported by compelling data and researchOur Creative Voice also provides the tools for others to help make the case for culture, and the ambition is to grow and expand this initiative over the coming months and years.

For launch, a series of animations have been created by BAFTA winning animator Will Anderson for Our Creative voice, featuring the voices of people from across Scotland highlighting the difference creativity makes to their lives.

Among the extensive data available through Our Creative Voice, independent research tells us that:

  • the Creative Industries contribute £4.6bn to the Scottish economy each year, supporting 90,000 jobs – Latest Scottish Government Creative Industries Growth Sector Statistics, 2020
  • 63% of the Scottish public agree that arts and culture are an important part of their life – Scottish Opinion Survey 56 Degree Insight, December 2020
  • 84% believe it is right that there should be public funding of arts and cultural activities in Scotland – Scottish Opinion Survey 56 Degree Insight, December 2020
  • The most commonly reported benefits of taking part in creative activities are helping us to relax and making us feel good – 68% and 65% respectively - Scottish Opinion Survey 56 Degree Insight, December 2020
  • 93% of the Scottish population believes that creative activity is essential for children and young people’s learning and well-being - Scottish Opinion Survey 56 Degree Insight, December 2020

Speaking of the new approach, Iain MunroChief Executive Creative Scotland said:

“The evidence is overwhelming – art and creativity make an enormous difference to society in Scotland, making a vital contribution to our health and wellbeing, our communities, our education, our economy, and our environment.

“We want to tell that story as widely as possible to inform, influence and inspire people from all parts of society about the value of culture, support it and, ultimately, participate in any way they can.

“That’s what Our Creative Voice is about, and I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to find out more and to help us grow and develop this initiative by using the tools and assets and contributing their own case studies, evidence and stories.”

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

“I welcome this new, positive and proactive initiative from Creative Scotland and partners in Scotland’s culture sector.

“A key part of Scottish Government’s Culture Strategy is to empower people and communities through culture, and this initiative will make an important contribution to that, championing the benefits that culture delivers to us all and encouraging broader participation.

“I look forward to seeing Our Creative Voice develop and grow ever louder over the coming months.”

Jennifer Hunter, Director of Culture Counts said:

“I’ve been supportive of an initiative like this for a long time, so it’s great to see Our Creative Voice come to life.

“The campaign will be a powerful central voice in our collective work to raise awareness of the value of cultural participation and it’s also a great resource of stories and evidence for us all to tap into, complementing the work we all do in our specific art-forms. I will actively support its growth and development.”

-Ends-

Background

Access quotes from creative voices across the arts in Scotland on the importance of creativity.

Get the Facts from published research covering diverse sectors, such as health, tourism, education, social care and the economy, demonstrating the significant contribution that creativity makes to all our lives.

Read stories from people across Scotland sharing the life changing impact of art and creativity, on our health, economy, education, communities and more.

Spread the word and get involved by downloading the Our Creative Voice toolkit which contains all the info and assets you need to be a part of the campaign to build awareness of the value of art and creativity.

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 distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.  Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Media Contacts: You can find contact details of the Creative Scotland media team here.

September 8, 2021

Forward: Scotland’s Public Library Strategy 2021-2025

Scotland’s latest public library strategy has been published.

Forward builds on strong foundations & the collective desire for a vibrant, sustainable future for our public library network.

Delivered by the Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC), this brilliant new public library strategy clearly marks the direction of travel for Scotland’s public libraries.

It is the result of a comprehensive research and consultation process, global in reach yet firmly focused on the needs of individuals and communities in Scotland.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this strategy embraces the collective desire to not simply return to normal but to do things differently, more efficiently, and more sustainably. Informed and shaped by key national policies and priorities, it places libraries at the heart of recovery.

Three key themes underpin the vision for public libraries in Scotland from 2021-2025: people, place and partnership.

Download Forward: Scotland’s Public Library Strategy 2021-2025.

August 31, 2021

Kathleen Jamie appointed as Scotland’s new Makar

Huge congratulations to poet and essayist Kathleen Jamie who has been appointed as Scotland’s next Makar.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon formally welcomed her to the role at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

The role of Makar involves taking a leadership role in promoting poetry nationally, as well as producing work relating to significant national events.

Ms Jamie was appointed by the First Minister for a three-year term on the recommendation of an expert panel representing Scotland’s literary sector.

She is the fourth person to hold the role since it was established by the Scottish Parliament in 2004, following in the footsteps of Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, and Edwin Morgan.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am delighted to confirm Kathleen Jamie as our national poet.

“Poetry is integral to Scotland’s culture and history. The Makar has a central role in celebrating that legacy, and preserving its future by encouraging the next generation of young writers to leave their mark.

“Kathleen is a highly accomplished poet who is known for her works in English and Scots, and the meaningful connections her writing draws between our lives and the landscape around us. I have no doubt she will continue to build on the exceptional work of her predecessors to promote Scottish poetry both here and abroad.”

Kathleen Jamie said: I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Scotland’s new Makar. The post confirms a weel-kent truth: that poetry abides at the heart of Scottish culture, in all our languages, old and new. It’s mysterious, undefinable and bold. It runs deep and sparkles at once.

“Liz Lochhead, Jackie Kay and the late Edwin Morgan have held this post before me, a trio of major poets. If I can achieve half of their outreach, humour and wisdom, not to mention their wonderful verse, I’ll be doing well. I am grateful to the selection panel for such a vote of confidence in my work, and to the First Minister for her endorsement and support.

“My task as I see it is to meet folk, to support and encourage poetry, to laugh and lament and witness, and occasionally speak to our national life. I’m excited to begin.”

Asif Khan, Director at Scottish Poetry Library said: “Kathleen Jamie is a generational talent – an exceptional Scottish writer of any era. Jamie’s poetry and prose sits with the best writing in English anywhere in the world. The poetry library looks forward to supporting the new Makar’s programme of engagement at a time when poetry is treasured as an art form that can heal and unite communities, as well as inspire our young people, including New Scots, to see the world differently and reflect on their role in it.”

Alan Bett, Head of Literature & Publishing at Creative Scotland said: “Kathleen Jamie is an excellent choice for The Makar, Scotland’s national poet. The quality of her work speaks for itself, and that work can and will speak to so many people across Scotland and beyond. The work can also speak to and challenge the current environmental context, with a strong focus on place and nature. I would like to offer my warm congratulations to Kathleen on this announcement and look forward to the creative projects that will connect her poetry with the nation.”

Background

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s selection process involved an Expert Panel being commissioned by the Scottish Government to agree a shortlist for this year’s selection and put a single nomination forward to the First Minister for endorsement.

At the panel’s recommendation, the appointment was made for a three-year term rather than the previous five-year term as it has been for the past two appointments due to the demands the role places on the Makar’s time and other work, and to help encourage greater diversity, variety and interest in the role going forward.

This appointment process will be reviewed to ensure that it remains fit for the future.

The Expert Panel comprised the following members:

  • David Seers, Head of Sponsorship & Funding Team, Culture & Historic Environment Division, Scottish Government, (Chair)
  • Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing, Creative Scotland
  • Jackie Cromarty, Associate Director of External Relations, National Library of Scotland
  • Dr David Goldie, President, Association for Scottish Literary Studies
  • Peggy Hughes, Chair, Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Eleanor Livingstone, Former Festival Director, StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival
  • Marjorie Lotfi, Poet, Director of Open Book and Chair of Board of Trustees, Wigtown Book Festival
  • Dr Robyn Marsack, Independent Advisor, Editor, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library 2000-2016
  • Dr Peter Mackay, Lecturer in English, University of St Andrews and poet who writes in Gaelic
  • Michael Pedersen, Poet and Poetry Programmer, Neu Reekie
  • Charlie Roy, Co-Chair, Scottish Poetry Library

Original press release: https://www.gov.scot/news/new-scots-makar/

August 18, 2021

St Duthac Book & Arts Festival to launch September 2021

The first Book and Arts Festival to be held on the Easter Ross Peninsula will take place in and around the Royal Burgh of Tain this September 2021.

The five-day event will have something for everyone, bringing together events for book, art, and heritage lovers, in one neat package, from its launch on 23 September until its close on 27 September.

The Book and Arts Festival proudly takes its name from the Patron Saint of Tain – St Duthac – and shines a light on Scotland’s oldest Royal Burgh, Tain and the surrounding communities to celebrate their unique heritage as well as contemporary artists and authors.

In addition to many published local authors, Scottish broadcaster and writer Sally Magnusson and medieval historian Dr Tom Turpie will be part of the first St Duthac Book & Arts Festival.

The Easter Ross Peninsula with its spectacular beaches, trails and attractions is a haven for explorers. The planned programme of events will take you on a journey across the peninsula, allowing you to immerse yourself in the written and spoken word through author events, workshops, arts and heritage trails and a pop-up book shop with gallery in the centre of Tain.

Check out our website Home | St Duthac Book & Arts Festival Tain Easter Ross Peninsula (stduthacbookfest.com) for programme and ticket information.

ENDS

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact name Coral Allan on corallyworally@gmail.com

 

August 14, 2021

Classic tales and Chinese poetry to be translated in Scots

Ten new books in Scots have been awarded funding by the Scots Language Publication Grant.

Now in its third year, the Scots Language Publication Grant was created by the Scots Language Resource Network to support Scots publishers and to encourage Scots writers. It is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing.

This year’s successful awardees include translations of well-loved stories such as Aesop’s Fables by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson, and Lemony Snicket by Thomas Clark. Brian Holton will also reimagine poetry of Li Bai and Du Fu (two of the most renowned poets of Ancient China) to new audiences.

Applications were assessed by a panel with expertise in Scots and publishing, including a representative of the Scots Language Centre, Scottish Book Trust and Waterstones.

The successful titles are:

  • A Series o Scunnersome Events, Book the First: The Boggin Beginnin (Itchy Coo) by Thomas Clark and illustrated by Brett Helquist
  • A Working Class State of Mind (Leamington Books) by Colin Burnett
  • Berries Fae Banes (Tippermuir) by Jim Macintosh
  • Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds: Li Bai an Du Fu in Scots (Taproot Press) by Brian Holton
  • Laird Graham an the Kelpie (Giglets Education) by Jax McGhee
  • Norlan Lichts (Rymour Books) by Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Lesley Benzie
  • Phantom the Ginger Mog (Wee Stoorie Press) by Kirsty Johnson and illustrated by Mandy Sinclair
  • The Day It Never Got Dark In Dundee (Rymour Books) by Ian Spring
  • The Itchy Coo Book o Aesop’s Fables in Scots (Itchy Coo) by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
  • Wheesht (Foggie Toddle Books) by Susi Briggs and illustrated by William Gorman

The Scots Language Publication Grant provides assistance for publishing new work (including translated texts), reprinting existing historical or culturally significant work, and also effective marketing and promotion of existing and new work.

Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The Scottish Government is pleased to continue to support the Scots Publication Grant for a third year. We have seen how this funding can develop talent while widening accessibility of a variety of genres, with titles both new and old, to the Scots speaking community. My congratulations to those who have been successful this year.”

Rhona Alcorn, CEO of Dictionaries of the Scots Language and Chair of The Scots Language Resource Network, said:

“The Scots Language Publication Grant plays a hugely important role in supporting Scots as a contemporary literary medium. This year’s winning titles illustrate the breadth of creative work in Scots today and truly include something for everyone.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Scottish Book Trust is pleased to offer Scots Publication Grants to these nine new titles. The diversity in genre and subject matter of the successful awardees is fascinating: from children’s stories to poetry; from classic tales we grew up with, to ancient Chinese poetry. Our thanks to the Scottish Government and the Scots Language Resource Network for making this grant possible.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For all press queries, please contact Keara Donnachie, PR & Marketing Manager:
keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com or 07956 773 749

Additional information:

  • A Series o Scunnersome Events, Book the First: The Boggin Beginnin (Itchy Coo) by Thomas Clark and illustrated by Brett Helquist

The Boggin Beginnin (The Bad Beginning) is the first in the hugely successful 13-book Lemony Snicket series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Dickensian parody and cynical tone of the narrator’s voice strike a real chord with many young readers, especially those who suspect ‘books for children’ of patronising them. The books are very dark and very funny, and of course they are already well known in their English editions, which has proved to be an excellent route for encouraging young readers to start reading in Scots.

This high-quality edition with fantastic illustrations by Brett Helquist is a brilliant addition to the Itchy Coo list. With its ironic Dickensian tone, the nature of the story is perfect for translation into Scots, which has a huge vocabulary for the clattie events and scunnersome characters that the book contains.

Itchy Coo said: “We are hugely delighted to be able to publish the amazing The Boggin Beginnin on the Itchy Coo list of translations. The unsettling macabre tone of the novel is a perfect match for a rich Scots vocabulary, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this addition.” 

Thomas Clark said: “I’m fair-trickit – a word which here means “absolutely delighted” – that The Boggin Beginnin is being supported into print by the Scots Publication Grant. The opportunity to make this fantastic book available to young people in their ain leid is a real dream come true.”

 

  • A Working Class State of Mind (Leamington Books) by Colin Burnett

Written entirely in East coast Scots A Working Class State of Mind, the debut book by Colin Burnett, brings the everyday reality and language of life in Scotland to the surface. Colin’s fiction takes themes in the social sciences and animates them in vivid ethnographic portrayals of what it means to be working class in Scotland today.

Delving into the tragic exploits of Aldo as well as his long time suffering best friends Dougie and Craig, the book follows these and other characters as they make their way in a city more divided along class lines than ever before.

Leamington Books said: “Scots and Doric have always been important to us, especially coming from a generation in which both were discouraged. We continue to work with writers of Scots and this is award is a great acknowledgement of that. We also welcome this award as it allows us as a new company to record an audio version of a book that is proving increasingly popular with the public, as well as compete on a more level basis with other publicly funded titles.”

Colin Burnett said: “I cannot thank the panel enough for awarding my debut book A Working Class State of Mind the Scots publication grant. I have developed a keen interest in promoting the Scots language through my work ever since I began writing creatively these past few years. Something that I was inspired to do through reading the works of James Kelman and Irvine Welsh. And through my brother Michael Burnett’s work, who is a Scottish playwright and who writes in Scots.

This is truly an exciting time for me and my publisher Leamington Books.”

 

  • Berries Fae Banes (Tippermuir) by Jim Macintosh

The book is a poetical translation of a book of poetry by Italian poet, scholar and musician Pino Mereu. Pino is the president of the Hamish Henderson folk club di Roma and a contributor to A Hame Wi’ Freedom: Essays on Hamish Henderson and the Scottish Folk Revival (2002). Alongside four volumes of published poetry, Pino has written numerous
articles on folk music. His Anzio Pipe Band (2012) has been translated into English by the poet Tom Hubbard, former librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library.

Tippermuir said: “We are delighted that Scottish Book Trust have once again put their faith in Tippermuir to produce new work in Scots. Berrie Fae Banes is not only new work, it is part of that carrying stream of the cultural contribution of Hamish Henderson.”

Jim Macintosh said: “Fair chuffed tae hae the honour o owersettin Pino’s fine words intae the Scots Leid. Aiblins noo the precious thrums o freendship between Hamish Henderson and Pino will grace the lugs o mair fowk.”

 

  • Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds: Li Bai an Du Fu in Scots (Taproot Press) by Brian Holton

The latest book by the Sarah Maguire Prize winning poet and translator Brian Holton, Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds is a collection of Scots translations of poetry by Li Bai and Du Fu, two of the most renowned poets of Ancient China. By bringing two of the world’s great poets – from the oldest continuous literary tradition in the world – into the library of Scots writing, Brian Holton creates a text as valuable in its own way to the literary tradition as Lorimer’s wonderful New Testament in Scots.

Holton’s skilfully supple verse is composed in a literary Scots inflected by his local Borders dialect, giving rise to a natural phrasing that draws on his intimate knowledge of the Border Ballads. Complemented by a collaboration with Edinburgh-based calligrapher Chi Zhang, these finely wrought translations create a strikingly beautiful book – inclusive of introductory essays on the poets, notes on the texts, and a reflective postscript.

Taproot Press said: “It’s a real privilege to be awarded a Scots Language Publication Grant, which will allow us to create a beautiful book befitting of Brian’s poetry. With extra

calligraphy from the exceptional Chi Zhang, we can now make Hard Roads into a real collector’s item worthy of any bookshelf.”

Brian Holton said: “I am delighted that Taproot Press has been awarded a Scots Publication grant. All such support turns public attention to this ancient and beautiful language, which helps give Scots speakers still greater confidence in the active use of the Mither Tongue, in both speech and writing.”

  • Laird Graham an the Kelpie (Giglets Education) by Jax McGhee

This is a new addition to the Giglets library – an online literacy resource used by thousands of teachers and pupils to share texts and activities that pupils love to work on in school or at home. Laird Graham an the Kelpie is a translation of a story based on an old Scottish legend about the cruel and miserly Laird Graham of Morphie and how he caught a kelpie (water horse) from the loch and made it build a castle for him.

Awareness of, and interest in, legends about kelpies has increased since the development of the Kelpies in Falkirk. Within Giglets, Scottish legends are well-liked by teachers and pupils in schools across the UK. Almost 2,000 pupils have access to this story in English at the moment, and the Scots translation will allow many pupils to tackle Scots prose in an accessible way.

 Giglets Education said: “We’re delighted to have received this grant support from Scottish Book Trust which will enable us to publish our ninth book in Scots. We hope that this project can serve as a catalyst for more to follow as we grow and develop our library of texts to support children in Scottish classrooms and beyond. Thank you to Scottish Book Trust for making this opportunity available and we look forward to working with them going forward.”

Jax McGhee said: “I’m thrilled that we have received the Scots Publication Grant from Scottish Book Trust to support the publication of Laird Graham an the Kelpie. It promises to be a colourful and engaging retelling of a Scottish legend. I hope teachers, pupils and parents across Scotland enjoy the story.”

 

  • Norlan Lichts (Rymour Books) by Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Lesley Benzie

A selection of new poems by three of the most prominent writers from the North-east writing in Scots today. All written in North-east Scots or ‘Doric’.

Rymour Books said: “We have championed the traditional Scots of the North-east through neglected authors, folk song and, in this case, active contemporary authors writing in their native Scots, and are delighted to receive this grant.”

Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Lesley Benzie said:

“We are extremely pleased to receive this support which rewards our new work in the Scots of the North-east and hope that our work will encourage others to write in their local tongue.”

 

  • Phantom the Ginger Mog (Wee Stoorie Press) by Kirsty Johnson and illustrated by Mandy Sinclair

A series of rhyming, picture story books for children ages 4 to 7, written in Scots.  Each book will include glossary of Scots words and phrases. The stories are full of fun, based around
season, nature, the supernatural, and are all brought to life by beautiful, vibrant illustrations. We are also producing audio books for this series, incorporating original music composed specifically for each individual book, and aim to create a uniquely Scottish, sound picture, story book.

Wee Stoorie Press said: “To say we are absolutely delighted to receive this grant, is a huge understatement. This grant gives us, Kirsty Johnson and Mandy Sinclair, of Wee Stoorie Pess, the opportunity to offer our work to very important people – bairns.”

 

  • The Day It Never Got Dark In Dundee (Rymour Books) by Ian Spring

The work is a collection of short fictions written entirely in Glaswegian Scots. There is humour, but the author also deals with issues of poverty, violence, sectarianism, etc set in the background of working-class Glasgow over the last 50 years.

Rymour Books said: “We have championed the Scots language and we are delighted to have received a generous grant towards the publication of The Day It Never Got Dark In Dundee, written entirely in Glaswegian Scots.

Ian Spring said: “‘I’m chuffed at receiving a Scots publication grant for my collection of short stories written in Glaswegian. Ya dancer!”

 

  • The Itchy Coo Book o Aesop’s Fables in Scots (Itchy Coo) by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

The Itchy Coo Book of Aesop’s Fables in Scots is a translation of the Orchard edition, published by Hachette in 2004. Presented in a highly durable, quality production, featuring glowing illustrations from Emma Chichester Clark, and translated from Michael Morpurgo’s lively retellings, these classic fables will now be published in Scots for the first time, translated by a select group of well-known Scottish writers.

One of Itchy Coo’s long-term aims is to embed reading in Scots for pleasure into the reading habits of a large section of the population. Itchy Coo’s foundation was based on the premise that there was a great but neglected demand for quality prose and poetry in Scots for young readers. To help meet this demand, we are building a small Scots library of classic children’s literature that can sit comfortably and permanently on any bookshelf, to be read by children themselves or shared with parents, teachers, librarians and others.

Itchy Coo said: “We are incredibly delighted to be able to continue publishing classic children’s literature in Scots. Aesop’s Fables are not only highly entertaining but also provide important life lessons, and we are thrilled that we can now add them to the Itchy Coo list.”

Matthew Fitt and James Robertson said: “Aesop’s fables, ower the centuries translatit fae the original Greek intae hunners o ither leids, belang tae the warld. And noo wi this excitin
new translation, they’ll belang tae oor wunnerfu Scots speakin bairns and weans and awbody wi a love o readin great stories in Scots.”

 

  • Wheesht (Foggie Toddle Books) by Susi Briggs and illustrated by William Gorman

Wheesht is a picture book by Susi Briggs. It’s a story about a dog who loves to sing but who has been sent outside to the garden by his family who don’t always appreciate the noise. They’ve told him to “Haud yer wheesht” but he has no idea what this means and asks other animals if they know. In the end he works it out for himself!

Foggie Toddle Books said: “I am absolutely delighted to be receiving the Scots Publication Grant as it enables my new company, Foggie Toddle Books to work with the wonderful Scots writer and storyteller Susi Briggs and talented illustrator William Gorman.”

Susi Briggs said: “I’m ower the muin tae get an opportunity tae see anither yin o my Scots stories fer weans published. I am looking forrit tae working wi Foggie Toddle Books and seeing the character Shug the Dug come tae life in the talented hands o illustrator Will Gorman. Wheesht was a joy tae scrieve and I’m delichted wi the award.”

The Scots Language Publication Grant is administrated by The Scots Language Resource Network, which meets twice a year to discuss the coordination and publication of new and existing resources (online and in print) that support speakers, readers, writers, teachers, learners and students of Scots. It currently includes representatives from the following organisations:

  • ASLS
  • Creative Scotland
  • Dictionaries of the Scottish Language
  • Education Scotland
  • Glasgow Women’s Library
  • Hands up for Trad
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Literature Alliance Scotland
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Oor Vyce
  • Publishing Scotland
  • Scots Hoose
  • Scots Language Centre
  • Scots Language Society/Scots Leid Associe
  • Scots Radio
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • SQA
  • Ulster Scots Agency
  • University of Glasgow
  • Wigtown Book Festival
August 4, 2021

LAS appoints Jenny Niven as new Chair

The Board of Trustees of Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is delighted to announce the appointment of Jenny Niven as its new Chair.

The appointment was unanimously approved by the LAS Board following an open recruitment process and Ms Niven will begin her three-year term in the role from the beginning of August 2021.

Jenny Niven said: “I am delighted and honoured to be taking up the role of Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland. Scottish literature and languages is full of talent and expertise, both in terms of individual writers, practitioners and producers, but also in the numerous internationally recognised organisations and institutions who all sit round the LAS table. I’m looking forward to working with so many respected friends and colleagues and to playing a role in championing our collective voice, while working to understand the needs of Scotland’s writers and organisations as we rebuild post-Covid.

“We’re in interesting times, to say the least, and we need strong representation for the role of the arts across society and the vital contribution made by writers and professionals in the sector. Literature has always played an exciting role in how we tell our stories and there are lots of possibilities and challenges ahead, from Scotland’s Year of Stories to harnessing digital to showcase and promote Scottish writing in a new era internationally. With LAS’ recent brilliant work in recognising the diversity of writing in Scotland and creating real talent development platforms, there is plenty to do; I feel privileged to be entrusted to get started and to play a part in our collective rebuilding effort at this crucial time.”

Jenny Niven is a highly regarded and well-known figure operating within the literature, languages and publishing sector. As a freelance producer and director, she is the director of Push the Boat Out, a new festival of poetry, spoken word and hip hop, which launches for the first time in Edinburgh in October 2021. She is also Executive Producer at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation and a sought-after chair for literature events, having interviewed a wealth of leading authors worldwide.

From 2014-2019, Jenny was Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, where she provided strategic guidance across the sector, and fostered investment in hundreds of organisations and writers. During her time at Creative Scotland, Jenny led in the creation of the sectoral review of Literature and Publishing in Scotland, the Muriel Spark 100 Centenary celebrations in 2018, and Creative Scotland’s first Scots Language Policy.

In 2016, Jenny led the Edinburgh International Book Festival organisation on secondment as Acting Director over the winter months of 16/17, winning the festival a Herald Angel Award for the ground-breaking ‘Outriders’ program.

Jenny has worked internationally, as Associate Director at the Wheeler Centre for Books Writing and Ideas, Program Manager at the Melbourne Writers Festival and inaugural Director of The Bookworm International Literary Festival, in Beijing, China. She was also on the founding Board of the Stella Prize for Australian Women’s Writing and has judged a range of literary prizes.

Out-going Chair Peggy Hughes has been in the role since May 2017, leading the development of LAS to where it is now recognised as a vital connector between the organisations in the literature, languages and publishing ecosystem.

During her four-year term, Peggy has overseen the creation of a “life changing” career development programme, a series of challenging writer commissions, a new Writers’ Advisory Group and a host of professional development and networking opportunities for members and the wider sector at LAS meetings and events. Not to mention pivoting the programme to online and advocating for the sector throughout the pandemic.

Peggy Hughes, who will stand down as a Trustee at the AGM in the Autumn, said: “Scotland’s ecosystem of literature and languages is a rich, breathing, inspiring place to be, and it’s been my honour and pleasure to chair this network of organisations and practitioners working with and for it. The past 18 months have brought huge challenges and changes to the literature and creative sectors at large, but the Literature Alliance Scotland network has shown that innovation, imagination, resilience and collaboration can help us navigate the stormiest waters.

“Collectively, our priority is to ensure that our brilliant writers and readers, librarians and teachers, play makers and festival builders remain connected, that their work is amplified, that they are able to lean on and learn from each other, and Jenny Niven is a superlative Chair for the times we’re in, and for a network which creates the conditions ‘where the hammer hits the stane an sparks / ur made’ (as William Letford has it in his poem ‘This Is It’). I look forward very much to the next chapter of the story of this brilliant network under her leadership.”

 

 

July 14, 2021

Introducing the Writers’ Advisory Group 2021

We were delighted to receive so many strong applications to our April call-out for five published writers living and working in Scotland who want to advocate for writers on our Writers’ Advisory Group (WAG).

The WAG strengthens the advice to the Board which also comes from our writer members. It aims to develop direct contact with a more diverse and inclusive community and use the knowledge and expertise of all the writers we engage with to help shape our activities in providing what writers need.

The WAG will meet three times, in June, September and November 2021. Along with Projects and Communications Manager Jenny Kumar and LAS Trustee Vikki Reilly, they will discuss their agreed key issues and provide their knowledge and advice to help make sure that writers’ concerns are reflected in LAS activities and advocacy work.

We pay all our writers £175 per two-hour meeting in line with the Live Literature Funding rate and our Access Fund is available to assist with any accessibility requirements.

Meet our Writers’ Advisory Group 2021

AJ Clay is an Edinburgh-based nonbinary author who has been writing fiction and creative nonfiction since 2014. Their work has been published by Scottish Book Trust, Monstrous Regiment, Dangerous Women, and Shoreline Of Infinity Press. Their focus is on marginalised LGBTQ+ and working-class characters and amplifying under-represented voices. They are currently querying an own voices YA urban fantasy set in Edinburgh. In their spare time they engage in LGBTQ+ outreach as part of a global queer drag collective and write reviews of the bad films they watched in lockdown.
Twitter: @uisgebeatha
Instagram: @ajclayauthor
https://about.me/ajclay

 

 

Emily Dodd is an author of picture books and non-fiction science books, a screenwriter for CBeebies and a writer of BBC radio plays for children. She also writes and performs comedy and spoken word for adults. Emily loves being outside, drawing, playing football and wild swimming and travels widely, taking her interactive science events to schools, libraries and festivals. Emily lives on the Isle of Skye, the perfect place for adventures.
Twitter: @auntyemily
Instagram: @auntyemily
Facebook: auntyemily
https://auntyemily.wordpress.com/about/

 

Cal Flyn is an award-winning writer from the Highlands of Scotland. She writes literary nonfiction and long-form journalism. Her first book, Thicker Than Water which explored questions of colonialism and intergenerational guilt, was a Times book of the year. Her acclaimed second book, Islands of Abandonment—about the ecology and psychology of abandoned places—is out now. Cal’s journalistic writing has been published in Granta, The Sunday Times Magazine, Telegraph Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and others. She is a columnist for Prospect, deputy editor of literary recommendations site Five Books, and a regular contributor to The Guardian. Cal was made a MacDowell fellow in 2019.
Twitter: @calflyn
Instagram: @calflyn
calflyn.com

Sonali Misra (she/her) is an Indian author and PhD researcher in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling. Her debut nonfiction, 21 Fantastic Failures, released in 2020 and her short prose has appeared in Scottish, Canadian and Indian anthologies. Most recently, she was a top-10 winner of the National Library of Scotland’s Fresh Ink programme, and her personal essay will be added to the Library’s archives. Sonali is the Co-founder of The Selkie Publications CIC, which publishes underrepresented voices, and Co-chair of the Society of Young Publishers Scotland. She has previously worked in editorial and product roles in Indian publishing at organisations such as Scholastic and Hachette.
Twitter: @MisraSonali
Instagram: @sonali.writes
www.sonalimisra.com

 

Credit: Dave Parry

Heather Parry is a Glasgow-based writer and editor. Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared internationally in numerous magazines and books, and she is currently working on her first novel. She is the editorial director of Extra Teeth, a Scottish literary magazine, co-presents the podcast Teenage Scream and with comics artist Maria Stoian, received Creative Scotland funding to create The Illustrated Freelancer’s Guide, a free resource to assist self-employed creatives in understanding their working rights and protections. She also organises for creative freelancers with the IWW.
Twitter: @heatherparryuk
Instagram: @heatherparryuk

 

Following their first meeting June, the WAG will focus on the following issues:

  1. Increased inclusivity with more opportunities particularly for LGBT+ community, Gaelic learners and writers, the literary community outwith the Central Belt, children’s writers and international residents with fixed-term visas.
  2. Increased accessibility for events (especially digital) and development opportunities for disabled people and those with a chronic illness, neurodiverse people, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
  3. Creative freelancers /Authors’ Rights, particularly payment and income; contracts Code of Conduct – publishers/ orgs; and inequalities within the arts funding frameworks.
  4. Global opportunities afforded by digital events and looking at models of intercommunity support, non-competitiveness and Scottish identity to better promote Scotland’s writing across the UK and internationally.
July 12, 2021

Prìosanachd nan Còisir / The Choirs’ Imprisonment by Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones

Tha sinn air ar dòigh a bhith a’ foillseachadh ar ciad Òraid Litreachais de 2021 – dàn dealasach le Sandaidh NicDhòmhnaill Jones, Bàrd a’ Chomuinn Ghàidhealaich, a tha cliùiteach mar bhàrd, seinneadair, co-ghleusaiche, clarsair agus cànanaiche, mu bhacaidhean air luchd-ealain tron ghlasadh-sluaigh.

Leugh Prìosanachd nan Còisir / The Choirs’ Imprisonment

Faodaidh tu cuideachd èisteachd ri Sandaidh a’ leughadh an dàin aice sa Ghàidhlig agus an uair sin sa Bheurla air SoundCloud. Gheibhear seo fo na pìosan sgrìobhte air ar làraich-lìn aig a’ cheangal gu h-àrd.

Gabh pàirt sa chòmhradh air Twitter a’ cleachdadh #LiteratureTalks2021

Bidh LAS a’ coimiseanadh Literature Talks 2021 – sreath de pìosan sgrìobhaidh leis na prìomh sgrìobhadairean agus luchd-litreachais ann an Alba, ag iarraidh orra còmhradh a thòiseachadh gus atharrachaidhean san àrainneachd litreachais a bhrosnachadh.

*

We’re thrilled to launch our first Literature Talks commission of 2021 – a passionate poem on the frustrations of artists in lockdown by Gaelic Crowned Bard, prizewinning poet, singer, composer, harpist and linguist, Sandy NicDhòmhnaill Jones.

Read Prìosanachd nan Còisir / The Choirs’ Imprisonment

You can also listen to Sandy reading her poem in Gaelic followed by the translation in English via SoundCloud. The link is included below the written version on the above link.

Please join the conversation on Twitter using #LiteratureTalks2021

Literature Talks 2021 is a series of pieces commissioned by LAS, asking Scotland’s leading writers and literature producers to respond to the literary landscape by starting a conversation that challenges us to make change happen.

July 8, 2021

Understanding the impact of Covid-19 on cultural participation

Creative Scotland has published the third wave of findings from independent research looking at the attitudes of the general population in relation to cultural participation and attendance.

This survey research, undertaken by 56 Degree Insight in May 2021, aims to better understand the Scottish population’s attitudes to attending cultural events and venues.

The findings show that the desire to attend cultural events and venues remains strong. The research does, however, reinforce that parts of the creative sector may recover more slowly than other areas of the economy and public demand will vary between organisations, art forms and the venues in which work is presented.

Key Findings:

  • Over a fifth of the adult population in Scotland report that arts and culture have become more important to them since the beginning of restrictions in March 2020.
  • Throughout the pandemic, over half of Scotland’s population (57%) have consistently reported they really miss attending cultural venues and events.
  • During the pandemic most of the population have listened to music, watched films, drama or documentaries or read for pleasure. With +33% reported watching more films, drama or documentaries on streaming services, watching terrestrial, Freeview or satellite television, listening to music or reading.
  • Since November 2020 the desire to take part in all cultural activities has increased, with the public most looking forward to returning to cinema, live music and the theatre. Two-fifths of the population are already booked or planning to attend the cinema while a third are planning to attend live music. One in 8 respondents would definitely be interested in engaging with cultural events online in future.
  • 59% are very or fairly comfortable with 1m distancing with additional protection.
  • 74% are interested in attending one or more of the options for outdoor events.
  • 29% felt controls on capacity would be the most important factor when deciding whether to attend events.
  • 40% of respondents were supportive of being able to make a voluntary donation to a ‘recovery fund’ when buying tickets for cultural events and venues.

The report summarising the findings from the research, published on 23 June 2021 can be found on the Covid-19 Population Survey: Wave 3 page.

July 2, 2021

Introducing the Next Level 2021 Awardees

We’re thrilled to introduce the Next Level Awardees for 2021: Keira Brown and Heather McDaid.

Next Level is LAS’ career development programme that aims to equip two mid-career arts professionals on the path to a senior position with the intended outcome of increasing diversity within the literature, languages and publishing sector. The free Programme includes training, mentoring and facilitated industry connections tailored to each Awardee’s career goals. As both Awardees are freelancers, they will each receive a Living Wage stipend to cover their time participating in the Programme. This is supported by our funding from Creative Scotland.

Peggy Hughes, LAS Chair, said: “We’re thrilled to appoint Keira and Heather who both have the ambition to make positive change in the literature, languages and publishing sector. We’ve seen the impact that Next Level has had on awardees’ mindsets and driving forward their career goals and we can’t wait to work with Keira and Heather and see the positive outcomes from their journey. Both Awardees are freelancers and we appreciate how important this time and space is to allow for reflection on career development while having a dedicated support to take the steps towards future goals and aspirations.”

Keira Brown said: “I am excited to be chosen for the Next Level programme and to see what opportunities for development stem from the programme. Whilst working on Paisley Book Festival I have been keen to learn and grow in areas of accessibility, outreach and engagement, as it feels like a festival in which we can really expand and offer a great deal in these fields. As an industry freelancer, I am enormously grateful for the time and insight offered from others in the literature sector and look forward to the valuable knowledge and learning that will come from Next Level. It’s fantastic that Literature Alliance offer such a space for professional development.”

Heather McDaid said: I’m delighted to have been selected for the Next Level programme. As a freelancer, I have been able to work with a number of organisations I admire these last few years, and through my own publisher 404 Ink have been able to undertake a lot of work and projects on what matters most personally, including strides to demystify and make the publishing industry more accessible for those looking to enter it, as writers or behind the scenes. The opportunity to focus on these ideas and longer-term goals, and work towards making that a reality, is something I’m really excited about. I’ve found great support within Scotland’s thriving literature sector in my own career, and hope that as my work progresses, particularly with the amazing support of Literature Alliance Scotland now, I can continue to pay that forward for those to come.”

 

Keira Brown has an in depth understanding of the commercial side within the book trade and the long-term impact of book events. She has a local knowledge of the writing and spoken word scene in Scotland having co-produced Paisley Book Festival two years running. As well as the work she does for the literature sector she is also Editor of cultural review site, The Fountain, and Board Trustee for Scottish PEN.
@DowntownKeiraB
https://thefountain.scot

 

 

Heather McDaid is an award-winning publisher and freelancer. She is currently co-founder of indie publisher 404 Ink, Books Editor at The Skinny magazine, and Events and Programme Support Officer at Publishing Scotland. Previous roles have included Coordinator of The Saltire Society’s virtual book festival #ScotLitFest, and Co-Chair of the Society of Young Publishers Scotland; she has worked in a freelance capacity with organisations including Scottish Book Trust, BHP Comics, Canongate, Girlguiding Scotland, and many more. She received the London Book Fair Trailblazers award for those ‘blazing a trail through their 20s’, was jointly awarded the Saltire Society Emerging Publisher of the Year, shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for the professional achievements and promise of women in publishing, and was named by Margaret Atwood as ‘a woman shaping the future’ based on her work within publishing.
@heathermmcd
heathermcdaid.com

June 14, 2021

SBWN & EDI Scotland Publish Literary Sector Survey Results

Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) and EDI Scotland publish literary sector survey results on the perceptions and experiences of Black and PoC* writers in and from Scotland.
“What are we, as a sector, doing to support and inspire current and future generations of Scottish and Scotland-based Black and PoC* writers?”
“Actionable change is still needed to address systemic barriers for Black and PoC* writers in Scotland.”

In March 2021, Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) partnered with EDI Scotland for their second annual survey on perceptions and experiences of Black and PoC writers in and from Scotland. This survey aimed to assess gaps, absences, and barriers to participation in Scotland’s literary sector; to help SBWN plan inclusive programming in 2021 and beyond; and was a follow up to build on the findings in their 2020 report. They also wanted to ask: “What are we, as a sector, doing to support and inspire current and future generations of Scottish and Scotland-based Black and PoC writers?”

The report reveals numerous facets that make Scotland’s literary sector vital and meaningful for underrepresented communities. However, the research also exposes challenges around: event and programming access, career development, performing and publishing. These results, collated and presented by EDI Scotland, challenge both SBWN and the wider sector to consider who they are and are not reaching.

Key findings from respondents include:

  • 68.3% strongly agreed that SBWN had increased the visibility of writers of colour in Scotland.
  • 70.7% strongly agreed that SBWN had exposed them to a greater diversity of writers of colour in Scotland.
  • 21.4% had experienced a racist incident at a literary event or activity in the past 12 months.
  • 81.8% had experience of mental health problems or mental distress.
  • 28.8% identified as disabled, with a further 9.6% of respondents unsure.
  • 78.9% disagreed or strongly disagreed that white Scottish audiences were aware of the diversity of writers of colour in Scotland.
  • 13.0% had not yet published work.
  • 38.9% had not read their work at a public event (venue-based or digital) in the past three years.
  • 79.0% disagreed or strongly disagreed that people of colour and white Scottish people have equal opportunities to succeed in Scotland’s literary sector.

Several respondents commented on the whiteness of cultural events and activities, particularly outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow and an expectation to share racial trauma. Many also requested that SBWN facilitate mentorship opportunities and/or a buddy scheme.

Recommendations for SBWN includes:

  • Continue to provide opportunities for publication and performance, particularly for writers at the start of their career.
  • Explore ways to provide or facilitate mentorship opportunities and/or a buddy scheme among members.
  • Provide opportunities for members to receive informal feedback on their work, this might also include feedback on applications and submissions.

Recommendations for the literary sector includes:

  • Develop events and activities for writers of colour outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow, for example, the continuation of online events and activities when in-person events and activities are permitted to restart.
  • Facilitate opportunities for writers of colour in Scotland to showcase their work with international audiences outside of Scotland.
  • Better engage white Scottish audiences in the work of writers of colour in Scotland, without burdening writers with the responsibility to ‘educate others’.
  • Challenge views that suggest diversity and quality are incompatible or that writers of colour are invited to participate in literary events and activities to satisfy diversity requirements.
  • Increase the representation and visibility of people of colour in senior positions in Scotland’s literary sector.

Jeda Pearl Lewis, Co-Director (Writer Development, Access and Communications), said: “The results underscore the needs of our community and invigorate SBWN to continue and deepen our intersectional approach to advocacy and professional development for Black and PoC writers. We are committed to improving accessibility, facilitating peer mentoring, diversifying genres covered and being mindful of mental health wellbeing in all our activities.”

Dean Atta, Co-Director (Festivals, Partnerships and Editorial), said: “We will further develop our successful collaborations and welcome new partnerships with literary organisations within and outwith Scotland who are committed to actionable change that addresses systemic barriers for Black and PoC writers and individuals working in the literary sector.” – 

Mae Diansangu, Programme Manager (Community and Events), commented: “Neither Scottish BAME Writers Network, nor this survey, claim to speak on behalf of the entire Black and PoC literary sector in Scotland. We are a network of uniquely diverse and individual writers, performers, editors, readers, publishers, programmers and book lovers. We come from different racial backgrounds, ethnic and cultural groups, faiths, classes, sexualities, genders; some of us are disabled and/or live with chronic illness, some of us are carers.” 

“Some of us were born in Scotland or have spent our whole lives here, while some of us come from around the world and have made our home in Scotland. One of the major experiences we do share, and what both surveys aim to demonstrate, is the experience of having our identities (including our bodies, histories, and narratives) racialised within the environment of the literary sector, ” said Titi Farukuoye, Programme Manager (Community and Events)

Kelly Kanayama, Admin and Media Support, said: “While our data set is relatively small (n=57) we hope to continuously receive more survey participants as our community and networks develop. Through our events, publishing, partnerships, advocacy and professional development activities, we have worked directly with over 100 Black and PoC writers and we are especially grateful for each person who took the time to complete this survey and share their experiences.” 

“This report is a guide, to further open up the conversations, programming and opportunities around inclusion and career progression, plus to find and put into action the systemic changes needed to address barriers for Black people and people of colour working in Scotland’s literary world,” said Alycia Pirmohamad, Co-Founder and Advisor

Read the survey report as a PDF here or as a read-only Word document here.

*PoC stands for ‘People of colour.’ Our aim was to gather responses from people within the Scottish literary sector who are racialised and who identify as Black or a person of colour. We use the term ‘Black and PoC writers’ to include Scottish and Scotland-based people with heritages from African, Caribbean, Latinx, First Nation, South Asian, East Asian, South East Asian and West Asian diasporas including people who identify as ‘mixed-race’ or multiple heritage. Survey respondents who only identified as white were filtered out of these results. As an organisation, while we use the term BAME, we acknowledge the limitations of this terminology. At the core of our network, we address and overcome systemic barriers that our members face directly or indirectly based on their ethnic or national identities, race or perceived racial identities, or the colour of their skin as per the Equality Act of 2010.

Contacts:

Jeda Pearl Lewis and Dean Atta, Co-Directors (ScotBAMEWriters@gmail.com)

Kevin Guyan (EDIScotland@outlook.com)

About EDI Scotland

EDI Scotland provides research and data consultancy on issues related to equality, diversity and inclusion in Scotland. Data, research and evidence-based solutions are powerful tools in the fight against injustice and inequality. EDI Scotland promotes robust research with a radical edge and works with organisations (big and small) to make Scotland a fairer place for everyone. EDI Scotland is directed by Dr Kevin Guyan, a mixed methods researcher based in Edinburgh with over a decade of research experience across academia, higher education and the voluntary sector. Find out more: @EDIScotland; https://kevinguyan.com/EDIScotland/

About Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN)

Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) is an advocacy and professional development group for writers who identify as Black or PoC* with a connection to Scotland. SBWN was founded in 2018 by Alycia Pirmohamed and Jay G Ying and aims to connect Scottish Black and PoC writers with the wider literary sector in Scotland and beyond. Weaving together collaborative literary partnerships, cross-arts co-creation and an intersectional approach to inclusive and participatory programming, SBWN is a sector change-maker, facilitating necessary conversations around inclusive programming in an effort to address and overcome systemic barriers.

Professional development programming includes publishing and performance opportunities, workshops, masterclasses, curatorial roles, training and seminars, industry panels and partnerships, feedback and mentoring. 2020-21 partners include HarperCollins, Scottish Book Trust, National Library of Scotland, PEN, National Galleries of Scotland, StAnza Poetry Festival, Wigtown Book Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, British Council; and key programmes include Writers of Colour writing group and anthology led by Hannah Lavery, the annual Professional Development and Networking Conference, and ‘Metaphors for a Black Future’ curated by Martha Adonai Williams.

Run by writers of colour for writers of colour, and informed by member surveys, consultation and feedback, SBWN uplifts, validates and provides safer spaces for marginalised voices, nurturing and promoting the current and next generations of Black and POC writers based in Scotland.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @ScotBAMEwriters

Website: http://scottishbamewritersnetwork.org/

June 2, 2021

LAS seeks new Chair

Literature Alliance Scotland is looking to appoint a new Chair of the Board of Trustees in June 2021 with a sound knowledge of and passion for Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level. Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership, advocacy, management and knowledge of the principles of corporate governance are also valuable.

We want our Board and activity to have broader representation from all communities and actively encourage applications from people of colour and those from ethnically diverse communities as well as people who identify as working-class, disabled, LGBTQ+ and their intersections. We reserve the right to supplement the shortlist with invited candidates.

We’d intend for the new Chair to take up their role in June 2021. The current Chair, Peggy Hughes, intends to continue as a Trustee until the AGM in the Autumn to ensure a smooth handover.

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. With more than 30 member organisations, we’re Scotland’s largest literary network for literature and languages, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

As LAS is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), the Chair role is  voluntary and unpaid, however, reasonable out of pocket expenses will be met.

Please see below for further information about the role and candidate’s qualities and experience.

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

If you’re interested in being the new Chair of LAS, please send a CV (two pages max) and a short  accompanying statement (one page max) telling us why you’d like to get involved and what you think you can offer. Please email your CV and statement to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via  admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

The deadline for applications is midnight on Fri 4 June 2021.

We will contact shortlisted candidates to arrange a convenient time to meet via Zoom with LAS Chair Peggy Hughes, Projects and Communications Manager Jenny Kumar and another Trustee to have an informal interview.

If you have any questions, please contact Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk 

Information about being the Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland.

About LAS

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. It is Scotland’s largest literary network for literature and languages, of more than 30 member organisations, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

Our vision is that LAS is a trusted, strong collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages, which are celebrated locally, nationally and internationally.

LAS was formed in spring 2015 as successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland, which was first set up in 2001, at the invitation of the then Literature Committee of the Scottish Arts Council. In 2006, following a review of its remit by the Scottish Arts Council, the Literature Forum was formally recognised as a national Advisory Council for Literature, and acted in this capacity. In mid-2014, Literature Forum members decided to review the organisation’s future role and to consider how it should develop to become a stronger and more inclusive voice for literature and languages in Scotland and abroad, leading to the transition in spring 2015 to Literature Alliance Scotland.

Our 2021 programme of work – A New Chapter: To Meet The Times We’re In – places equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at its heart and offers two interconnected programme strands of ‘upskill’ and ‘connect and collaborate’ supported by effective communications and advocacy that will:

  1. Deliver a responsive programme for members and the sector to better communicate, connect and collaborate in challenging times.
  2. Be more inclusive and accessible to engage more people and diverse voices
  3. Provide professional development opportunities for members
  4. Utilise improved digital communications to advocate for the sector and tell the stories of Scotland’s literature and languages.

This will give us the tools to become a healthier, more robust, and resilient ecosystem for the collective good of our membership and our sector.

The LAS membership actively participate in shaping and contributing to LAS’ main areas of work: our Writers’ Advisory Group; our Literature Talks series of writing commissions; our “lifechanging” career development programme Next Level for mid-career literature professionals not represented at senior levels; championing the sector through advocacy and at events; our members’ professional development programme; and at our dynamic meetings and annual Sector Away Day & AGM offering rich learning, discussion and connection.

Our income comes from membership fees and funding from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

LAS became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Institution (SCIO) in March 2016. Under its Constitution LAS has a Board of Trustees elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting, which takes place in the Autumn. The Board is headed by a Chair and Co-Vice-Chair(s) and these office bearer roles, along with a Treasurer, are appointed from amongst the Board of Trustees by the Trustees.

ROLE DESCRIPTION

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.
  • Ensure the organisation complies with its constitution, charity law and any other relevant legislation or regulation.
  • Establish policies and procedures to govern organisational activity
  • Ensure that the charity pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document
  • Chair the Board and Member meetings and oversee an effective administration and its financial stability.
  • Represent Literature Alliance Scotland and promote the organisation to government, local authorities, external partners, stakeholders and funders.
  • Work closely with the Projects and Communications Manager to deliver the programme.

Time commitment

We anticipate an average of 2.5 hours per week, which includes a regular catch up with the Projects & Communications Manager. Additionally, there will be time chairing the Trustees’ Zoom meetings (3 remaining in 2021, duration 60 mins each), Member Zoom meetings (3 remaining in 2021, duration 90mins each) as well overseeing the virtual Sector Away Day and AGM in the Autumn and occasional meetings representing the sector. The Chair also leads on fundraising responsibilities in concert with the Board of Trustees.

Expenses

As LAS is a SCIO, all Trustees, which includes the Chair, volunteer their time and the role is unpaid, however, out-of-pocket expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out the Chair’s duties will be met.

Candidate Qualities

Knowledge & experience

  • A sound knowledge of and active experience with Scottish literature and languages at a local, national and international level
  • Strong commitment to the vision and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Be committed to devoting the necessary time and effort to the role of Chair
  • Good independent judgment and the ability to think creatively.
  • Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management
  • Knowledge of the principles of corporate governance.
  • Acquaintance with leadership and management within the public sector
  • Familiarity with working collectively and in partnership.

 Skills

  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship. 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

The deadline for applications is midnight on Fri 4 June 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2021

LAS seeks writers for Advisory Group

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is looking to appoint a new cohort of five published writers living and working in Scotland for our 2021 Writers’ Advisory Group.

With writer organisations already active in our membership, we want to build on the success of the first Group of writers which strengthened the advice to our Board from a diverse and inclusive writing community.

Our second Writers’ Advisory Group will enable a direct and formalised channel of communication between writers and their communities, the LAS Board and the membership network. They will provide expert knowledge to help ensure that the key issues that affect writers are at the heart of the LAS mission and strategy and are reflected in our activities and advocacy work.

More details about the Writers’ Advisory Group’s purpose and role are below.

We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre, form and geography. We seek to ensure broad representation from all communities and actively encourage applications from under-represented groups, particularly people of colour and those from ethnically diverse communities as well as people who identify as working-class, disabled, LGBTQ+ and their intersections. We reserve the right to supplement the shortlist with invited candidates.

This is a paid opportunity and the five writers selected for the Advisory Group will be paid in line with the Live Literature Funding rate of £175 per session, with the three meetings to be held virtually on Zoom.

Please email your writing CV (2 pages maximum) and a short covering letter to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to be involved and outlining up to three of the main concerns and/ or opportunities that you’d like the Advisory Group to address in no more than 200 words.

The deadline is midnight on Wed 26 May 2021.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

About LAS

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of Scotland’s literature and languages at home and abroad. We are Scotland’s largest literary network of more than 30 member organisations, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies. LAS provides a collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages, which are celebrated locally, nationally and internationally.

LAS was formed in spring 2015 as a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland, which was first set up in 2001, at the invitation of the then Literature Committee of the Scottish Arts Council. In 2006, following a review of its remit by the Scottish Arts Council, the Literature Forum was formally recognised as a national Advisory Council for Literature and acted in this capacity. In mid-2014, Literature Forum members decided to review the organisation’s future role and to consider how it should develop to become a stronger and more inclusive voice for literature and languages in Scotland and abroad, leading to the transition in spring 2015 to Literature Alliance Scotland and a period of development work from 2016-2018. We introduced the Writers’ Advisory Group in our 2018-2020 our programme, Turning the Next Page: future proofing the sector to 2020 and beyond, to help us to raise the volume of the sector louder than ever before. The contribution of the Advisory Group during the pandemic in 2020 was vital and in this year’s programme of work, A New Chapter: To Meet the Times We’re In, we aim to build on that success with another cohort of writers.

Our income comes from membership fees and funding by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. LAS became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Institution (SCIO) in March 2016. Under our Constitution, we have a Board of Trustees elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting, headed by a Chair and two co-Vice-Chairs and with a Treasurer.

About the LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

Our Writers’ Advisory Group will enable a direct and formalised channel of communication between writers, our Board, and the LAS membership network, providing expert knowledge to help ensure that writers’ concerns are at the heart of the LAS mission and strategy and are reflected in our activities and advocacy work.

The members of the Advisory Group will together represent the broader writing community and will perform an advocacy role on behalf of their own writing communities and on the key issues that affect writers.

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to enhance the advice from a diverse and inclusive writing community to our Board. Key points raised from the meetings will be shared, as appropriate and in agreement with you, with our Board, with Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Culture Division.

We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre, form and geography. We seek to ensure broad representation from all communities and actively encourage applications from under-represented groups, particularly people of colour and those from ethnically diverse communities as well as people who identify as working-class, disabled, LGBTQ+ and their intersections. We reserve the right to supplement the shortlist with invited candidates.

The Advisory Group will meet three times in 2021, in June, September and November, where you will work in collaboration with Jenny Kumar, LAS’ Projects and Communications Manager and/or LAS Trustee Vikki Reilly, to discuss key issues and share your advice and recommendations that will help shape our advocacy and activities.

Each member of the Advisory Group will be paid the Live Literature Funding recommended rate of £175 per meeting. We plan to run the meetings virtually on Zoom. We have an Access Fund for the 2021 programme open to all WAG members to help provide support such as BSL interpretation, childcare and other caring or respite costs. Please tells us how we can help make the meetings accessible in your letter.

We consider published writers to be those who have had a minimum of two pieces of writing of any form to be published in print or online.

The first meeting of the Writers’ Advisory Group 2021 will take place on Thursday 17 June, 2-3.30pm on Zoom.

How to apply

Please email your writing CV (2 pages maximum) and a short letter addressed to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to be involved and outlining up to three of the main concerns and/ or opportunities that you’d like the Advisory Group to address in no more than 200 words.

DEADLINE: midnight on Wed 26 May 2021

First meeting dateThursday 17 June, 2-3.30pm on Zoom.

Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible after the closing date and in good time ahead of the first meeting on Zoom

April 29, 2021

Next Level 2021 now open for arts professionals


Are you a freelancer or employee working with a literature/languages organisation in Scotland with the ambition and energy to lead? 

Apply to Next Level 2021 for 1:1 online mentoring, training & networking opportunities tailored to your career goals.

The Next Level Programme 2021 is a career development programme that aims to equip two arts professionals on the path to a senior position with the intended outcome of increasing diversity within our sector.

It’s designed for two arts professionals (sometimes called arts admin or literature professionals in roles such as Assistant, Coordinator, Officer, Executive, Manager) who are either employed by or work as a freelancer with an organisation in Scotland’s literature, languages and publishing sector.

The 2021 programme is for people with 4 to 6 years’ experience of working in the sector and who would not define themselves as working at senior management level. It includes up to 80 contact hours (10 days), delivered digitally due to Covid-19, over six months from May 2021.

We particularly welcome applications from candidates who are from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities and those who identify as working-class and/or disabled and their intersections.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Wed 12 May 2021.

The two Awardees will each receive:

  • 4 x 60-minute, one-to-one online mentoring sessions with an industry professional working in, for example, publishing, bookselling, programming, libraries
  • Training in presentation skills and how to make an impact (delivered virtually)
  • Conversations with industry professionals (via telephone/video call).

We’ll cover the costs of:

  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • A living wage stipend can be available where the successful applicant would not be paid for their time participating in the programme.

How to apply:

Download our application pack from the website and email the completed application form and nomination form to Jenny Kumar, LAS Projects & Comms Manager, on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk with a short covering letter by midnight on Wed 12 May 2021.

Informal interviews will be held on Zoom on Wed 19 May 2021.

Not sure if it’s for you? Email Jenny on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

 

April 14, 2021