A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

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

Standard English is oor Second Language by Graeme Armstrong

We’re excited to launch our latest Literature Talks commission today – an incredible piece on the use of dialect in literary fiction in Scotland by The Times bestselling author of The Young Team, Graeme Armstrong.

Read Standard English is oor Second Language by Graeme Armstrong.

*Please note that the piece does contain strong language*

You can also listen to Graeme reading his piece via SoundCloud. The link is included below the written version on the above link.

Please join the conversation on Twitter using #LiteratureTalks

Literature Talks is a series of pieces commissioned by LAS, asking Scotland’s leading writers and literature producers to reflect on an aspect of Scotland’s literary landscape.

March 25, 2021

Na Duaisean Litreachais 2021 / The Gaelic Literature Awards 2021 

Tha Na Duaisean Litreachais 2021 fosgailte airson thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean agus foillsichearan Gàidhlig. Bidh duaisean rim faighinn airson leabhraichean a chaidh fhoillseachadh eadar 01 Cèitean 2020 agus 30 Giblean 2021 ann an diofar ghnèithean litreachais: 

•Duais Chomann Ghàidhealach Lunnainn airson an leabhair fhicsein as fheàrr

•Duais Ruaraidh MhicThòmais airson an leabhair bhàrdachd as fheàrr, le taic bhoLeabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba

•Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek airson an leabhair neo-fhicsein as fheàrr

•Duais airson an leabhair as fheàrr do chloinn/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, agus gheibh ùghdar na làmh-sgrìobhainn as fheàrr do chloinn cothrom an leabhar aca a leasachadh ann an co-bhann leis an fhoillsichear Acair. 

Thuirt Alison Lang, Stiùiriche Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean: “Tha sinn an comain ar caraidean aig Comann Gàidhealach Lunnainn agus Acair airson a bhith an sàs anns na Duaisean Litreachais a-rithist, mar a bha iad an-uiridh. Agus anns a’ bhliadhna sa bheil sinn a’ comharrachadh 100 bliadhna bho rugadh Ruaraidh MacThòmais, a’ chiad Chathraiche a bh’ aig Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, tha sinn taingeil do Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba airson taic a chumail ris an duais airson an leabhair bhàrdachd as fheàrr. Tro na duaisean seo tha sinn airson aire a thoirt don tàlant a th’ aig sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig agus do chàileachd nan leabhraichean a chaidh fhoillseachadh sa bhliadhna a dh’fhalbh.” 

Thuirt Asif Khan, Stiùiriche Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba: “Tha Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba toilichte a bhith a’ cumail taic ris an fharpais airson an leabhair bhàrdachd as fheàrr am-bliadhna, air ainmeachadh airson fear de na cinn-suidhe urramach againn, Ruaraidh MacThòmais. Tha bàrdachd fo bhlàth ann an diofar choimhearsnachdan air feadh na h-Alba. Tha e cudromach gun aithnich sinn mar a tha bàrdachd a’ cur ri adhartas cultarach, sòisealta agus poilitigeach an nàisein, agus a’ gleidheadh, a’ taisbeanadh agus a’ comharrachadh nan cànanan dùthchasach againn.”

Thuirt Duncan Byatt, Ceann-suidhe Chomann Ghàidhealach Lunnainn: “Tha Comann Gàidhealach Lunnainn air leth toilichte a bhith a’ toirt taic a-rithist don duais airson an leabhair fhicsein as fheàrr, agus do Na Duaisean Litreachais san fharsaingeachd. Tha sinn taingeil do Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean airson an fharpais seo a chur air dòigh agus airson ùrlar a chruthachadh chan ann a-mhàin don neach-buannachaidh ach cuideachd airson barrachd leabhraichean ann an gnè-litreachais a tha a’ sìor fhàs agus a’ glacadh aire is macmheanmna nan leughadairean.”

Thuirt Agnes Rennie, Manaidsear Acair: “Tha Acair toilichte taic a chur ri Na Duaisean Litreachais agus tha sinn an dòchas gum faic sinn meall thagraidhean a’ tighinn air adhart le sgeulachdan ùra.”

Is e 30 Giblean 2021 an ceann-là agus gheibhear fios mu na cumhachan is riaghailtean an seo.

Thèid an luchd-buannachaidh ainmeachadh air 16 Sultain 2021.

Notaichean do Luchd-deasachaidh

’S i Comhairle nan Leabhraichean am prìomh bhuidheann le dleastanas airson taic a chumail ri ùghdaran agus ri foillsichearan Gàidhlig na h-Alba, agus airson ìomhaigh is ruigsinneachd leabhraichean Gàidhlig a thogail ann an Alba agus gu h-eadar-nàiseanta. ’S e carthannais chlàraichte a th’ ann an Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, a bhios a’ faighinn maoineachadh bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail.

Airson barrachd fiosrachadh cuiribh fios gu Alison Lang air alison@gaelicbooks.org. www.gaelicbooks.org 

ENGLISH

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2021 are open for submissions from Gaelic writers and publishers. Prizes will be awarded for books published between 01 May 2020 and 30 April 2021 in a number of categories: 

•The Highland Society of London Prize for the best fiction book

•The Derick Thomson Prize for the best poetry book, sponsored by the Scottish PoetryLibrary

•The Donald Meek Award for the best non-fiction book

•Best Book for Children or Young People

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

Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: “We are indebted to our friends at the Highland Society of London and at Acair for supporting the Gaelic Literature Awards again, as they did last year. And in the year in which we are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Derick Thomson, the Gaelic Books Council’s first Chair, we are grateful to the Scottish Poetry Library for sponsoring the prize for the best poetry book. Through these awards we want to showcase the talents of Gaelic writers and the fine quality of the books that have been published over the past year.” 

Asif Khan, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, said: “The SPL is delighted to support this year’s Gaelic poetry book prize, named after one of our founding Honorary Presidents, Derick Thomson. Poetry is blossoming in Scotland in all walks of life and across communities. It is important that we salute its expressive role in the progressive cultural, social and political development of the nation, and also for the conservation, promotion and celebration of our indigenous languages.” 

Duncan Byatt, President of the Highland Society of London said: “The Highland Society of London is extremely happy to continue its support for the prize for the best fiction book, and for the Gaelic Literature Awards in general. We are very grateful to the Gaelic Books Council for organising this competition and creating a platform, not just for the winner, but also for a growing selection of Gaelic fiction books to become more widely available and talked about by readers.”

Agnes Rennie, Manager of Acair, said: “Acair is pleased to support the Gaelic Literature Awards and we hope to see a flood of entries coming in with new stories.”

The deadline for submissions is 30 April 2021 and the terms and conditions can be found here.

The winners will be announced on 16 September 2021.

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 more information and quotes, please contact Alison Lang on alison@gaelicbooks.org. www.gaelicbooks.org 

Reproduced from GBC’s press release.

March 4, 2021

Alan Bett appointed as CS’ Head of Literature & Publishing

Following an open recruitment process, Creative Scotland is delighted to announce that Alan Bett has been appointed as the Head of Literature & Publishing.

Welcoming Alan’s appointment, Joan Parr, Creative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts & Engagement said:  “Alan is well known and respected for his knowledge and expertise in the Scottish literature sector and I am delighted that he is taking over the leadership of the literature and publishing team at Creative Scotland on a permanent basis.

“Having worked in the sector himself for many years, Alan brings a wealth of understanding and experience to the role and I look forward to working with him and to seeing the fantastic and justified international reputation of Scottish Literature further enhanced.”

Alan Bett said:  “I am delighted to be taking on the permanent role of Head of Literature and Publishing. I am ready to support the broader literary community through the current challenging period and to continue my work in funding and developing our writers, helping their work to reach readers in Scotland and beyond. I’m looking forward to working with our many valued partners in the sector to achieve this.”

Keep up to date on the work of the literature team on their blog.

Reproduced from the Creative Scotland press release 

March 1, 2021

LAS seeks new Trustees – extended deadline

Literature Alliance Scotland is looking to expand our Board of Trustees’ skills and knowledge by appointing two dynamic Trustees with experience or specific knowledge of Equalities, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), and/or fundraising.

We also want our Board and activity to have broader representation from all communities and actively encourage expressions of interest from potential candidates who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) / BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), disabled, working-class, LGBTQ+ and their intersections.

We would intend for the new appointees to take up their role in March 2021.

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 Trustee positions are voluntary and unpaid, however, reasonable out of pocket expenses will be met.

Please see below for further information about the role and the candidate qualities and experience we’re looking for.

How to apply

If you would like to join our Board of Trustees, 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

EXTENDED DEADLINE: 12 noon on Mon 8 Mar 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 discussion.

Any questions? Please email Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

 

Information about being a Trustee of Literature Alliance Scotland.

About LAS

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 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 participates 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 Member 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. Please note that we also intend to appoint a new Chair from the Trustees in the Spring.

ROLE DESCRIPTION

Summary

The role of the Board of Trustees is to determine the overall strategic direction of LAS, monitoring progress towards our objectives and taking collective responsibility to ensure the good governance of the organisation. Our Trustees should be prepared to act as advocates and to be actively involved in LAS’ programme of work as Task and Finish Leads for our range of exciting projects and activities.

Trustee applications are welcome from within and outwith the membership of LAS. It is not essential to have previous experience as a Trustee to apply.

Main Duties

Our Trustees perform the following functions:

  • Ensure the organisation complies with its constitution, charity law and any other relevant legislation or regulation.
  • Contribute actively to the role of the Board of Trustees in giving strategic direction to the organisation, setting and maintaining the mission, vision and values of the organisation and evaluating the organisation’s performance.
  • Actively help with overseeing/leading projects in LAS’ programme of work
  • Establish policies and procedures to govern organisational activity
  • Ensure that the charity pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document
  • Ensure the effective and efficient administration of the charity and ensure its financial stability.

Time commitment – In these digital times, the LAS Board of Trustees will meet virtually six times a year on Zoom. Trustees will be expected to prepare for and attend these meetings as well as our Annual General Meeting, which takes place in the Autumn. Attendance at our Member meetings is optional. Board meetings, which usually last up to 90 minutes on Zoom, will take place every other month in 2021 on a working day.

Expenses – As we are a SCIO, all Trustees volunteer their time and the role is unpaid, however, out-of-pocket expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out Trustees’ duties will be met.

Candidate Qualities and Experience

  • An understanding of and/or passion for Scottish literature and languages and/or the wider artistic and cultural landscape
  • Strong commitment to the vision and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Be committed to devoting the necessary time and effort to the role of Trustee by preparing well for board meetings and actively contributing to them.
  • 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.
  • Experience/ knowledge of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and/or fundraising.

Skills

  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.
  • Strategic thinking and problem solving
  • Strong ambassadorial skills
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Excellent spoken and written communications skills
February 3, 2021

A New Chapter for the Book Festival

Organisers of the Edinburgh International Book Festival today announced that the 2021 Festival will take place from Saturday 14 to Monday 30 August 2021 from the beautiful indoor and open, grassy outdoor spaces of the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art on Lauriston Place.

While the full programme and event details will not be announced until the end of June, the Book Festival team are planning a range of live online author talks, workshops and readings and, only if circumstances permit, some events for in-person, albeit socially distanced, audiences.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival said, “While we are now experiencing a full lockdown in Scotland which is challenging for so many people on so many levels, we very much hope that the combination of this, together with the ongoing vaccination programme, will bring the virus under control by August.  While 2020 proved extremely challenging for the Book Festival it also opened up some extraordinarily exciting opportunities.  Building on the success of our online Book Festival we can now announce that we will be entering into a new strategic partnership with the University of Edinburgh that will enable us to inhabit this innovative space in 2021 with facilities to create events for both digital and, if circumstances permit, physical audiences.

“Covid19 has created a huge tectonic shift in the way that live events, ourselves included, can reach their audiences.  With in-person ticket sales impossible to forecast this August, we simply can’t justify incurring the costs of the tents and infrastructure we’d normally put into Charlotte Square Gardens.    It is highly probable that most events will take place online, and the need for broadcast studios is more likely than large venues for an audience.

“In the grassy courtyard of Edinburgh College of Art we will, if rules allow, recreate the elements of the Book Festival that our audiences love – bookshops, cafes and open spaces in which to come together safely offering the ‘oasis of calm’ for which the Book Festival is renowned.  The College offers excellent studio and theatre facilities for both online broadcasting and potential events with a socially distanced audience.”

He added “We intend that this partnership with the University will be a long-term arrangement, and the Book Festival will continue to occupy their spaces when a Covid-free Festival, with audiences able to enjoy live events in person, can be staged.    However digital events will continue to be a key part of future Book Festivals, enabling us to reach truly global audiences as well as those closer to home who face barriers to attending the event.  We are excited that our hybrid festivals of the future will engage with authors and audiences around the world in a more environmentally responsible way.”

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, Professor Peter Mathieson, said, “We were delighted to be asked by the Edinburgh International Book Festival to support future events through this mutually beneficial arrangement. Building on our existing partnership this new deeper relationship will help to ensure that people in Edinburgh, and all over the world, can continue to come together to explore the power of ideas through their love of literature.”

This strategic partnership gives the Edinburgh International Book Festival licence to occupy spaces within the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art in August.  The University of Edinburgh will operate catering and bar provisions, if permitted by the Government’s Covid19 guidelines, while the Book Festival is on.

The 2020 Edinburgh International Book Festival presented a fully digital programme In August, with 146 online events ranging from daily draw-alongs to conversations with Bernardine Evaristo, Douglas Stuart, Samantha Power, Matt Haig, Hilary Mantel and Marian Keyes.  Audiences watched and engaged with events from around the world and have continued to watch on-demand over the winter months.

The full programme for the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival will be announced at the end of June.  Author conversations from the 2020 Book Festival, and all other information, can be found at www.edbookfest.co.uk.

-ends-

For further information please contact: Frances Sutton, Press Manager on 07841 579481 or frances@edbookfest.co.uk

Reproduced from the EIBF press release. Read the EIBF statement. 

January 27, 2021

Digital technology to be a mainstay of the Gaelic Books Council in 2021

A dh’aindeoin dùbhlan na bliadhna 2020 do ghnìomhachas an fhoillseachaidh ann an Alba, tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean air soirbheachadh, tro teicneòlas didseatach, air taic a chumail ri sgrìobhadairean agus foillsichearan, agus air cliù litreachas na Gàidhlig àrdachadh ann an Alba agus gu h-eadar-nàiseanta. Leanaidh an cuideam seo air tachartasan agus reic air-loidhne tron bhliadhna 2021 agus thèid làrach-lìn ùr a chur air bhonn as t-Earrach a bheir barrachd fiosrachaidh is roghainnean do luchd-ceannachd leabhraichean.

B’ fheudar bùth-leabhraichean Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean ann an Glaschu a dhùnadh airson còrr is trì mìosan nuair a thòisich an glasadh-sluaigh sa Mhàrt 2020, agus a-rithist rè an dàrna sgapadh den a’ Choròna-bhìoras sa gheamhradh. Gu fortanach, bha e comasach reic caillte fhaighinn air ais tro reic air-loidhne, a chaidh suas 115% ann an 2020 an taca ri 2019. Bha reic air-loidhne ga bheathachadh le fàs ùidh ann an ionnsachadh na Gàidhlig am measg a’ phobaill agus soirbheachas leabhraichean ùra bho foillsichearan Albannach neo-eisimeileach le taic bho Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean, leithid 100 Dàn as Fheàrr Leinn deasaichte le Pàdraig MacAoidh and Jo NicDhòmhnaill (Luath Press) agus Air an Oir le Iain D. Urchardan (Acair).

Bha tachartasan air-loidhne cudromach don Chomhairle ann an 2020 a thaobh a bhith conaltradh le leughadairean Gàidhlig agus a’ tairgsinn chothroman cosnaidh do sgrìobhadairean aig àm doirbh do dhaoine a bhios ag obair air an cinn fhèin. Thòisich seo le sreath de ochd bhidiothan bàrdachd a choimiseanaich a’ Chomhairle bho diofar bhàird. Nam measg bha ‘An Cruth-atharrachaidh’, dàn le Eòghan Stiùbhart a fhuair thairis air 3,000 seallaidhean air na meadhanan sòisealta. Cuideachd air a’ phrògram bha tachartas bàrdachd mar phàirt den Mhòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail Air-loidhne agus caochladh leabhraichean gan cur air bhog air Zoom, a’ gabhail a-steach An Gille, am Famh, an Sionnach ’s an t-Each (Luath Press), an tionndadh Gàidhlig den a’ ‘bestseller’ aig Teàrlach Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Cho math ri daoine bho air feadh Alba, bha daoine a’ coimhead nan tachartasan seo ann an dùthchannan eile cho fad air falbh ris na Stàitean Aonaichte.

Bha na Duaisean Litreachais 2020 cuideachd air an lìbhrigeadh air-loidhne an-uiridh. Chaidh a’ chuirm a chraoladh air YouTube, le duaisean gan toirt seachad ann an ceithir raointean (ficsean, neo-fhicsean, bàrdachd agus leabhraichean cloinne) airson leabhraichean foillsichte rè na bliadhna a dh’fhalbh, agus dà dhuais eile airson làmh-sgrìobhainnean neo-fhoillsichte do dh’inbhich agus do chloinn. Bha an craoladair Niall Iain Dòmhnallach na fhear an taighe airson na cuirme, leis an t- seinneadair Joy Dunlop agus am preasantair telebhisean cloinne ainmeil Donaidh Dòtaman am measg nan aoighean sònraichte a bha a’ toirt seachad dhuaisean. Bha ceòl na h-oidhche leis a’ chòmhlan-ciùil Ghàidhlig eileagtronaigeach, Whyte.

Le sgoiltean agus sgoiltean-àraich dùinte, chaidh Leugh is Seinn le Linda – pròiseact leis a’ Chomhairle a bhios a’ toirt sheiseanan de sgeulachdan, òrain agus geamannan do chloinn, air an lìbhrigeadh le preasantair telebhisean cloinne air BBC ALBA, Linda NicLeòid – a ghluasad air-loidhne cuideachd. Bha luchd-amhairc uaireannan cho mòr ri 400 teaghlach a’ coimhead nan seiseanan air YouTube gach seachdain. Nuair a thill na sgoiltean san t-Sultain, thòisich a’ Chomhairle ag obrachadh còmhla ri e-Sgoil gus seiseanan air-loidhne de Leugh is Seinn le Linda a thabhann do chloinn ann am Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gàidhlig air feadh na h-Alba, a’ ruigsinn còrr is 660 sgoilearan. Chuir Leugh is Seinn crìoch air a’ bhliadhna le partaidh Nollaig air-loidhne. Leugh Linda ‘An Oidhche ron Nollaig’ le Clement Clarke Moore don chloinn, a chaidh a chur dhan a’ Ghàidhlig leis an sgrìobhadair chliùiteach, Mòrag Anna NicNèill agus thàinig Bodach na Nollaig fhèin a chèilidh!

Tha a’ Chomhairle cuideachd air a bhith trang a’ roinn taic-airgid air sgrìobhadairean agus ùghdaran gus leabhraichean ùra a chruthachadh ann am farsaingeachd de ghnèithean-sgrìobhaidh, le 16 sgrìobhadair agus 20 foillsichear a’ faighinn thabhartasan bhon Chomhairle ann an 2020. Ann an 2021, bidh leughadairean a’ cur fàilte air leithid Tuathanas nan Creutairean le Seòras Orwell air eadar-theangachadh le Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul (Luath Press), an nobhail eucoir dhrùidhteach Hiort le Iain Fionnlagh MacLeòid (CLÀR) agus Sgeulachdan Gàidhlig Iain Mhic a’ Ghobhainn deasaichte le Iain MacDhòmhnaill agus Moray Watson (Scottish Gaelic Texts Society), cruinneachadh cudromach far am bi na sgeulachdan Gàidhlig aig Mac a’ Ghobhainn foillsichte còmhla airson a’ chiad uair.

Tha obair air leasachadh sgrìobhadairean cuideachd a’ leantainn a dh’aindeoin a’ ghlasaidh-sluaigh, leis a’ Chomhairle ag obrachadh còmhla ri Urras Leabhraichean na h-Alba agus Playwrights’ Studio Scotland gus sgrìobhadairean a mheantradh aig diofar cheumannan nan cùrsaichean-obrach. Tha co-fharpaisean sgrìobhaidh cuideachd ri thighinn, le aon a’ comharrachadh 1,500 bliadhna bho rugadh Calum Cille fosgailte an-dràsta, agus tèile a’ comharrachadh 100 bliadhna bho rugadh an t-Ollamh Ruaraidh MacThòmais, ciad Cathraiche Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, ri fhosgladh nas fhaide air adhart am bliadhna. Bidh a’ cho-fharpais seo mar phàirt de dh’iomairt nas fharsainge aig a’ Chomhairle gus beatha an Ollaimh MhicThòmais a chomharrachadh ann an 2021.

Ann a bhith a’ toirt a h-uile càil seo gu buill, tha a’ Chomhairle air taic fhaighinn bho Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail, airson prìomhachas a chur air amasan Plana Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig agus air Ro-innleachd nan Ealain airson Alba, le fòcas air sàr-mhathas sna h-ealain agus àrdachadh cleachdadh na Gàidhlig. Tha dìlseachd an luchd-ceannaich againn agus fialaidheachd thabhairtearan fa-leth air a bhith riatanach ann a bhith a’ beathachadh Comhairle nan Leabhraichean tro 2020, agus tha sinn a’ coimhead le misneachd gu 2021. 

Notaichean do Luchd-deasachaidh 

’S i Comhairle nan Leabhraichean am prìomh bhuidheann le dleastanas airson taic a chumail ri ùghdaran agus ri foillsichearan Gàidhlig na h-Alba, agus airson ìomhaigh is ruigsinneachd leabhraichean Gàidhlig a thogail ann an Alba agus gu h-eadar-nàiseanta. ’S e carthannais chlàraichte a th’ ann an Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, a bhios a’ faighinn maoineachadh bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail. 

Airson barrachd fiosrachadh cuiribh fios gu Alison Lang air alison@gaelicbooks.org

 

ENGLISH

2020 was a year like no other for the publishing industry in Scotland, and many publishers have faced significant challenges, but by adapting to digital technology the Gaelic Books Council has been able to support Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers and to raise the profile of Gaelic literature in Scotland and internationally. The focus on digital events and online book sales is set to continue as the Gaelic Books Council’s programme for 2021 gets underway, with a new website set to launch in the spring.

The lockdown measures introduced in March 2020 forced the closure of the Gaelic bookshop in Glasgow for more than three months, and again with the second wave of the pandemic in the winter. Fortunately, the initial loss in book sales was mitigated by online sales through gaelicbooks.org, which rose 115% in 2020 compared with 2019. Online sales were driven by the increasing interest in learning the language, and by the success of new titles produced by independent Scottish publishers with grant funding from the Gaelic Books Council, such as Peter Mackay and Jo MacDonald’s 100 Dàn as Fheàrr Leinn / 100 Favourite Gaelic Poems (Luath Press) and John Urquhart’s Air an Oir (Acair).

Moving literary events online early in the first lockdown was a vital element of the Gaelic Books Council’s success in engaging with readers during 2020, and in continuing to offer Gaelic writers opportunities to earn income during a difficult time for freelancers. This started with the commissioning of a series of eight poetry videos. One video featuring the poem ‘An Cruth-atharrachaidh’ by Eòghan Stewart was viewed over 3,000 times on social media. The GBC also hosted a live poetry event as part of the Virtual Royal National Mòd in October and several online book launches via Zoom, including the launch of the Gaelic translation of Charlie Mackesy’s bestseller, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse An Gille, am Famh an Sionnach ’s an t-Each) (Luath Press), attracting large audiences from as far afield as America.

Another event which had to be moved online was the Gaelic Literature Awards 2020. The ceremony was streamed on YouTube, with prizes awarded in four categories (fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books) for titles published during the previous year, and a further two prizes for the best unpublished manuscripts for children and adults’ books. The awards ceremony was hosted by broadcaster Niall Iain MacDonald with guest presenters including weather reporter Joy Dunlop and popular children’s TV presenter Donnie Dòtaman. Viewers were also treated to a music video from the Gaelic electronic band, Whyte during the interlude.

With schools and nurseries closed, the popular Leugh is Seinn le Linda (Read and Sing with Linda) sessions also moved online, with as many as 400 households tuning in weekly to enjoy Gaelic stories and songs on YouTube with BBC ALBA children’s television presenter, Linda MacLeod. When the schools returned in September, the GBC partnered with online learning platform e-Sgoil to provide Leugh is Seinn le Linda to pupils in Gaelic Medium Education across Scotland, reaching more than 660 pupils. Leugh is Seinn le Linda ended the year with an online Christmas party featuring a Gaelic rendition of Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ (An Oidhche ron Nollaig), translated by award-winning writer Morag Ann MacNeil, and an appearance from Santa himself!

Behind the scenes, new books are in the pipeline and authors continue to benefit from GBC commission grants, with 16 writers and 20 publishers receiving support in 2020 to produce new books across a range of genres. In 2021, readers can look forward to the first Gaelic version of a George Orwell novel, Animal Farm translated by Angus Peter Campbell (Luath Press), exciting crime novels like Hiort by Iain Finlay Macleod (CLÀR) and timeless anthologies including Sgeulachdan Gàidhlig Iain Mhic a’ Ghobhainn, the first complete collection of Iain Crichton Smith’s Gaelic short stories, edited by Ian MacDonald and Moray Watson (Scottish Gaelic Texts Society).

The Gaelic Books Council’s writer development programmes also continue despite the lockdown, partnering with Scottish Book Trust and with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland to mentor writers at different stages of their careers. Several writing competitions are also planned for 2021, including one to mark 1,500 years since the birth of St Columba which is currently open for entries, and another to mark the centenary of the first Chair of the Gaelic Books Council, Professor Derick Thomson’s birth, which will be part of a wider GBC initiative celebrating Professor Thomson’s life during 2021.

In achieving all of this, the Gaelic Books Council has had the continuing support of its two main funders, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland, prioritising the aims of the National Plan for Gaelic and of the Arts Strategy for Scotland with an emphasis on artistic excellence and increasing Gaelic usage. The loyalty of our customers and the generosity of individual donors have also been vital in sustaining the organisation throughout 2020, and we look with confidence to the coming year.

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 more information and quotes, please contact Alison Lang on alison@gaelicbooks.org 

January 26, 2021

New Scots language app for young learners

 Each January Scotland celebrates the birth of our national bard, but with each passing year, Burns’ words become increasingly unfamiliar. And for youngsters struggling with lockdown and home-schooling restrictions, access to help for words like sonsie, aboon and painch from the opening lines of ‘Address To a Haggis’ can be hard to find. 

To support Scotland’s young learners, the team behind the 10-volume Scottish National Dictionary and the Dictionaries of the Scots Language Online have produced a new dictionary in app format for everyone aged eight to eighteen who speaks, reads or writes Scots or would like to do so.

The new Scots Dictionary for Schools app, produced with Scottish Government funding, provides meanings in English for 9,500 Scots words and phrases — including those found in set classroom texts — with audio guides to the pronunciation of the most difficult. 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I warmly welcome the launch of the new Scots Dictionary for Schools app. This free resource, from the Dictionaries of the Scots Language, is another useful tool for young learners of Scots and those with an interest in speaking, reading and writing in what is often the language used at home. It is important that we encourage and nurture young people’s creativity and identity as a Scots speaker.” 

Dr Rhona Alcorn, CEO of the Dictionaries of the Scots Language, added: “More and more young people are interested in learning Scots. Our new dictionary will support school-age learners, from those who encounter Scots only on Burns Night to those who are studying for an SQA Award in Scots language or studying Scots as a modern language. The free app format cuts through current restrictions on access to books and teachers and offers an up-to-date way to engage with Scottish culture.” 

The new Scots Dictionary for Schools app is downloadable free of charge from the Apple App Store and Google Play store from 25 January 2021. It arrives at a time of heightened interest in the language across multiple social media platforms. 

Further information 

  • Scots is recognised as an indigenous language of Scotland, a regional or minority language of Europe, and as a vulnerable language by UNESCO. 
  • The 2011 Scottish Census identified over 1.5 million Scots speakers in Scotland. 
  • Originally published in print in 1996 and in app format in 2014, this second edition of the Scots Dictionary for Schools app features improved content, a brand new app design, and 600 professionally recorded pronunciation guides. 
  • The Dictionaries of the Scots Language is a publicly-funded Scottish charity. As the nation’s authority on Scots, it is responsible for recording and defining the vocabulary of Scots from the earliest times to the present day. Our dictionaries span eight centuries of Scots language use and provide a unique record of the language, history, culture, and traditions of the Scots-speaking people. 
  • Contact Rhona Alcorn: 07977 136752 | rhona.alcorn@dsl.ac.uk. 

Reproduced from the Dictionaries of the Scots Language press release. 

January 25, 2021

New Scottish Publishers’ Fair set for Wigtown

With the book trade reeling from the once-in-a-century challenge of the pandemic and lockdown, Scotland’s National Book Town, Wigtown, is the venue for Stellar Words, a new annual sales fair offering hope to publishers.

In June 2021 Stellar Words will bring together small presses, established indies and large trade publishers for an event showcasing books, pamphlets, periodicals, journals, zines, ephemera and digital products.

It will link publishers with booksellers, readers, writers and literature stakeholders. With no other event quite like this in Scotland, Stellar Words will champion writing of all genres in all formats and forge connections between all the main characters in a book’s story.

Stellar Words will be free to attend and open to the public. It will initially be held over one day, with the intention to grow it into a weekend-long event with a programme of activities featuring authors and publishers.

Held in the County Buildings in Wigtown on Saturday 12 June 2021, the event details will be confirmed subject to the venue’s booking restrictions under Scotland’s local authorities’ COVID-19 safety protocols.

Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland, said: “Publishers work hard to reach new audiences for their authors all year round, but also on the individual building up of their publishing lists and profile. The Scottish Publishers’ Fair gives them a fantastic opportunity and context to meet readers directly and present to them the range of what their companies have to offer. A lovely opportunity in a great location will make this an unmissable event.”

Stellar Words was conceived by Gillian Hamnett, a freelance bookseller, proofreader and arts administrator who has worked in the literature sector for 20 years. She saw the potential for this event and successfully secured investment as part of the Spot-lit project. She said:

“I’m thrilled to be organising this event. I wanted to run a Scottish Publishers’ Fair long before the pandemic’s arrival, but it’s now more important than ever to support Scottish Publishing and provide an inclusive platform for the buying public to experience it at a dedicated event. I can’t think of a better place to do that than in Scotland’s National Book Town, alongside local booksellers, writers and readers.”

-Ends-

For further information please email Gillian Hamnett at hello@stellarwords.co.uk.

You can follow @StellarWordsWig, @darkskypages, @spot_lit_eu and @WigtownBookFest on Twitter for updates.

Spot-lit is a multi-partner, multi-regional literary tourism programme funded by the Northern Periphery & Arctic Programme and delivered in Dumfries & Galloway by Wigtown Festival Company. You can find more information here: https://www.spot-lit.eu/nine-dumfries-galloway-businesses-to-take-part-in-spot-lit-programme/

Press reproduced from Stellar Words.

January 7, 2021

City of Literature Trust selects architect-led design team for Literature House

Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust has selected Stirling Prize-winning architectural firm Witherford Watson Mann to lead the next phase of development at the Literature House in Edinburgh. They will be working in partnership with Groves-Raines Architects Studios, who have an outstanding record in conservation, restoration and reuse of historic buildings in Scotland, and with Edinburgh-based Studio MB, a multi-award winning interpretive design agency who work internationally.

The team will join forces to create a Literature House for Scotland at John Knox House and the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. It will create a home for Edinburgh’s literary story, be a catalyst to develop the wider area and through their programming, offer an inclusive year-round welcome to everyone in the city. The team will start work on the project in January with the intention of completing the feasibility study by the end of March 2021, and this will be followed by a phase of wider community consultation.

This comes following a competitive public procurement process led by RIAS Consultancy.

Ruth Plowden, Chair of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, said: “In a strong field, this team was the unanimous choice of our panel both because of the excellence of their individual expertise and their shared vision for our ambitious project. With them on board we can take our first confident steps towards creating a Literature House for Scotland in the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.”

William Mann, Director, Witherford Watson Mann, said: “We are really looking forward to working with the City of Literature Trust on the Literature House project. We have put together what we feel is a very strong team, collaborating with Edinburgh-based creative and specialist practices. We share a lot of values with Groves-Raines Architects: we both have an affinity for historic fabric, we focus on progressive and sustainable design solutions, and we are committed to the regeneration of local communities. Studio MB is  inventive and communicative storytellers who have made really vivid installations across the world. Together we hope to plant the first, robust seed of the Literary Quarter; to shape a building experience that invites and inspires, that hosts the warmth and heat of discussion, and that engages the imagination of visitors.”

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan, Culture and Communities Vice Convener, said: “We welcome the appointment of Witherford Watson Mann to lead the next step in this ambitious project to create a Literature House for Scotland – a place to discover Edinburgh’s literary heritage and contemporary creativity and learn more about our capital’s incredible storytellers, and writers. I look forward to seeing the project begin and the benefits it will bring for literature and a literary quarter in the city.”

Dr Donald Smith Chief Executive of TRACS said: “As the lead programme partner at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, TRACS is delighted to support the Literature House vision for John Knox House. It will bring new profile to the area as a showcase for Scotland’s culture, and as a hub for creatives and learners alike, locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Edinburgh Council, the Architectural Heritage Fund and Edinburgh World Heritage.

-Ends-

Notes to Editor

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

The Tender Process

RIAS Consultancy (The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) facilitated the tender process for The Trust. Members of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust’s staff and Board as well as Ásta Ásbjörnsdóttir, General Manager, John Knox House and Scottish Storytelling Centre formed the panel and were delighted by the calibre of the applicants. They were hugely impressed with the range, detail and beauty of the architects’ work but were unanimous in their decision that Witherford Watson Mann best met with the strategic brief of the project and demonstrated the most thorough understanding of the Trust’s vision for the future. Witherford Watson Mann was one of the outstanding practices, out of 18 who submitted examples of their work, invited to present to the panel alongside Carmody Groarke Architects, Page and Park, Benjamin Tindall Associates and Collective Architecture.

A London-based practice established over twenty years ago, Witherford Watson Mann Architects design to make the most of what is already there. They distil the complexities of contemporary collectives, of urban sites and public processes into durable, economical solutions that remain open to future change. In 2013 they won the RIBA Stirling Prize for their work at Astley Castle and in 2019 won the People’s Vote for the Prize for their work at Nevill Holt Opera. The prize recognises those who have made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year. They are currently designing for higher education, for small businesses, and for older people.

Based in Edinburgh, Groves-Raines Architects Studios are dedicated to the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings. Established in 1972, the practice has been at the forefront of conservation in Scotland and Ireland for over 40 years, with a broad portfolio of exceptional, award-winning projects including Lamb’s House, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and Kyle House. The team’s specialist skills in conservation planning and affinity for historic fabric to ensure that their interventions are based on a deep understanding that allows the seamless integration of the old and the new.

Founded in Edinburgh in 2004, Studio MB is a multi-award winning exhibition and interpretative design agency. They design and deliver immersive visitor experiences and stand out exhibitions for museums, heritageattractions and leading global brands the length of the UK, as well as internationally in the Middle East and India.

UNESCO City of Literature Designation – https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/home

In 2004 Edinburgh was designated the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, a permanent title celebrating Edinburgh’s status as a literary capital and pioneer in the UNESCO Creative Cities network, which now has 246 member cities in seven creative artforms across the globe. The concept of a City of Literature was devised in Edinburgh by the Trust’s founding members and there are now 39 UNESCO Cities of Literature in the world.

We see the Literature House as being the home of Edinburgh’s literary story, providing a year-round welcome with information, ideas and inspiration to help individuals connect with Edinburgh as a literary city, and Scotland as a literary nation. This is the place to discover Scotland’s literary heritage and contemporary creativity, and learn more about our incredible books, storytellers, and writers.

With Thanks to our Funders, Donors and Partners

The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Edinburgh Council, and thanks the donors and partners who make our work possible. The Literature House project is led by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust in partnership with the Scottish Storytelling Centre and TRACS. It is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council, the Church of Scotland, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, The Saltire Society, Scottish Book Trust and The List.

For further information please contact: Frances Sutton, Garron Communications francessutton@garroncommunications.com or 07841 579481

December 18, 2020

Call for Three-Year Culture Budget

Culture Counts, the collective voice of Scotland’s cultural sector, has written to Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, to ask for the announcement of a three-year culture budget in January 2021.

While Culture Counts members, which includes Literature Alliance Scotland, are aware that the Scottish Government has to manage annual uncertainty from Westminster over budget allocation, they do not believe that a three-year-agreement would be an unmanageable commitment for the Scottish Government to make. The letter also acknowledges that the level of Scottish Government investment in culture in Scotland is similar to other countries of its size.

The culture sector has experienced an awful year, with precarious-work quickly turning into no work for many. The high levels of precarious work that exist in the sector, caused in part by uncertainty and the inability to plan ahead, have a knock-on impact on its lack of diversity. The inability to plan ahead means organisations are less able to engage in sustainable partnerships across portfolio areas. Precarious work in the sector is a structural issue, linked to one-year funding arrangements from the Scottish Government.

Jennifer Hunter, Executive Leader, Culture Counts said:
 “While working on the crowd-sourced manifesto the issue of sustainability came up again and again. The sector’s ability to align with Sustainable Development Goals, the National Performance Framework and the Culture Strategy requires an absolute minimum of a three-year funding deal. The positive difference that certainty would make to a sector that’s been reeling with the uncertainty of Brexit for years and who are currently at the sharp-end of Covid-19 should not be underestimated. This, in my view, is not beyond the ability of the Scottish Government.”

Contact Andy Robertson, Communications Manager of Culture Counts
 on andy@culturecounts.scot

 

Notes to Editor

Culture Counts is the collective voice of Scotland’s cultural sector. Our members work collaboratively to place the arts, screen, heritage and creative industries at the heart of policy-making.

@culturecounts

The Scottish Government’s budget will be published on 28 January 2021, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced.
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The Crowd-Sourced Manifesto for Scottish Parliament Elections 2021 was published in November 2020 The manifesto has been crowd-sourced by Scotland’s culture sector. It identified 8 asks for the next Scottish Parliament & Scottish Government for the next five-year parliamentary term.
 https://culturecounts.scot/cultural-manifesto-2021

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December 16, 2020

The Armchair Island Traveller by Gavin Francis

We’re delighted to launch our latest Literature Talks commission today – a timely reminder of the power of books and imagination to transport us to different places and times by writer and doctor Gavin Francis.

Read The Armchair Island Traveller by Gavin Francis

Please join the conversation on Twitter using #LiteratureTalks

Literature Talks is a series of pieces commissioned by LAS, asking Scotland’s leading writers and literature producers to reflect on an aspect of Scotland’s literary landscape.

December 2, 2020

LAS introduces Next Level Round Two Awardee

We’re thrilled to introduce our Awardee for Round Two of the Next Level Programme: Katalina Watt

Next Level is LAS’ pilot career development programme that aims to equip two mid-career arts professionals (in two rounds) on the path to a senior position with the intended outcome of increasing diversity within the literature, languages and publishing sector. The Programme is supported by our funding from Creative Scotland.

Peggy Hughes, LAS Chair, said: “We’re thrilled to appoint Katalina as our Round Two Next Level Awardee and we’ve already started working with her on a tailored programme of connections and training to support her development. Katalina has such focus and drive, and her commitment to passing down the ladder to help others rise is testament to the leader we know she will become.”

Katalina Watt said: “I am delighted to be selected for the Next Level programme and can’t wait to see what opportunities, connections, and skills grow and develop from the programme. Both accessibility and elevating the voices of those still underrepresented in the arts are essential to my work in publishing, and I have always been inspired by and grateful for those who make the time to share their insights and pay it forward to others in the industry. That’s the kind of leader I hope to become and I’m so excited to work with Literature Alliance Scotland on this next step in my career.”

In addition, we were so impressed with the calibre of the other interview candidates that we have repurposed funding to help support them with some next steps in their career. The three ‘Next Steps’ awardees are Beth Cochrane, Stefan Kellhofer and Catrin Kemp who we’re working with to facilitate two industry connections and a mentoring session.

Katalina Watt is Audio and Online Assistant at Canongate Books, working across the digital list in both audio and ebook. She is also Podcast Director for khōréō, a quarterly magazine of speculative fiction elevating voices of immigrant and diaspora authors. She has experience in Audio for Little Brown Book Group, and events and bookselling for independent bookshops, most recently at Golden Hare Books. Katalina is also an author and was Longlisted for Penguin WriteNow 2020. She studied English Literature at the University of Glasgow and completed an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier.

December 1, 2020

Jackie Kay marks Christmas with Makar to Cracker special

The National Poet for Scotland or Makar Jackie Kay’s popular online show Makar to Makar returns for a Christmas special on Thursday 17 December. Re-named Makar to Cracker, Kay will host a line-up that includes the former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Jen Hadfield (the youngest poet to win the T.S. Eliot Prize) and Imtiaz Dharker, with music provided by Mercury Music Prize-nominated singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams.

Created and curated by Kay, Makar To Makar was a weekly show streamed via YouTube every Thursday at 7pm between May and August, with audiences enjoying the best of Scottish and UK contemporary poetry. Guests included the former National Poet for Scotland Liz Lochhead, Don Paterson, crime novelist Val McDermid, actor Adjoa Andoh, Ted Hughes Award-winners Raymond Antrobus and Jay Bernard, and folk music legend Peggy Seeger.

With the lockdown closing literary festivals around the world, Kay conceived of Makar to Makar in the early days of the lockdown as a way to provide hope and solace during a dark period.

Makar to Cracker will stream via the National Theatre of Scotland’s YouTube channel and its Facebook page on Thursday, 17 December at 7pm, with the show lasting approximately 90 minutes. Audiences can tune in directly via the National Theatre of Scotland YouTube channel, the National Theatre of Scotland’s Facebook page or by clicking the home page link of Makar To Makar’s website (makar2makar.com). The event is free to enjoy.

Carol Ann Duffy says, ‘I’m thrilled to be invited to perform with such an exciting poetry and music line-up for Makar to Cracker – my favourite online series during lockdown.’

Jackie Kay says, ‘Curating and hosting Makar to Makar was a joy and got me through the first lockdown! Christmas this year is going to be so different for everyone. We hope to bring some joy and some festive spirit to our Makar to Cracker and have a cracking line up of poets and singers to help you kick off your festive season. Crack open a bottle – bring your own cracker and join us!’

Makar to Makar is produced by National Theatre of Scotland in association with HOME Manchester and Edinburgh International Book Festival, the University of Caledonia and the School of Arts and Media University of Salford

– ENDS –

For further information and to request interviews, please contact Colin Waters T: 0740-052-9150. E: cwaters1974@yahoo.co.uk

Editors Notes

  1. Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh and brought up in Glasgow. Her first book The Adoption Papers won the Saltire and a Forward Prize. Trumpet, a novel circling the life of a fictional jazz musician, Joss Moody, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. Red Dust Road, her memoir telling the story of her Nigerian Birth father and Highland birth mother won the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Award and was toured by National Theatre of Scotland last year, adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta. Her latest collection of poetry Bantam was published to great acclaim. She is the third modern Makar, the National Poet of Scotland and the Chancellor of the University of Salford. Her book on the blues singer Bessie Smith is due out in 2021.
  2. Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow in 1955 and grew up in Stafford. She has written poetry for both children and adults. Her adult collections are published by Picador (most recently Sincerity, 2018) and her Collected Poems for Children by Faber. Duffy lives in Manchester where she is Creative Director of The Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.
  3. The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well as creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally and works constantly to develop new talent. Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the Company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the Company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the Company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government. nationaltheatrescotland.com
  4. HOME is Manchester’s centre for international contemporary culture. Since opening in 2015, HOME has welcomed over two million visitors to its five cinemas, two theatres, art gallery, book shop and restaurants. HOME’s ambition is to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, have fun, take risks and share great new art with the widest possible audience. The patrons of HOME are Danny Boyle, actress Suranne Jones, playwright and poet Jackie Kay CBE, artists Rosa Barba and Phil Collins, filmmaker Asif Kapadia, and actress and author Meera Syal CBE. homemcr.org
  5. The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest public celebration of the written word in the world, bringing together over 900 writers, poets, politicians, illustrators, journalists and thinkers with audiences to discuss, debate and share ideas in the heart of Scotland’s capital city over 18 days in August.
  6. The School of Arts and Media University of Salford is a dynamic creative hub which offers a range of interdisciplinarity programmes. They are the heart of creativity in Salford, offering a programme of events that encourage engagement with our staff, students, industry and the local community. Their £55 million New Adelphi flagship building offers a diverse range of spaces and equipment to suit all creative requirements including the New Adelphi Theatre. They are also the only UK university to have a campus at MediaCityUK – an international media hub with neighbours such as the BBC and ITV – with industry-standard facilities that offer a professional environment for their students. The school has a strong legacy of successful alumni across a range of fields, including actors, stand-up comedians, musicians, journalists and designers. They are delighted that Jackie Kay is our writer in residence, as well as our Chancellor of The University of Salford.
November 30, 2020

Douglas Stuart wins Booker Prize 2020 for ‘Shuggie Bain’

Congratulations to Douglas Stuart whose debut novel, Shuggie Bain, (Picador, UK) was awarded the Booker Prize for Fiction at the virtual ceremony on Thursday 19 November 2020.

His novel, which was turned down 32 times before it was finally published, is about a boy in 1980s Glasgow trying to support his mother as she struggles with addiction and poverty.

Glasgow-born Stuart, who lives in New York, is the second Scot to win the prize, following James Kelman in 1994 for How Late it Was, How Late.

Chair of judges Margaret Busby said the judges’ decision was unanimous and they only “took an hour to decide”.

The book is “challenging, intimate and gripping… anyone who reads it will never feel the same” she said.

 

November 20, 2020

2020 Highland Book Prize longlist announced

Prize organisers are delighted to announce that 13 diverse titles have been selected for the Highland’s only annual book prize.

The Highland Book Prize was established in 2017 to help celebrate the finest work that recognises the rich culture, heritage and landscape of the Highlands. It aims to showcase the literary talent of the region and to raise the profile of work created in or about the Highlands.

The 2020 Highland Book Prize Longlist includes:

 

The Nature of Summer by Jim Crumley, published by Saraband (nature and environment).

Cottongrass Summer by Roy Dennis, published by Saraband (nature and conservation).

The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliott, published by Walker Books (young adult fiction).

The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford, published by Atlantic Books (fiction).

Plague Clothes by Robert Alan Jamieson, published by Taproot Press (poetry).

To The Lake by Kapka Kassabova, published by Granta (memoir, reportage, travel).

Nàdar De | Some Kind Of by Pàdraig MacAoidh | Peter Mackay, published by Acair Books (poetry, Gaelic and English).

In Search of Angels by Alistair Moffat, published by Birlinn (travel and spirituality).

An Archive of Happiness by Elizabeth K Reeder, published by Penned in the Margins (fiction).

The Changing Outer Hebrides: Galson and the Meaning of Place by Frank Rennie, published by Acair Books (history and nature).

Grimoire by Robin Robertson, published by Picador, Pan Macmillan (poetry).

Summer by Ali Smith, published by Hamish Hamilton (fiction).

Pine by Francine Toon, published by Transworld Publishers (fiction).

Presented by the Highland Society of London, The Highland Book Prize is facilitated by Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre in partnership with the Ullapool Book Festival. The William Grant Foundation provides funding to encourage public engagement with the Highland Book Prize.

The first round of judging was completed in October by a panel of 145 volunteer readers. The panel of industry professionals and avid readers from the Highlands and further afield was tasked with reading and reviewing 52 entries from over 30 publishers. Readers spent the summer immersed in fiction, poetry, memoir, history, nature, crime, young adult and Gaelic titles. With such an abundance of high-quality entries, the panel and prize organisers have had a tough job in refining the list down to 13 books representing the best books with a Highland connection published in 2020. Thanks to everyone who contributed to finalising the 2020 longlist.

Rachel Humphries, Director of Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, said: “It has been a pleasure to host this prize since 2017, watching it gain support year on year. Our centre has been closed for six months, fracturing our relationship with writers and the ability to support the Scottish writing community. More than ever, this prize is important. It allows us to celebrate literature and place, something that unites many of us. When movement is becoming more and more restricted, we travel through these books to the Highlands, glimpsing a snapshot through the writers’ eyes. Seven of the longlist titles are by authors born or living in the Highlands, demonstrating the stellar literary talent in or from the region. I am delighted that we have Peter Mackay’s collection Nàdar de, the first Gaelic title to be longlisted, and that previous winners Kapka Kassabova and Ali Smith are represented. The latter book ‘Summer’ by Inverness born, Ali Smith is joined by ‘Plague Clothes’ by Shetlander, Robert Alan Jamieson, in exploration of the collective impact of Covid-19, amongst other current pertinent themes. We recruited the help of a young adult reading panel this year and I’m delighted to see that their work has promoted the Good Hawk by Joseph Elliot into the longlist.

“We are also delighted to announce that from late November onwards, the Highland Book Prize and Moniack Mhor will be delivering a programme of digital events including talks and workshops with longlisted writers to connect people with their work. I am excited to see the shortlist in February and to find out which book will win the accolade of the 2020 Highland Book Prize later in the year.”

The second round of judging to determine the shortlist will be undertaken by a panel of expert judges including novelist and poet Kevin MacNeil; poet Jen Hadfield; Mark Wringe, senior lecturer in Gaelic Language and Culture at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, and panel chair Alex Ogilvie of the Highland Society of London.

Judge Mark Wringe commented: “Scotland has long looked to the Highlands for essential images of itself to project to the world, and yet at the same time it tends to think diversity lives elsewhere.  Those who think that should take a look at this long list, and see they are right on the first point, and completely wrong on the second.   From internationally acclaimed writers to new names, from major publishers to smaller feisty ones, with fiction, non-fiction and poetry – in more than one language –  Highland readers have chosen a hugely varied long list of new writing, by writers who come from, choose to live in or write about the Highlands and Islands.  Even getting that down to a shortlist is going to be a fascinating task for the judges, but an inspiring one”.

The judges will announce the shortlist in March of 2021, with the winner being revealed on the 8th of May 2021 at an event hosted by the Ullapool Book Festival, the Highland Society of London and Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre. The winning entry for the best work published in 2020 will receive a cash prize of £1000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor.

For further information please contact Mirren Rosie, Coordinator of the Highland Book Prize on 01463741675 / 07842 040165 or highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk

Twitter:             @highlandbook1

Instagram:        @highlandbookprize

Facebook:         @highlandbookprize

High Resolution images and a summary of each book are available on request.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editor:

Moniack Mhor is Scotland’s National Writing Centre. Based in the Scottish Highlands, it offers a wide writer development programme including residential courses in a range of genres, tutored by some of the finest authors in the UK and beyond. Other support offered by Moniack Mhor includes retreats, professional residencies, workshops and bursaries, enhancing access by assisting with course fees. The centre also runs a programme for young writers. It is a charitable organisation and supported by Creative Scotland as a Regular Funded Organisation.

The Highland Society of London is a charity which exists to promote and support the traditions and culture of the Highlands of Scotland.

The first Ullapool Book Festival was held in May 2005. It was founded by a group of literary enthusiasts in Ullapool Entertainments, the local voluntary arts organisation founded in 1982.

The family shareholders of William Grant & Sons established the William Grant Foundation in 2014 as a non-profit association to oversee and direct their charitable donations. The William Grant Foundation is committed to a future where everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to thrive, a belief that is deeply rooted in the core values shared by the family and the company.

 

November 9, 2020

How Are You Sleeping? By Hannah Lavery

We’re excited to launch our latest Literature Talks commission today – an intense and thought-provoking reflection on wellbeing in these challenging times by award-winning poet, playwright and performer Hannah Lavery.

Read How Are You Sleeping? by Hannah Lavery.

Hannah joined Janice Forsyth on The Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Scotland on Mon 16 Nov to talk about writing the piece. It was featured as a show highlight and you can listen again here. (10mins)

Join the conversation on Twitter using #LiteratureTalks.

Literature Talks is a series of pieces commissioned by LAS, asking Scotland’s leading writers and literature producers to reflect on an aspect of Scotland’s literary landscape.

 

 

November 2, 2020