A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

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

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers opens on Mon 26 Oct

The Hardship Fund is to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s for freelance professionals in Scotland whose work has direct creative outcomes. This can include (but is not limited to) a writer or maker of poetry, prose or fiction, a playwright, a visual artist, actor or theatre-maker, a comedian, dancer, musician, craft-maker or designer. You will derive a significant proportion of your income from your role in creating or producing original artistic, creative or design material.

  • The fund offers a one-off monetary contribution of between £500 – £2000
  • If you have specific access needs, you can request more than this
  • No deadlines – the fund will only stay open for as long as the funds are available with each of the delivery partners
  • Applicants must first register on the Creative Scotland online application portal which opens at noon on Mon 26 Oct 2020 on the Hardship Fund page
  • Then you will be directed to the funding delivery partner to complete your application
  • The Society of Authors is the delivery partner distributing £600k for Scotland’s writers, illustrators and translators.

For more info & guidance – https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/hardship-fund-for-creative-freelancers

October 23, 2020

Arts professionals / freelancers wanted for Next Level Round Two

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

Apply to Round 2 of Next Level for 1:1 online mentoring, training & networking opportunities tailored to your career goals.

The Next Level Programme is a pilot 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 our sector.

 

It’s designed for a mid-career arts professional who’s either employed by or works as a freelancer for an organisation in Scotland’s literature & languages sector.

This second round is for one person and includes up to 80 contact hours (10 days), delivered digitally due to Covid-19, over three months from November 2020.

We particularly welcome applications from those who self-identify as a Person of Colour (POC), working-class and/or disabled and their intersections.

You’ll get:

  • 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.

We consider mid-career to be someone with 4 to 6 years’ experience of working in the sector and who would not define themselves as working at senior management level.

How to apply:

Download our application pack from the website and email the completed application form and nomination form to Jenny Kumar on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk with a short covering letter by the deadline.

This opportunity is now closed for applications.

 

October 13, 2020

Tenders invited for cultural development of 15th century John Knox House

The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is calling today (25 September 2020) for architects and designers to bring their expertise and creativity and enter a competitive tender process to work with the Trust to create a Literature House for Scotland at John Knox House in Edinburgh.

The development at John Knox House would be part of a wider ambition to enhance the Literary Quarter around the Netherbow area of the Royal Mile and invest in and develop the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Ali Bowden, Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, said:

“We’re excited and pleased to be entering this next stage in our long-term cultural development plan for John Knox House and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. We’re looking for a really excellent and inspiring design team to work with, and people who understand how special the location is and how important these buildings are to Edinburgh. Once the team is appointed, our priority will be to complete some feasibility work so that in 2021 we will be able to present detailed ideas for the future of John Knox House and the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Working together with the Church of Scotland (who own both buildings), the City of Edinburgh Council, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland, and the local community, our hope is that we will transform the way Scotland understands its literary story by reinvigorating this magnificent and historic building and giving it a new purpose as Scotland’s first Literature House.”

The Church of Scotland’s Chief Officer, Dave Kendall, welcomed the next stage of the Literature House project and said:

“The proposal to create a Literature House for Scotland at John Knox House has great potential and we welcome the energy and vision which has brought the project to this stage. The production of a high-quality feasibility study is a critical step in ensuring that the project is set up for success and I am really looking forward to the next steps in the journey as the project moves forwards starting with the all-important preparatory phase.”

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.”

Cllr Donald Wilson, City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Communities Convener, said:

“We welcome this next step in this ambitious project to further develop this place to discover Edinburgh’s literary heritage and contemporary creativity, and learn more about our incredible storytellers, and writers.”

Cllr Amy McNeese-Mechan, City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Communities Vice-Convener, added:

“In addition to the benefits for literature and a literary quarter in the city, looking to the future role of the historic John Knox House is a positive statement of cultural ambition and intent in these challenging times.”

Ruth Plowden, Chair of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, said:

“The creation of Scotland’s first Literature House is a bold and fitting development for the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. Our hope is that this new space will provide a home for our literary story, be a catalyst to develop the wider area, and offer a year-round welcome to everyone in the city.”

The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is working with RIAS Consultancy to tender for a design team through public procurement. The notice for the Tender can be found at www.cityofliterature.com

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

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. cityofliterature.com @EdinCityofLit edinburgh@cityofliterature.com

UNESCO City of Literature Designation: 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. 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.

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 via francessutton@garroncommunications.com or 07841 579481

Reproduced from the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust press release.

September 25, 2020

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2020 shortlists / Na Duaisean Litreachais 2020 geàrr-liostaichean

Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean air geàrr-liostaichean nan Duaisean Litreachais 2020 fhoillseachadh. Tha duaisean rim faighinn ann an sia roinnean, eadar leabhraichean a chaidh fhoillseachadh bho 1 Cèitean 2019 gu 30 Giblean 2020, agus làmh-sgrìobhainnean nach eil fhathast ann an clò.

An Leabhar Ficsein as Fheàrr (Duais Chomann Gàidhealach Lunnainn)

Air an Oir, Iain D. Urchardan (Acair)
An Tiortach Beag agus Sgeulachdan Eile, Mòrag Anna NicNèill (Acair)
Cuibhle an Fhortain, Mòrag Law (Luath Press)
Dà Shamhradh ann an Raineach, Graham Cooper (Luath Press)

 

An Leabhar Bàrdachd as Fheàrr (Duais Ruaraidh MhicThòmais)


Ceum air Cheum / Step by Step, Crìsdean MacIlleBhàin (Acair)
Cluaintean Uaine, Seòras Moireach agus Dòmhnall MacIllÌosa (Acair)
Dàin nan Dùil, Deborah Moffatt (CLÀR)
Nàdar De / Some Kind Of, Pàdraig MacAoidh (Acair)

 

An Leabhar Neo-fhicsein as Fheàrr (Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek)

Às na Freumhan, Timothy Currie Armstrong (Clò Ostaig)
Eadar Dà Shaoghal / Between Two Worlds, Dòmhnall MacLeòid (Acair)
Seòl mo Bheatha, Dòmhnall Eachann Meek (CLÀR)
The Highest Apple / An Ubhal As Àirde
, deas. Wilson McLeod & Mìcheal Newton (Francis Boutle)

 

An Leabhar as Fheàrr do Chloinn/Òigridh


Calum agus àirne Mhoire, Flòraidh NicDhòmhnaill (Flòraidh NicDhòmhnaill)
Mo Ghranaidh agus an Losgann Mòr, Marie C. NicAmhlaigh, (Acair)
Tintin: Ciste Chastafiore, Hergé, eadar-th. Raghnaid Sandilands (Dalen Ltd)
Tintin: Slat-rìoghail Rìgh Ottokar, Hergé, eadar-th. Raghnaid Sandilands (Dalen Ltd)

 

Làmh-sgrìobhainn Neo-fhoillsichte as Fheàrr do Chloinn/Òigridh
Ailig agus an Dalek Gàidhlig, Shelagh Chaimbeul
Cèic airson Màiri, Uilleam Moireach
Donaidh Dathach, Gwen Bowie
’S toigh leam slug salach, Ceitidh Hutton

 

Làmh-sgrìobhainn Neo-fhoillsichte as Fheàrr do dh’Inbhich
Àm nan Aisling Àraid, Robbie A. MacLeòid
Anns a’ Chiaradh, Rody Gorman
cruthan , Nathaniel Harrington
Linne Dhomhainn, Alistair Paul

Thèid na duaisean a thoirt seachad Diardaoin 17 Sultain 2020, ann an tachartas bhidio a thèid a chraoladh air YouTube, Facebook agus Twitter.

Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean an comain Chomann Gàidhealach Lunnainn airson taic a chumail ris an duais airson an leabhair fhicsein as fheàrr. Tha sinn taingeil do theaghlach Ruaraidh MhicThòmais, nach maireann, airson cead ainm an athar a chur air an duais airson an leabhair bhàrdachd as fheàrr. Agus tha sinn cuideachd a’ toirt taing don Ollamh Dòmhnall Meek airson cead ainm a chur air an duais airson leabhar neo-fhicsein, agus airson a thaic leantainneach do Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean thairis air na bliadhnaichean.

Gheibhear barrachd fiosrachaidh bho Alison Lang aig alison@gaelicbooks.org no 07949618557.

Notaichean do luchd-deasachaidh

Is e Comhairle nan Leabhraichean a’ phrìomh bhuidheann ann an Alba a tha a’ toirt taic do sgrìobhadh agus foillseachadh sa Ghàidhlig. Is e buidheann charthannais a th’ ann an Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, a tha a’ faighinn maoineachadh bho Alba Chruthachail agus Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Bho 2010 gu 2019, bha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean a’ brosnachadh sgrìobhadh ùr sa Ghàidhlig le Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek, a’ comharrachadh nan làmh-sgrìobhainnean neo-fhoillsichte as fheàrr. Is e 2020 a’ chiad bhliadhna de na Duaisean Litreachais, a tha a’ fosgladh na farpais gu leabhraichean foillsichte, a bharrachd air leabhraichean nach eil fhathast ann an clò. Chithear na leabhraichean a fhuair Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek aighttps://gaelicbooks.org/index.php?route=information/information&cat=3&information_id=198.

www.gaelicbooks.org

 

 English

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2020 shortlists

The Gaelic Books Council (Comhairle nan Leabhraichean) has announced the shortlists for the Gaelic Literature Awards 2020. Prizes are to be awarded in six categories, for titles published between 1 May 2019 and 30 April 2020, and for unpublished manuscripts.

Best Fiction Book (Highland Society of London Prize)

Air an Oir, John D. Urquhart (Acair)
An Tiortach Beag agus Sgeulachdan Eile, Morag Ann MacNeil (Acair)
Cuibhle an Fhortain, Morag Law (Luath Press)
Dà Shamhradh ann an Raineach, Graham Cooper (Luath Press)

 

Best Poetry Book (Derick Thomson Prize)


Ceum air Cheum / Step by Step, Christopher Whyte (Acair)
Cluaintean Uaine, George L. Murray and Donald Gillies (Acair)
Dàin nan Dùil, Deborah Moffatt (CLÀR)
Nàdar De / Some Kind Of, Peter Mackay (Acair)

 

Best Non-fiction Book (Donald Meek Prize)


Às na Freumhan, Timothy Currie Armstrong (Clò Ostaig)
Eadar Dà Shaoghal / Between Two Worlds, Donald MacLeod (Acair)
Seòl mo Bheatha, Donald E. Meek (CLÀR)
The Highest Apple / An Ubhal As Àirde, ed. Wilson McLeod & Michael Newton (Francis Boutle)

 

Best Book for Children/Young People


Calum agus àirne Mhoire, Flora MacDonald (Flora MacDonald)
Mo Ghranaidh agus an Losgann Mòr, Marie C. Macaulay, (Acair)
Tintin: Ciste Chastafiore, Hergé, trans. Raghnaid Sandilands (Dalen Ltd)
Tintin: Slat-rìoghail Rìgh Ottokar, Hergé, trans. Raghnaid Sandilands (Dalen Ltd)

 

Best Unpublished Manuscript for Children/Young People
Ailig agus an Dalek Gàidhlig, Shelagh Campbell
Cèic airson Màiri, William Murray
Donaidh Dathach, Gwen Bowie
’S toigh leam slug salach, Ceitidh Hutton

 

Best Unpublished Manuscript for Adults
Àm nan Aisling Àraid, Robbie A. MacLeod
Anns a’ Chiaradh, Rody Gorman
cruthan , Nathaniel Harrington
Linne Dhomhainn, Alistair Paul

The prizes will be awarded on Thursday 17 September 2020 in an online event to be broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The Gaelic Books Council is grateful to the Highland Society of London for sponsoring the prize for the best fiction book. We thank the family of Derick Thomson for their permission to name the prize for best poetry book after their late father. We also thank Professor Donald Meek for lending his name to the prize for the best non-fiction book, and for his continued support for the Gaelic Books Council over the years.

Further information is available from Alison Lang at alison@gaelicbooks.org or 07949618557.

Notes for editors

The Gaelic Books Council (Comhairle nan Leabhraichean) is the lead organisation in Scotland supporting writing and publishing in Gaelic. It is a registered charity and receives funding from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

From 2010 to 2019, the Gaelic Books Council encouraged and celebrated new Gaelic writing with the Donald Meek Award, offering an annual prize for the best unpublished manuscript. 2020 is the first year of the new Gaelic Literature Awards, opening up the competition to include titles newly in print as well as unpublished manuscripts. Information about previous winners of the Donald Meek Award is available at:

https://gaelicbooks.org/index.php?route=information/information&cat=3&information_id=198.

August 28, 2020

LAS welcomes Super Power Agency & Scottish BAME Writers’ Network to membership

We’re delighted to announce that The Super Power Agency and The Scottish BAME Writers’ Network, have joined LAS as a Network Associate and Full Member, respectively. We’re looking forward to working with both these fantastic organisations and their teams more closely.

The Super Power Agency (SPA) is working with Scotland’s most disadvantaged and under-resourced young people aged 8-18 years to change the statistic that one quarter of all Scots pupils, leave primary school functionally illiterate. Their creative writing workshops, interdisciplinary programmes, and mentoring make learning fun. They encourage pupils to put pen to paper, build their writing skills and express themselves with confidence. Currently partnered with 12 schools, SPA volunteers share their time and talent to support the work of young writers, teachers and youth workers. Ultimately, they’d like to bring their writing workshops to schools and communities throughout Scotland. SPA is dedicated to showcasing the written works of the young people who take part in their projects and have already published eighteen books of their writing through their own imprint Super Power Books. One of the first ‘The Leither’s Guide to Leith’ is now housed in the archives of the National Library of Scotland – quite an accomplishment for its young authors. SPA can be found on: Twitter @superpow3; Instagram:@Superpoweragency; Facebook: @superpoweragency; and LinkedIn: Superpoweragency

The Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) provides advocacy, literary and professional development networking opportunities for BAME writers based in or from Scotland. Since 2018 they have worked to facilitate necessary conversations around inclusive programming in an effort to overcome systemic barriers that BAME writers often face. As an organisation run by people of colour SBWN prioritises BAME-led opportunities and are keen to spotlight and promote the diverse literary voices in Scotland while remaining as accessible as possible to marginalised groups. SBWN can be found on Twitter @ScotBAMEwriters

 

August 3, 2020

Board members wanted for Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC)

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is seeking to appoint new members to its Board. The appointments are for three years and will run from November 2020.

SLIC is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information related matters. It is a registered charity and an independent company. It is also a membership organisation representing the interests of public, academic, FE College and special interest libraries within Scotland. The organisation has been going through a period of growth, delivering a range of projects and initiatives on behalf of the Scottish Government and partner organisations.

SLIC particularly welcomes expressions of interest from individuals with experience in human resources and organisational development, although a general interest in libraries is also relevant.

Applications from marginalised groups, including disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic communities would be particularly welcome.

Download the SLIC Board Information Pack and find out more about SLIC by visiting the About Us pages.

Send a CV together with a brief statement outlining the reasons for your interest and what you would bring to the Board to the Chief Executive at applications@scottishlibraries.org no later than 12 noon on Friday 21 August 2020.

July 13, 2020

Landmark survey on perceptions & experiences of Scotland’s BAME writers

In spring 2020, Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) partnered with EDI Scotland to gather the perceptions and experiences of BAME writers in and from Scotland. This survey aimed to assess gaps, absences, and barriers to participation in Scotland’s literary sector, and to help SBWN plan inclusive programming during their pilot programme and beyond. Following SBWN’s Call to Action to the literary sector in June, the SBWN survey results further highlight the need for lasting change.

Key findings from respondents include:

  • 62.5% felt that their ethnic identity or race had been a barrier to success in Scotland’s literary sector (within the past 12 months).
  • 26.7% had experienced a racist incident at a literary event or activity in the past 12 months.
  • 68.8% disagreed or strongly disagreed that Scottish books, journals, and literary publications reflect the diversity of Scotland.
  • 71.9% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, ‘I am aware of the diversity of BAME writers that exist in Scotland’.
  • 84.8% overwhelmingly disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, ‘White Scottish audiences are aware of the diversity of BAME writers that exist in Scotland’.
  • 78.2% disagreed or strongly disagreed that BAME and white Scottish people have equal opportunities to succeed in Scotland’s literary sector.

Several respondents commented on the issues of organisations excluding local BAME artists, saying it risked a “systemic erasure of this history in Scotland” and “institutions and festivals do not pay enough attention to BAME artists from working-class communities in Scotland.”

For those who had experienced racist incidents and microaggressions at literary events, several respondents noted the failure of event chairs or facilitators to adequately address the situation when it occurred. Further comments highlighted the additional emotional labour often involved when performing or talking about their work.

Three respondents mentioned that literary opportunities were improving for BAME people. However, the results highlight there are still significant and systematic barriers in place.

The full survey report includes recommendations to the sector. Click here to read it. A few select responses are shown below.

  • Provide more developmental support to emerging BAME writers.
  • “Ensure a diversity of BAME writers, including local and working-class BAME writers, are represented through events and activities” and avoid recreating the “same cliques or gated spaces that BAME writers might experience in the wider literary sector”.
  • “Challenge views that suggest diversity and quality are incompatible.”
  • “Upskill literary event chairs and facilitators to challenge microaggressions, inappropriate questions and abuse directed at panellist and performers.”
  • “For white senior figures in Scotland’s literary sector, take responsibility to address inequalities in the literary sector and do not place this onus on BAME people.”

The survey results may be read in tandem with the recent Rethinking Diversity in Publishing report (The Bookseller, Goldsmiths, University of London, Spread the Word), also published this month.

Read the full report here. 

Information reproduced from the Scottish BAME Writers’ Network press release. 

July 9, 2020

Obituary: Professor Douglas Gifford

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Douglas Gifford who died peacefully at the age of 79 on 28 June 2020. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Douglas Gifford, as his friend and former colleague Allan Riach wrote in The Herald “was one of Glasgow University’s most distinguished Professors, a teacher of Scottish Literature who was an inspiration for generations of students over almost half a century, and a figure of crucial significance in modern Scotland.

“He was a path-breaking literary critic, editor and historian whose lasting influence continues to yield ever-widening benefits and whose memory is held in great affection by innumerable friends, colleagues and former students.”

With an encyclopedic knowledge, he edited and co-edited major works on Scottish Literature and published on James Hogg, Neil Gunn and Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

A tireless supporter of Scottish writing and publishing, Douglas Gifford was involved with various activities with the Saltire Society and their Saltire Literary Awards, he was a Chair of the Scottish Literature Forum (from which LAS evolved), the Faculty of Advocates Honorary Librarian for Walter Scott’s Library at Abbotsford and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

“With typical flair and commitment, he participated in Edinburgh summer schools, extra-mural classes, international conferences, professional development courses for school-teachers, in the Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) symposia.”

His contribution to the Scottish Literature Forum was valued for the knowledge and insights he brought from the academic world and the international community of Scottish Literature scholars, as well as his genial chairmanship and sense of humour.

Read the full obituary written by Professor Riach, which appeared in The Herald on Fri 3 July 2020: A path-breaking academic who re-defined the world of modern Scottish Literature. 

 

July 7, 2020

Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing

Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing is the first in-depth academic study in the UK on diversity in trade fiction and the publishing industry with a particular focus on three genres: literary fiction, crime/thriller, and young adult. These genres were chosen because of the way in which they varied in terms of the racial and ethnic diversity of the authors published.

Written by Dr Anamik Saha and Dr Sandra van Lente, the project is a partnership between Goldsmiths, University of London, Spread the Word and The Bookseller, and is based on interviews with authors, agents and representatives from all of the major publishing houses, including CEOs and managing directors, editors, designers and marketing, PR and sales staff. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it is published by Goldsmiths Press.

The research entailed qualitative interviews with:

  • 113 professionals in the publishing industry

  • authors, agents, CEOs and managing directors, editors, designers, staff in marketing, PR and sales, as well as booksellers and literature festival organisers

  • respondents from both big and small publishing houses, literary agencies, and booksellers. All the major publishing houses were represented in the research.

Interviewees were asked about their practices and their experience of publishing writers of colour.

Primarily focusing on the so-called ‘neutral’ components of publishing (acquisition, promotion, sales and retail), the report found:

  • assumptions about audiences being white and middle-class still prevail, which is the only audience the big publishers are interested in

  • publishers still see writers of colour as a ‘commercial risk’

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic and working-class audiences are undervalued by publishers, economically and culturally, impacting on the acquisition, promotion and selling of writers of colour

  • comping practices, when books deemed similar are compared to others as a predictor of sales, create obstacles that privilege established authors and restrict ‘new voices’

  • continued ambiguity of ‘diversity’ as both a moral and economic imperative.

The report is launched as part of a virtual #RethinkingDiversityWeek which runs from 12pm on Tuesday 23 June to Friday 26 June 2020.

You can download and read the Executive Summary here and the full report here.

In the report’s foreword, 2019 Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo said: “Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing arrives as another clarion call to an industry which, with all the apparent goodwill in the world, hasn’t changed fast enough to become more inclusive. There is also the misguided belief, still in the 21st century, that Black and Asian people are not considered to be a substantial readership, or to even be readers. I hope that those who need to read this report pay attention to its recommendations on target audiences, notions of quality and partnerships for change.”

Dr Anamik Saha, Lead Researcher for Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing, said: “Our study finds that publishers and booksellers do not have the resources, know-how, or sadly, the inclination to reach wider audiences. They do not see the economic or cultural benefit. Big publishers and booksellers need to radically reimagine their audience. The entire industry is essentially set up to cater for white, middle-class readers, in terms of the books it produces, the media it engages, even the look and feel of bookstores and the demographics they serve. This has to change.”

Philip Jones, Editor of The Bookseller, said: “Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing isn’t just another report into publishing’s poor record on diversity. It scratches beneath the surface and digs into why publishing, for all of its fine words and initiatives, is changing very slowly, and why much of the good work is now being done by new presses (outside the corporates) and by individuals who did not find publishing willing to change. As an industry we need to understand the way forward. This report, which The Bookseller was pleased to support from its beginning, can put the trade on that journey.”

For that journey to happen, the ‘opacity’ of online retailers, many of whom declined to participate in the study, who change parameters which affect the algorithms on book trends and readership, has to be more transparent. The report also claims that supermarkets could do more to reach diverse communities instead of only selling a limited range of books.

Award-winning author Alex Wheatle MBE said: “We have a wonderful opportunity to address the disparities in the publishing industry now that we have everyone’s attention. We want to work with partners to address all of these inequities, and publishers now need to invest in the value of Black writing. Publishers need to understand the value of Black narratives and not be seen, in their minds, as of lesser value commercially. Publishers need to see these narratives on their own terms, as great storytelling, and to market and support them in the way they deserve.”

Rishi Dastidar, Chair, Spread the Word, said: “The need to rethink diversity shouldn’t be viewed as a negative, far from it. The report clearly shows that there are untapped audiences that can be reached and sold to. #PublishingPaidMe and the launch of the Black Writers’ Guild show that publishing absolutely has a role to play in changing the unequal landscape. Through fiction and non-fiction, the industry is in a prime position to tell the stories that we all need to know and hear. So we must do all we can to start to dismantle the structures, and assumptions, that hold writers of colour back.”

Among its wide-ranging recommendations, the report calls on publishers, agents and booksellers to reflect on, and challenge, their practices, behaviour and cultural biases, and to develop strategic alliances with, and to invest in, writing agencies and audience engagement practitioners to help identify and develop talented writers of colour.

Information reproduced from Spread the Word website. 

June 24, 2020

Edinburgh City of Literature seeks new Trustees

Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is looking to appoint two to three enthusiastic new Board members with particular experience in one or more of the following: finance, large-scale building projects, community engagement, and human resources.

They want their Board and programme of work to have broad representation and welcome applications from across all communities.

Are you interested in being part of the leadership of the City of Literature and supporting the creation of a Literature House for Scotland in Edinburgh? Are you inspired by Edinburgh being the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, a pioneer in an international network of Creative Cities spanning the globe? Apply by 5pm on Friday 3 July 2020.

It is their aim for new appointees, once approved, to formally take up their post from September 2020, for a period of up to three years. The posts are not remunerated but some expenses are covered as per the Board Members’ Expenses Policy.

Their Trustee Information Pack contains information about the role, requirements and the application process. Please download this pack here or contact edinburgh@cityofliterature.com.  For information about the Trust and the Board please visit the Board section of their website.

 

June 16, 2020

2020 Highland Book Prize opens

Submissions for the 2020 Highland Book Prize are open. Entries close at 5pm on Wednesday 19 August 2020.

The Prize aims to bring recognition to, and develop a readership for, books created in or about the Highlands of Scotland. It is open to works of fiction, non-fiction poetry and short stories with a strong connection to the Highlands.

Books must be published by an established UK-based publisher or imprint between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 31 2020 for the 2020 prize, which will be presented in May 2021 at the Ullapool Book Festival.

The winning entry will receive a cash prize of £1000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre (if the current pandemic allows).

To be eligible for submission to The Highland Book Prize, titles must comply with at least one of the following criteria:

  • Promote or concern itself with Highland culture, heritage or landscape
  • Have a significant amount of activity set in the Highlands
  • The author(s) must have been born/brought up in the Highlands
  • The author(s) must have lived in the Highlands for a period of six years or more

For the purpose of the Highland Book Prize, the “Highlands” are defined as the 2020 Local Authority areas Argyll & Bute, Highland, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Western Isles and Moray.

More information and how to apply.

June 10, 2020

Litir gu Glaschu | Letter to Glasgow

Bidh iad ag ràdh gu bheil ‘daoine a’ cur ri Glaschu’, ach dè tha a’ tachairt às aonais nan daoine ri sràidireachd a-muigh? Ciamar a tha an glasadh-sìos air ar beatha sa bhaile atharrachadh, agus dè bhios eadar-dhealaichte nuair a thig sinn a-mach a-rithist?

Tha Glaschu Beò agus Comhairle nan Leabhraichean ag iarraidh muinntir a’ bhaile agus Gaidheil Ghlaschu Litir gu Glaschu a sgrìobhadh, a’ cur an cèill na smuaintean aca aig an àm annasach seo. Bidh an fharpais a’ ruith gu 29 Ògmhios 2020, agus thèid aon litir a thaghadh airson duais £500 is thèid fhoillseachadh air-loidhne.

Feumaidh an sgrìobhadair a bhith 18 bliadhna a dh’aois no nas sine, agus feumaidh an litir a bhith sa Ghàidhlig agus nas lugha na 750 facal.

Thuirt Alison Lang, Stiùiriche Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean:
“An-uiridh, nuair a rinn Glaschu Beò a’ chiad fharpais airson ‘Litir gu Glaschu’, bha an litir a bhuannaich a’ bruidhinn mu cho trang is beothail ’s a bha am baile, ach tha cùisean eadar- dhealaichte a-nis. Tha daoine air a bhith cruthachail ged a tha iad glaiste a-staigh, agus tha sinn an dòchas gum bi an fharpais seo a’ brosnachadh sgrìobhadairean a bhith a’ cur an cèill am beachdan air Glaschu aig an àm neònach seo.”

Thuirt an Comhairliche Daibhidh Dòmhnallach, Cathraiche Ghlaschu Beò agus Iar- cheannard Chomhairle Baile Ghlaschu:
“Tron duilgheadas seo tha muinntir Ghlaschu air a bhith a’ lorg dòighean ùra a bhith a’ conaltradh ri chèile aig astar sàbhailte, agus tha an fharpais ‘Litir gu Glaschu’ a’ toirt deagh chothrom do luchd na Gàidhlig a bhith a’ bruidhinn ris a’ choimhearsnachd aca. Tha mi a’ coimhead le fiùghair ris na litrichean aca a leughadh, airson sealladh sònraichte fhaighinn air a’ bhaile mhòr againn aig an àm duilich seo.”

Airson nan riaghailtean gu lèir agus fios mu bhith a’ cur a-steach tagradh, faic glasgowlife.org.uk/gaelicarts

Ceistean bho na meadhanan gu: Joe Sanders, Oifigear Reic is Margaidheachd Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean, aig joe@gaelicbooks.org

Fios do luchd-deasachaidh:
Mu dheidhinn Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean
Is e Comhairle nan Leabhraichean a’ phrìomh bhuidheann a tha a’ cumail taic ri sgrìobhadairean agus foillsichearan Gàidhlig. Is e buidheann-carthannais chlàraichte a th’ ann (SC025026) agus tha e a’ faighinn maoineachadh bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail.
www.gaelicbooks.org

Mu dheidhinn Ghlaschu Beò

Is e buidheann-carthannais neo-eisimeileach a th’ ann an Glaschu Beò, a bhios a’ tairgsinn cultar, chur-seachadan agus sheirbheisean foghlaim choimhearsnachd do mhuinntir Ghlaschu agus daoine a tha a’ tadhal air a’ bhaile às leth Comhairle Baile Ghlaschu. Ann an 2018/19 bha làthaireachd 19 muillean aig tachartasan aig na h-ionadan agus na fèisean againn.

Ri linn suidheachadh caochlaideach a’ choronabhìorais tha na h-ionadan againn dùinte an- dràsta. Tha sinn air mòran de na tachartasan againn a thaobh cultar, spòrs agus ionnsachadh a chur air-loidhne. Airson faighinn a-mach mun phrògram air-loidhne ùr againn cleachd #GlasgowLifeGoesOn airson fios a lorg air na meadhanan sòisealta no faic https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/glasgow-life-goes-on

***

They say ‘People make Glasgow’, so what is Glasgow without the people pounding its famous streets? How has the lockdown changed life in the city, and what will be different when we emerge again?

Glasgow Life and the Gaelic Books Council are inviting Glaswegians and Glasgow Gaels to write a Letter to Glasgow, to share their thoughts about this great city at an extraordinary time. The competition runs until 29 June 2020, after which one winner will be chosen from all entries. The winning entry will receive a £500 cash prize and their letter will be published online.

The only conditions of entry are that the letter writer must be aged 18 or over and that their letter must be written in Gaelic and no longer than 750 words.

Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said:
“Last year, Glasgow Life ran its first ‘Letter to Glasgow’ competition. The winning entry celebrated the city’s bustle and vitality, but this year things are very different. People’s creativity and resilience during the lockdown have been inspiring, and we hope this competition will encourage writers to express their feelings about Glasgow in these strange times.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“Throughout this crisis, Glaswegians have been finding original ways to communicate with each other while social distancing and the ‘Letter to Glasgow’ competition is a great opportunity for Gaelic-speakers to address their community. I look forward to reading their correspondence, which is bound to offer illuminating insight into the life of our great city during this challenging period.”

For full terms and conditions, and to find out how to submit your entry, visit glasgowlife.org.uk/gaelicarts

Press inquiries to: Joe Sanders, Sales and Marketing Officer, Gaelic Books Council, at joe@gaelicbooks.org.

Notes to editors:

About the Gaelic Books Council

Comhairle nan Leabhraichean (the Gaelic Books Council) is the lead organisation supporting Gaelic writers and publishers in Scotland. It is a registered charity (no SC025026) and receives funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland. www.gaelicbooks.org

About Glasgow Life

Glasgow Life is an independent charity which provides culture, leisure and community learning services to citizens and visitors to Glasgow on behalf of Glasgow City Council. In 2018/19, nearly 19 million attendances were recorded across our venues, events and festivals.

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, we’ve had to temporarily close our venues. During this period, we’ve moved much of our culture, sport and learning offering online. For our new online programming, search social media using the hashtag #GlasgowLifeGoesOn or visit https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/glasgow-life-goes-on.

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June 1, 2020

Wigtown Book Festival to go online

The next Wigtown Book Festival will take place online, organisers announced on 15 May.

Maintaining its pre-announced dates (25 Sept – 4 Oct), the 2020 festival will have two main themes: Resilience and Connection.

Creative director Adrian Turpin said: “A key aim this year will be to raise the profile of Scotland’s National Book Town in Wigtown, its businesses and the cultural attractions of Dumfries & Galloway. The Wigtown Book Festival has a powerful role to play as we all look forward to eventual recovery when the region will be able to welcome visitors again.

“Nobody wanted this situation but a digital festival gives us opportunities to reach new audiences locally, nationally and internationally.”

Inspired by Wigtown’s rebirth as a Book Town, the Resilience theme will explore the explosion of creativity that has emerged in response to the current crisis. It will also feature a digital showcase for the town’s many bookshops, plus The Kist, a virtual marketplace for artisan crafts and food producers.

Connection will celebrate Wigtown and its region’s international links in a number of events. This will include link-ups with other Book Towns around the world.

As well as live online speaker events, the 2020 festival will feature its usual mix of art exhibitions, film events, music and performance. A crowdfunding campaign will be launched later this summer to help support the festival.

Since March, Wigtown Book Festival has been offering a wide-ranging menu of digital content in response to lockdown, supported by Baillie Gifford. This includes a programme of live-streamed midweek events (#WigtownWednesdays) with writers such as Sally Magnusson, Hallie Rubenhold and Natalie Haynes, new writing commissions and a dedicated festival podcast. All are available on the festival website (wigtownbookfestival.com),

Talking about her involvement in the festival, Sally Magnusson said: “I’m delighted that the Magnusson Lecture will be online and that the festival will bring some of the previous lectures to a wider audience through the creative use of digital. Wigtown has already been engaging wonderfully with audiences during the crisis, and I’ve enjoyed participating myself.  I can’t wait for the autumn festival.”

Adrian Turpin added: “We have already put a lot of effort into creating original digital content because we felt it was vital to engage our existing audiences and attract new ones throughout the crisis. This experience will stand us in good stead as we deliver a fully digital festival this year, with the hope that in 2021 we can all gather together again in one place.”

In addition to the above, WBF20 will feature the following activity with the full programme to be revealed in August:

  • Heartland ~ a programme of events celebrating the South of Scotland as Scotland’s Literary Heartland
  • Solway to Sea ~ a series of live-streamed events supported by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.
  • The Magnusson Lecture ~ historian Rosemary Goring will deliver the annual Magnusson Lecture, in honour of Magnus Magnusson, which will go digital for the first time. It will be supported by a selection of previous lectures on video.
  • Arc ~ a series of events exploring the shared cultural heritage of the Atlantic periphery, from Ireland to the Nordic lands.
  • A separate children’s programme (Big Wig) and young people’s programme (WigWam).
  • Wigtown’s Got Talent ~ the author-local talent competition will be brought back in a new digital format.
  • Wigtown Poetry Prize ~ as usual the festival will announce the winners of the Wigtown Poetry Prize categories with judges Roseanne Watt, George T. Watt and Anna Frater.
May 16, 2020

2019 Highland Book Prize awarded collectively to shortlisted authors

At the request of the shortlisted authors, all four books were collectively awarded the 2019 Highland Book Prize “as a celebration of life, literature and community.”

Furthermore, the joint winners have donated the £1000 prize money, awarded on Saturday 9 May 2020, to the Highland Food Bank, supporting families across the Highlands.

The joint winners of the 2019 Highland Book Prize are:

The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel by David Gange

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie

Spring by Ali Smith

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt.

In a joint statement the authors said: “We were all delighted and honoured to be shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize. We have enjoyed the excitement and the publicity and were all very disappointed that the Ullapool Book Festival had to be cancelled, along with so much else. We are living in extraordinary times, and to reflect this, the four shortlisted authors have decided we’d like to be awarded the prize together and equally as a collective – as a celebration of life, literature and community. Further, we would like to donate our £1000 prize to the Highland Food Bank.”

The Highland Book Prize team said: “When the coronavirus pandemic hit, life changed in a matter of days. In amongst the confusion, the Highland Book Prize team were bowled over when the shortlisted authors approached them with an idea: to be awarded the prize together and equally as a collective, as a celebration of life, literature and community. This is absolutely the spirit of the times; collectively we are stronger in the face of this unique challenge.

“Every year at this time, it feels special to announce the winner of the Highland Book Prize, but this year will be unique: a celebration of connection in a time of isolation.”

For further information please contact Mirren Rosie or Rachel Humphries:

e: highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk and info@moniackmhor.org.uk

t: 01463 741 675 or 07842040165

v: www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

May 11, 2020

Maisie Chan appointed as 2020 Gavin Wallace Fellow

Congratulations to children’s writer Maisie Chan who has been appointed as the 2020 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow.

She will undertake her Fellowship in partnership with Moat Brae, the National Centre for Children’s Literature based in Dumfries.

Maisie, who is a member of our LAS Writers’ Advisory Group, writes cross-cultural children’s fiction, often featuring intergenerational relationships, bringing themes of connection, understanding and belonging to young readers.

Currently working on a forthcoming book for a prominent Hachette literacy series, Maisie has been gaining recognition with her new collection of tales, myths and legends,  Stories from Around the World (Scholastic) and The Legend of Hua Mulan in the Ladybird Tales of Superheroes.

On news of her appointment, Maisie Chan said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be the Gavin Wallace Fellow this year. In these uncertain and unprecedented times, the challenge for myself and for others is to make sense of our ever-changing world and our place in it. The original brief was to use the gardens at Moat Brae for inspiration.

“As I cannot physically engage in the space at present, I am accessing the centre’s archives digitally, but also, I want to ask others (including children) to be part of my creative process.

“Over the next year, I hope to explore the different ways in which gardens or the lack of them impact our lives. I also want to write about intergenerational links, and about how our past, present and future are always in flux depending on who is telling the story.

“I cannot wait to begin the residency and for the gardens (and landscapes) of the mind to blossom on the page, as they do in real life.”

Dr Simon DavidsonDirectorMoat Brae, said: “I’m thrilled that Maisie will be our first writer-in-residence. She is a phenomenal talent with a unique approach to writing for children. We have asked Maisie to respond to the very garden that inspired a young JM Barrie in order to create work that resonates with our theme of Imaginary Worlds.

“The Gavin Wallace Fellowship is a wonderful award. I’m particularly pleased that Creative Scotland elected to give the award to a children’s author this year as it shows their commitment to a genre of writing that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.

“I’m sure Maisie’s residency will further heighten the profile of children’s writing in Scotland and indeed the National Centre, and I look forward to welcoming her to Moat Brae.”

The residency will begin on Friday 1 May, initially on a digital basis due to restrictions around Covid-19, until the Centre is reopened.

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & PublishingCreative Scotland said: “We can’t wait to see how Maisie and Peter Pan Moat Brae engage with young readers during the challenging weeks and months to come, using storytelling and imagination to help keep children and their families happy and well.”

Previous Fellows have included novelist and short story writer Kirsty Logan, who was hosted by the Association of Literary Studies and whose works have since been named a The Herald Book of the Year; poet Jen Hadfield, who was the youngest ever winner of the TS Eliot Prize and was hosted by Moniack Mhor; and novelist Jenni Fagan, who was hosted by Edinburgh’s Summerhall, and whose third novel The Luckenboothwill be published in 2021.

Notes to editors

The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship was established in 2014 in memory of Dr Gavin Wallace who dedicated his entire professional life to supporting Scottish literature.  Following the sad loss of Dr Wallace in February 2013, Creative Scotland established an annual fellowship in his name to honour his memory and commemorate and continue his good work. The Fellowship offers writers time and mentorship to develop their practice with some of the country’s leading literary institutions and is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. This year the Fellowship was designed specifically to support a writer for children and young people.

Fellows receive a stipend of £20,000, and the host organisation receives £5,000 of National Lottery funding, through Creative Scotland.

Maisie Chan is a children’s author based in Glasgow. She has written for early readers (Hachette) and had short stories published in Ladybird Tales of Superheroes (Penguin) and a full short story collection called Stories From Around the World (Scholastic) as well as many stories for The Big Think; a well-being curriculum based around stories for primary school children.

Maisie founded the Glasgow Children’s Writers Group, is a mentor for new writers and has led creative writing sessions for adults and children. She has run workshops for Writing West Midlands and Scottish Book Trust (Live Literature) and has appeared on panels at the London Book Fair, Birmingham Literature Festival and the National Writers Conference.

About Moat Brae House and The Neverland Discovery Garden

Moat Brae House and its Neverland Discovery were once the magical land where the creator of Peter Pan, J M Barrie, played as a child.  Moat Brae opened on 1st June 2019 as an international visitor attraction and Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

Moat Brae is a visitor destination providing an educational and historic environment.  It is an inspiring space where reading and storytelling will be celebrated for generations to come. The ground floor exhibitions tell the story of JM Barrie’s time in Dumfries whilst other floors provide spaces for exploring the wider remit of children’s literature and to entertain visitors of all ages.

The Neverland Discovery Garden provides inspiration through its stunning setting by the River Nith. The Trust commissioned landscape architect Peter McGowan to undertake the design and delivery of the garden which stretches across almost two acres. The garden includes several new features which evoke the Peter Pan story and its imaginative planting has transformed it into a garden of discovery. Education is a key element and is woven within the horticultural excellence and diversity of planting.

Moat Brae is currently closed until further notice due to coronavirus restrictions.  For further information please go to:

About The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust

The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was set up in 2009 to save Moat Brae House and garden from demolition and to celebrate its international literary connection as ‘The Birthplace of Peter Pan’. In the ten years since, the Trustees have given countless hours of commitment to manage the delivery of a project of huge economic and cultural importance to the town, the region and to Scotland.

As Patron of the Trust since 2011 Joanna Lumley championed the £8 million fundraising campaign which turned the derelict building into an international visitor attraction expected to attract 31,000 people a year and bring £1.3 million to the area’s economy.

The Trust’s vision is to create a world where reading and storytelling are an integral part of growing up and therefore everything it does should in some way contribute towards the realisation of that vision. The driving motivation for its vision is the belief that reading and storytelling improve the life quality of children of all abilities and backgrounds.

More widely, storytelling is considered hugely important to the development of social and cultural behaviour with tangible benefits for human interrelations leading to better cultural integration, understanding and tolerance.

Among the key partners are Heritage Lottery Fund, The Castansa Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government, Dumfries & Galloway Council and Creative Scotland and The Robertson Trust. There have also been many other funders and donors including private trusts and individuals. The ten-year project has also captured the hearts of many supporters and valued volunteers within the Dumfries & Galloway community as well as from across the UK and internationally.

For any other enquiries please contact Simon Davidson: simon@peterpanmoatbrae.org / 07938 912746

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s press release. 

May 1, 2020

Urgent Children’s Book Appeal

Scottish Book Trust (SBT) has launched an urgent #ChildrensBookAppeal asking the public to donate to help them give books to children and vulnerable families.

At least 13,000 children and families in Scotland have no books at home or access to books at this challenging time. With nurseries, schools and libraries closed, this situation is bleak for many and unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

From scottishbooktrust.com

Books fire their imaginations and provide a place to escape from challenging circumstances. Reading together helps families bond. Books are also crucial to children’s learning, and reading for fun supports development across all school subjects.

Without books, these children and families are missing out.

SBT is working with local authorities across Scotland, and other charities, including Social Bite and Cyrenians, in a bid to reach as many children and families in need as possible.

They have books, notepads, pencils and learning resources in their warehouse but need your urgent support to help distribute them to those who need them most.

Please support the appeal if you can, by making a donation.

£5 will ensure that a child in Scotland receives books and fun reading and writing activities. And an existing supporter of Scottish Book Trust has pledged to double every single pound you donate up to a total of £10,000.

How to donate:

 JustGiving

OR

Simply text BOOKS to 70460 to donate £5 and opt-in to hear more from SBT. Text BOOKSNOINFO to 70460 donate £5 only. Cost of text: £5 donation + a standard rate message.

Reproduced from the Scottish Book Trust’s website.

April 30, 2020

New funds from Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland has announced three new funds to help individuals and organisations who have lost work and income due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

They are:

  • for freelance professionals and artists, such as writers or makers of poetry, prose or fiction, playwrights etc who have lost income due to Covid-19 and consider themselves to be in immediate need
  • simple and quick application with a CV and named referee via an online form
  • CV must demonstrate a freelance professional creative practice
  • A one-off bursary of between £500 to £2,500 to support your immediate needs
  • Non-competitive
  • Fund is now closed.
  • A bridging bursary programme from Screen Scotland
  • For freelance or self-employed screen practitioners working in all parts of Scotland’s screen sector who have lost work and income due to Covid-19
  • The fund is between £500 to £2,500 and is non-competitive
  • Simple process for applicants with quick turnaround
  • Applications opened on Mon 30 Mar
  • Revised Open Project Fund to support creative practitioners to continue to develop work
  • Open Fund for individuals and Open Fund for organisations
  • The Open Fund for Organisations will not be in competition for funding applications for individuals
  • Open Fund for Individuals is for between £1,000 to £50,000
  • Open Fund for Organisations is for grants between £1,000-£15,000 or £15,000-£50,000
  • Supports up to 12 months’ activity
  • Open all year round, no deadlines
  • Applications open Fri 3 Apr 
March 31, 2020

Reading in a time of plague ~ tips from Donald Smith

Though today (Fri 20 Mar 2020) is apparently ‘World Storytelling Day’ I am not suffering from ‘Decameron Syndrome’. And anyway the idea we should all get together in rural retreats for a storytelling marathon is happening through online communities as we speak. Nor am I about to recommend plague classics such as Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year or Camus’ La Peste. Or at least only for self-diagnosing masochists.

The act of private reading is a means of both emotional distance and consolation. In that regard, it sits close to the strange mix in human psychology of alienation and identification. As people ‘isolate’ there is an opportunity to fall back on centuries of literary reflection of ourselves. As the noise of fad and fashion fades we can read beyond the blurbomania of publishers, agents, promoters and the current in-crowders.

Begin with nature writing. We are going to need as much natural solace as we can manage, but some of it may have to be indirect. We are in a golden age right now with perhaps Richard Mabey at the English speaking core, but Scotland has its own wilding vein – Nan Shepherd, Jim Crumley. Kathleen Jamie, Bridget McAskill, Fraser Darling and many more.

In the classic vein I have a special affection for Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne. Embodying decades of observation, White ruminates on his garden and the way it spills down to the river and the wooded landscape beyond. He is the inspiration for a book I am presently writing about the gardens of south Edinburgh through a twelve month seasonal cycle. As the virus tries to close us in Spring is opening everything up on our doorsteps.

Then there are the Victorians – oh those shamefully unread Victorians. Biographies, letters, Collected Poems aplenty, but of course we can give precedence to the blockbuster fictions. Now you can (re)-read Middlemarch but the big George Eliot I most remember is Daniel Deronda. Critical convention does not rate this as among her best, but I recall a week spent after the physical round-the-clock exhaustion of hay harvest, reading Deronda. I was completely absorbed into that world of European Zionism, perhaps because religion, adoption and the quest for identity loomed large  for me in those youthful years. Here is the strange alchemy: we find and create our own worlds in reading.

And none stranger than say Dickens or the Brontes, Balzac, Hugo or Zola. Can I put in a plea too though for Trollope? Once I was disgracefully snobbish about poor Anthony, favouring the early modernists – Henry James, Hardy, Stevenson. But actually you come back to Trollope in your maturity and not just the Barchester Chronicles. The political novels, Phineas Finn onwards, portray a society uncomfortably similar to the English society of Brexit land (and might that become a past memory in itself as this crisis unfolds?). Then there are unexpected astute social critiques such as The Way We Live Now.

I am in an odd corner of Trollope currently, his Life of Cicero. Please take this one more as a sad personal confession than a recommendation. But it takes me into another classical world – as do Allan Massie’s Roman fictions (including his Cicero novels) and Robert Graves. But poor Anthony (see Victoria Glendinning’s biog) turned to Cicero because he was misunderstood and underrated in his time, rather like, well, Trollope. Overshadowed by his extrovert and boldly unconventional author mother Fanny, held back in his civil service career, disdained by his first publishers, and rejected as a political candidate, Trollope seems determined to restore Cicero’s reputation – over two volumes.

Finally, of course, literature in translation. Can I commend Japanese writers past and present, not least for their capacity to slow things down and mediate on experience. This may become a welcome feature of our daily lives. I have idled among the Japanese over some decades but they have centuries in hand.  Among recent pleasures are Yasunari Kawabata including A Thousand Cranes, The Sound of the Mountain and Beauty and Sadness. The best translations into English are by Edward Seidensticker whose own greatest achievement is his version of Murusaki Shikubu’s Tale of Genji. Aside from being the defining classic of Japanese literature, Shikubu is one of the earliest women writers to be identified and celebrated – centuries before European feminism. Is this the big book we should be ashamed not to have read? Distance can lend perspective.

Donald Smith is Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre and is responsible for the overall creative and organisational direction of TRACS, which brings together Scotland’s Traditional Arts Networks. He also has lead responsibility for the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and is the Co-Vice Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland.

March 20, 2020

LAS announces Next Level Awardee

We’re delighted to introduce our inaugural Next Level Awardee: Nyla Ahmad.

Next Level is LAS’ pilot career development programme that aims to equip two mid-career arts professionals (in two separate 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.

We’re excited to be working with Nyla and are already making good progress on her tailored development programme, which will include mentoring, one-to-one personal training, industry introductions and shadowing opportunities.

Peggy Hughes, LAS Chair, said: We’re delighted to have Nyla as our first Next Level professional and to connect her with leaders in the arts community to support her development. Nyla’s impressive ambition, energy and commitment to sharing positive change is clear for all to see and we know she’ll make a significant impact now and in the future.”

Nyla Ahmad said: I am honoured to have been selected for the Next Level programme. The core tenet of my work is supporting those from marginalised backgrounds to become involved in the arts, with my passion lying specifically in bringing the life-changing magic of books to as many people as possible. I am excited to see what knowledge, skills and opportunities I will gain through this Programme. Books have changed my life for the better and I am so glad I get to work in Scotland’s literary sector and bring that joy to others. As my career progresses, that joy and my ability to spread it can only grow.”

 

Nyla Ahmad is Reading Communities Manager at Scottish Book Trust, leading on programming Book Week Scotland. Nyla previously co-led the BHP Comics project, Full Colour, a mentoring programme for 14 – 26-year-old comics creators from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. She also worked for the Glasgow Women’s Library on their museum access project, Equality in Progress, and their first women of colour showcase, the Collect:if Herland. Nyla’s MPhil thesis examined South Asian and Muslim representation in comics, focusing on Ms. Marvel. She served as chair of the Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance Awards for three years.

February 21, 2020

The Highland Book Prize 2019 shortlist

The Highland Book Prize organisers are delighted to announce the four books published in 2019 which judges deem the best titles with a Highland connection.

They are:

The Frayed Atlantic Edge: A Historian’s Journey from Shetland to the Channel by David Gange (William Collins)

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie (Sort of Books)

Spring by Ali Smith (Penguin Random House)

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt (Polygon)

The winner will be announced at the Ullapool Book Festival on Saturday May 9 2020 at a free-to-attend evening event, at which all four shortlisted authors will be present and will read from their work. The winner will receive a cash prize of £1000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor.

The judges made their selection of which books published during 2019 would make the shortlist and concluded:

The Frayed Atlantic Edge “An impressive intellectual and physical journey, allowing the reader to experience the Atlantic Coast from a fresh, deeply informed and invigorating perspective; rarely have our coastlines and cultures been explored with such understanding and respect.”

Surfacing “A compelling collection of essays, alive with captivating details and large – indeed, vital – ideas. With precision and eloquence, we are guided through deep time, expressive place and protean culture, the better to understand ourselves and our environment. What emerges is a book that not only melds clarity and depth, but does so while offering, and exemplifying, compassion, empathy and wisdom.”

Spring “An exciting, engrossing and timely novel, richly layered with necessary themes, marvellous characterisation and a transfixing plot. That the book achieves its ambitions with such persuasion, insight and unwavering commitment to sheer human decency is, in itself, a triumph.”

Moder Dy “To encounter a debut collection that is so emotionally and intellectually vivid is rare indeed. These poems – linguistically rich, profound, imaginative – announce a talent that is already making waves internationally. This is not only thoughtful, lyrical poetry but poetry that will last.”

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. The Highland Book Prize aims to showcase the literary talent of the region and to raise the profile of work created in or about the Highlands.

On behalf of the Highland Society of London, Alex Ogilvie said: “Thanks to our discerning panel of volunteer readers, the judges were presented with a diverse and high-quality longlist. Selecting the shortlist from those titles was a challenging but rewarding process, and I am delighted that each of the four outstanding books that we chose displays the author’s unique response to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Across both fiction and non-fiction – but also, for the first time, poetry – the Highland Book Prize shortlist is truly representative of this wonderful region.”

Kevin MacNeil, writer and member of the judging panel commented: “Quite simply the most sublime shortlist I have ever read. I urge anyone interested in literature to treat their mind to anyone – better still, all – of these books. I feel like a wiser and more engaged human being for having had the pleasure of reading and re-reading them.”

Liz Beer, member of the judging panel and of the Ullapool Book Festival committee added: “2020 is our sixteenth year of running the Ullapool Book Festival. From small beginnings it has turned into a much-loved annual event for our audience, guest writers and chairmen/women not to mention the committee and volunteers. This will be the third year that we have hosted the Highland Book Prize and this year I had the pleasure of being one of the judges of this prize. It has been an absorbing process. In a weekend at Moniack Mhor the judges had in-depth discussions and debate and decided on the shortlist. I think we all feel that the list of four books is a strong one and very varied in content.”

For further information please contact Mirren Rosie or Eilidh Smith via:

Tel:                01463741675 or 07842040165

E-mail:          highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk

Visit:             www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

Twitter:         @highlandbook1

Instagram:    @highlandbookprize

Facebook:     @highlandbookprize

High-Resolution images and of each book cover and author are available to download here: https://we.tl/t-rEmJJLyHH8

ENDS   

NOTES TO EDITORS

Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre is based fourteen miles from Inverness, just a stone’s throw away from Loch Ness. As well as five-day residential writing courses, the centre runs one-off events, day courses and works in partnership with other organisations to help people to enjoy creative writing in all its forms. www.moniackmhor.org.uk

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

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. www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk

 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.www.williamgrantfoundation.org.uk

February 19, 2020

Moat Brae to host Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2020

Moat Brae, the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling based in Dumfries, will host the 2020 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship.

Set up to support Scottish based mid-career and established writers to develop creative work during a year-long residency within a variety of cultural, education, health and other environments, the Fellowship has already hosted partnerships between Jenni Fagan at Edinburgh’s Summerhall, Morna Young at Aberdeen City Council’s Creative Learning resource, Kirsty Logan at the Association for Scottish Literary Studies and Martin O’Connor at the Playwright’s Studio Scotland in partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre.

Dr Simon Davidson, Centre Director, Moat Brae said: “Being chosen as the host for next year’s Gavin Wallace Fellowship is a great privilege for Moat Brae and it has given us a wonderful opportunity to gain new insights into the methods and sources of inspiration that go into creating work for younger readers.

“Our theme next year is Imaginary Worlds and the successful author who becomes our writer-in-residence through the Fellowship will have arguably the most inspirational garden in children’s literature to draw upon as source material.

“I am very much looking forward to welcoming the first ever writer-in-residence to the National Centre for Children’s Literature & Storytelling and I’m sure they will find their time here both inspiring and illuminating.”

Creative Scotland’s Harriet MacMillan said: “Our hope for this year’s Fellowship was to find a host who could offer an interesting opportunity for a writer for children and young people, and Moat Brae, with its connections to J.M. Barrie and Peter Pan, not to mention its wonderful children’s literature collections, will provide the ideal context for a year of writer development. We look forward to supporting Moat Brae as they recruit and appoint the 2020 Fellow and we are excited about the work that may emerge from this partnership.”

Applications for writers to participate in the Fellowship will open in the new year.

The selected Fellow will receive £20,000 and Moat Brae will receive £5,000 to enable the hosting of the Fellowship.

Notes to Editors

The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship was established in 2014 in memory of Dr Gavin Wallace who dedicated his entire professional life to supporting Scottish literature.  Following the sad loss of Dr Wallace in February 2013, Creative Scotland established an annual fellowship in his name to honour his memory and commemorate and continue his good work. The fund is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Media Contact

Claire Thomson, Media Relations & PR Officer, Creative Scotland

Claire.thomson@creativescotland.com / 0141 302 1708 | 0774 7606 146

December 18, 2019