A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

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

Highland Book Prize announces 2019 longlist

Prize organisers are delighted to announce the 11 books that have been selected for the 2019 Highland Book Prize Longlist. With 50 publishers submitting books published in 2019, a team of 105 volunteer readers made up of industry professionals and avid readers, had their work cut out to read and score the 88 eligible titles. With such an abundance of high-quality books, prize organisers had an equally tough job of refining the list down to 11 to represent the best books with a Highland connection in 2019.

The longlist of titles for the 2019 Highland Book Prize are:

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

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

Insurrection: Scotland’s Famine Winter by James Hunter, published by Birlinn

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, published by Sort of Books

The Secret of the Dark Waterfall by Alexander McCall Smith, published by Birlinn

The Northern Highlands: Landscapes in Stone by Alan McKirdy, published by Birlinn

The Seafarers: A Journey Among Birds by Stephen Rutt, published by Elliott & Thompson

Spring by Ali Smith, published by Penguin Random House

Energy at the End of the World: An Orkney Islands Saga by Laura Watts, published by MIT Press

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt, published by Polygon

The Spirit of the Hebrides: Word and images inspired by Sorley MacLean by Alastair Jackson and Kenneth Steven, published by Saint Andrew Press

Presented by the Highland Society of London, The Highland Book Prize is facilitated by Moniack Mhor Creative Writing 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 is undertaken by our volunteer reading panel. The second round of judging will be undertaken by a panel including novelist and poet Kevin MacNeil, Liz Beer of the Ullapool Book Festival, and Alex Ogilvie of the Highland Society of London.

The winning entry for the best work published in 2019 will receive a cash prize of £1000 and a place on a writing retreat at Moniack Mhor. The judging panel will announce the shortlist in March 2020, with the winner being revealed in May 2020 during the Ullapool Book Festival.

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.

Mirren Rosie, of Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, commented:  “I believe we have a really strong longlist of contenders for the 2019 Highland Book Prize. It’s lovely to see such a range, including fiction, poetry, and young adult. Together, the books address a broad range of interesting and significant topics, including sustainable energy, community, and the geology and landscape of the Scottish Highlands. Discovering these exciting titles has been a team effort with over 100 readers from across the UK and abroad contributing to the judging process this year.”

Kevin MacNeil, judge for the Highland Book Prize said: “What an impressive, engaging and attractive bookshelf the 2019 Highland Book Prize longlist makes! These diverse books are alive with birds and bards, Springs and Winters, geologies and histories, facts and fictions. Across the range of books runs a sense of timeliness and interconnection, an understanding that we are bound to the past and to each other rather in the manner that readers and writers are connected. I am sure of two things – the longlist is first-rate, and the judges have an arduous but captivating task ahead.” Kevin MacNeil

On behalf of the Highland Society of London, Alex Ogilvie said: “The quality and quantity of writing relating to the Highlands continues to increase year-by-year, and I am delighted to see such a diverse and engaging longlist for this third edition of the Highland Book Prize.”

Joan Michael of the Ullapool Book Festival added: “What an eclectic and exciting longlist!  And what quality is there. We look forward to the eventual announcement of the winner in our festival in May. But in the meantime, here are 11 great books for people to read.”

For further information please contact Mirren Rosie or Eilidh Smith in the following ways:

Tel:                  01463741675 or  07842040165

E-mail:             highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk

Visit:                www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

Twitter:           @highlandbook1

Instagram:       @highlandbookprize

Facebook:        @highlandbookprize

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

December 3, 2019

Scotland’s National Book Awards Announced

The Saltire Society announced the winners of the 2019 Literary Awards at a glittering ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland on Saturday 30 November.

Kirstie Blair received the prestigious Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award for her Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community (published by Oxford University Press), and in a new award for 2019 Alasdair Gray was awarded the inaugural Saltire Society Scottish Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Scottish literature.

In a ceremony presided over by BBC Presenter Cathy MacDonald, Awards were presented in six literary categories including The Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year won by Ewan Morrison with his novel Nina X (published by Little Brown Group/Fleet Imprint) and The Saltire Society Scottish Non Fiction Book of the Year won by Melanie Reid for her memoir The World I Fell Out Of (published by Fourth Estate, Harper Collins).

The Saltire Society Scottish Poetry Book of the Year was presented to Janette Ayachi for her collection Hand Over Mouth Music (published by Pavilion Poetry),

The Saltire Scottish History Book of the Year Award, supported by the Scottish Historical Review Trust, was presented to Norman H Reid for Alexander III; 1249-1286, First Among Equals (published by Birlinn) and The Saltire Scottish Research Book of the Year Award, supported by the National Library of Scotland was won by Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community by Kirstie Blair (published by Oxford University Press).

The Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award was presented jointly to two authors – Stephen Rutt for his book The Seafarers:  A Journey Among Birds (published by Elliott & Thompson) and Clare Hunter for her Threads of Life (published by Sceptre/Hodder & Stoughton).

The panel of Judges for this Award were taken by Rutt’s personal journey from an overwhelming job to being among seabirds, “the book’s transportative aspect means the reader not only learns new things but experiences them”.

On Threads of Life they commented, “A work that weaves the political, communal and complex history of needlecraft. Hunter shares her personal relationship to this craft while shining a light on an often-overlooked aspect of the creative arts, one brilliantly stitched into women’s history, and larger global politics.”

Sarah Mason, Programme Director for the Saltire Society, said: “Scotland’s National Book Awards 2019 have again shown the astounding literary talent of Scotland and we congratulate all our recipients and shortlistees. As well as being a vital opportunity for the Saltire Society and its partners to celebrate and recognise creativity in literature and publishing, the Awards raise their wider profile both nationally and internationally.

“Our special congratulations go to our inaugural Lifetime Achievement recipient, Alasdair Gray, whose influence runs deep within Scotland and much further afield. We are delighted to be able to recognise his contribution in this way.

“The breadth of talent shown by the winners of the Saltire Society’s Awards show that Scotland’s literary scene is in very safe, very gifted hands. “

Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press, Community was selected as The Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year by a panel of judges from the winners of the five Literary Awards.

The judges found its accessibility in subject and in its writing profound. The fact that it is an important, significant piece of research did not discolour its enjoyability, with laugh out loud moments and fascinating facts. The judges felt a warmth from it and to it.

The National Library of Scotland support the Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year, and The National Library of Scotland’s Associate Director of Collections and Research, Robin Smith said: “It’s not every day the winner of the research category scoops the overall Saltire prize, which demonstrates just what a compelling and important read Ms Blair’s work is. Research adds to our collective understanding of the world around us, and sharing the resultant knowledge is just as important as the activity itself. We encourage and promote research on every subject imaginable at the National Library, and we’re delighted to continue to support this award.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s distinguished literary culture is a notable part of our national identity and the Saltire Literary Awards do an excellent job of recognising our talented writers and authors. I’d like to offer my warmest congratulations to all of the award winners.”

Winner of the inaugural Saltire Society Lifetime Achievement Award Alasdair Gray, who was born in 1934, graduated in design and mural painting from Glasgow School of Art.  His acclaimed first novel, Lanark, written over almost 30 years, was described by The Guardian as ‘one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction’.

Since the publication of Lanark in 1981 he has written, designed and illustrated seven novels, including Poor Things which won him a Whitbread Novel Award and Guardian Fiction Prize. several books of short stories, a collection of his stage, radio and TV plays and a book of his visual art, A Life in Pictures.

The Saltire Society judges commented, “Before the publication of Lanark, Alasdair Gray was best known for his painting. A seminal piece, Lanark is often referred to as the Glasgow Ulysses. This, however, was not a one-off masterpiece. For over 40 years, Alasdair Gray’s plentiful and diverse work has influenced writers and the literary scene worldwide.

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland said: “In awarding the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to Alasdair Gray, the Saltire Literary Awards have recognised a true iconoclast. Gray‘s work blazed a trail for rich and experimental Scottish writing, and this year’s winners list is packed with precisely that. Gray, of course, is a polymath with an incredible body of illustration, visual art and design to his name; it, therefore, seems particularly apt that the Awards should recognise book design for the first time this year. Congratulations to Alasdair, Kirstie, and all the other winners.”

Two publishing Awards were presented – The Saltire Society Scottish Publisher of the Year was awarded to Sandstone Press, based in Inverness who have provided a platform for Scottish subjects and taken risks with translated fiction, resulting in publishing the winner of this year’s Man Booker International Prize.  404 Ink was Highly Commended.

The Saltire Society Emerging Publisher of the Year Award, presented in partnership with Publishing Scotland, was awarded jointly to Kay Farrell of Sandstone Press and Alan Windram of Little Door Press.  Jamie Norman of Canongate books was Highly Commended.

In a new Award for 2019 The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada (translated by Chris Andrews), published by Charco Press and designed by Pablo Font was awarded The Saltire Society Scottish Book Cover of the Year, with judges saying, “The design echoes the story within while allowing the viewer room to take from it their own meaning. The use of colour and an evocative image creates a strong, bold cover.”

Finally, The Calum Macdonald Memorial Award for the publisher of an outstanding example of pamphlet poetry published during the previous year was won by Sarah Stewart for Tapsalteerie, Glisk. This Award is administered by the Scottish Poetry Library and it is the first time it has been presented as part of the Saltire Society Literary Awards.

The winners of each category received a bespoke Award created by Inverness based-artist Simon Baker of Evergreen Studios and a cash remuneration.

December 2, 2019

Event: Getting a story out of your data (for beginners)

Join us at this event that will help inform, guide and inspire you to find and harness the story behind your data – such as audience numbers and demographics, box office sales, audience & critic reviews, focus group responses, international reach and trends.

DATE: Thurs 28 Nov

TIME: 6-8pm

VENUE: Inspace, 1 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9LE

HOST: Caroline Parkinson, Data-Driven Innovation (Edinburgh University)

FREE BUT TICKETED – REGISTER HERE

From Spreadsheet to Dashboard –  delivered by Wyoming Interactive on the value of data for creative practitioners and creative businesses. Wyoming will explore how individuals and organisations can integrate data sources and visualise their data in more insightful ways, to make for better and faster business decision-making.

Case study: Traverse Theatre – on how they got to the prize hidden within their data, how Netflix inspired them, and the work they did to migrate their data onto a new platform that’s now giving them valuable insights from sharing comparable data across theatres in Scotland.

The future of data – examples of what is possible, the future of data and live sensor feedback hosted by Caroline Parkinson of Data Driven Innovation Programme at the University of Edinburgh.

The event includes refreshments and nibbles. It has been developed with Caroline Parkinson from Data-Driven Innovation at Edinburgh University with Traverse Theatre, Literature Alliance Scotland, Publishing Scotland, Edinburgh City of Literature, Federation of Scottish Theatre and Edinburgh Performing Arts Development.

Please note that topics may be subject to change. 

 

 

November 25, 2019

Arts professionals wanted for Next Level programme

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

Apply to our Next Level programme for 1-2-1 mentoring & tailored training opportunities.

We’re excited to open applications for our Next Level programme.

It’s 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.

With Next Level you’ll receive mentoring with an industry professional and training tailored to your career goals.

This first round is for one applicant and includes up to 80 contact hours (10 days) over three months from February 2020.

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.

We particularly welcome applications from those who self-identify as being from an under-represented group, for example, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), working class and/or disabled.

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

At the end of the programme, the successful applicant will share their experience with the LAS membership either through a presentation or a written piece as part of the evaluation process.

Applications for Round 2 for the second applicant will open and take place in Summer 2020.

Eligibility:

We’re looking for participants who can demonstrate

  • The ambition and energy to lead
  • A commitment to Scotland’s literature, languages and publishing sector
  • The creativity and potential to work at a senior level.

Next Level is aimed at arts professionals working for/with an organisation within the literature & languages sector and is not open to full-time writers. You are, however, eligible to apply if you’re a writer and you also work as an arts professional within the sector. Check the full details on eligibility.

How to apply:

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

The deadline for applications is midnight on Friday 10 January 2020.

 

November 14, 2019

Iain Munro appointed Chief Executive of Creative Scotland

Iain Munro has been appointed as the Chief Executive of Creative Scotland and will take up the post with immediate effect.

Currently Acting Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, Iain was the successful candidate in a competitive recruitment process which involved a global search and attracted over 200 applications.

Iain has been Acting Chief Executive since July 2018 during which time he has been leading a change programme which is overhauling Creative Scotland’s culture, working practices and funding approach; and has also delivered some key developments such as the launch of Screen Scotland, the partnership dedicated to supporting all aspects of Scotland’s screen sector.

Robert Wilson, Chair of Creative Scotland said: “I am delighted to announce Iain Munro as Chief Executive of Creative Scotland. Iain has outstanding leadership skills and will be able to use his extensive knowledge and abilities to continue to move the organisation forward in what is a significant time in the evolution of Creative Scotland. I look forward to working with Iain as we deliver significant change programmes across our work to enable creative activity across Scotland to thrive.”

Iain Munro said of his new role: “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead Creative Scotland at such an exciting and important time. Scotland’s culture is globally renowned and I look forward to working with my fantastic colleagues and others to support the extraordinary creativity that exists here and all that it contributes to people’s lives, our communities and the prosperity of the country.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Iain has extensive experience in culture and creative industries and I welcome his permanent appointment following his period as acting Chief Executive. This is an important time for Creative Scotland as it progresses its organisational and funding review, and I am pleased Iain will lead the organisation as it looks ahead to the future.”

Iain Munro biography

Iain’s earlier career saw him study music before diversifying into Economics and Surveying, becoming a specialist in Cultural Development and working internationally before returning to the UK to help establish and grow the National Lottery for the Arts.

He held a number of roles at the Scottish Arts Council including Director of the National Lottery and Co-Director of Arts, before joining Creative Scotland as Director of Creative Development. He led developments in arts policy, participation, equalities, audience and organisational change and development, education, learning and young people and special projects such as the London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programmes in Scotland, and the development of Time to Shine, Scotland’s first National Youth Arts Strategy.

Prior to taking up his role as Acting Chief Executive in July 2018, Iain was Deputy Chief Executive at Creative Scotland and responsible for strategic leadership and core business oversight in Strategic Planning, HR, Office Services, Finance, Funding Operations, Legal Services, and ICT.

Iain is the former founding Chair of Luminate, a Board member of the National Lottery, previous Chair in Scotland of the Legacy Trust and chaired GENERATION, the national celebration of 25 years of contemporary visual arts in Scotland.

Notes to Editors

The application process for a permanent CEO at Creative Scotland began on Wednesday 5 August 2019. Full details here: http://www.creativescotlandrecruitment.co.uk/

The Interview Panel was led by Robert Wilson, Chair of the Creative Scotland Board and included board members Elizabeth Partyka, David Brew, Cate Nelson-Shaw and a representative of the Scottish Government, Jonathan Pryce. The panel also included two observers, Karen Lannigan, Director of HR & Office Services at Creative Scotland and Lesley Gilmartin, Head of Consulting at Badenoch and Clark.

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

Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.

For further information, please contact:

Wendy Grannon, Media and PR Manager
Wendy.Grannon@creativescotland.com/ 0131 523 0016 / 07989 854 306

Image: Iain Munro (Neil Hanna)

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s website.

October 31, 2019

Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist Announced

The Saltire Society has announced the shortlists for the 2019 Saltire Literary Awards, as well as two brand new prizes.  This year, for the first time, the Saltire Society will be awarding a prize for Scottish Book Cover and a special Award for Lifetime Achievement.   The winners of all eleven prizes, and the Saltire Book of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Saturday 30 November.

Widely regarded as Scotland’s national book awards, The Saltire Literary Awards recognise work across six literary categories (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Research, History, Poetry and First Book) and two publishing categories (Publisher and Emerging Publisher). The Literary Awards see the winner of each book Award receive a cash prize of £2,000 and go on to be considered for the top prize of Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, receiving a further £5,000.

The new Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to an individual who has made a meaningful creative contribution to the world of literature. With the very first Saltire Literary Awards taking place in 1937, the Society decided it was an appropriate time to recognise a body of work rather than one book, something that is not currently part of the publishing timeline.  The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates a writers’ work in its entirety and comes with a cash prize of £2,000.

Scottish Book Cover Award celebrates the enormous talent Scotland has in book production and design.  This Award and its recipient will exemplify creativity and the relationship between the designer, the publisher and author.  The shortlist for this Award will be announced in early November.

Sarah Mason, Programme Director at the Saltire Society, said:

“We are proud of the fact that the Saltire Literary Awards shortlists celebrate the diversity, quality and richness of books to come from Scotland over the past year. The Saltire Literary Awards have a proud history of celebrating and bringing wider attention to excellence and we congratulate the writers and publishers who have been shortlisted this year. With the introduction of the Book Cover Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, we believe Scotland’s National Book Awards truly celebrate Scotland’s literary landscape. We look forward to celebrating our shortlistees and winners on St Andrew’s Day at our largest celebration ever.

The Awards have had an eye for early talent with internationally renowned writers including Ali Smith, AL Kennedy, Kate Clanchy, Louise Welsh and Michel Faber being some who have been celebrated by the Saltire Society for their debut books in previous years.    404 Ink, winners of the Emerging Publisher Award in 2017 are shortlisted for Publisher of the Year Award in 2019.  Submissions for the Awards this year have come from publishers across Scotland and the UK and as far afield as MIT in the USA. All entrants must be born in Scotland, live in Scotland or their books must be about Scotland.

Shortlisted books for 2019 include Threads of Life (Sceptre) by Claire Hunter in the First Book Category to Dr David Wilson’s My Life with Murderers (Little Brown) in Non-Fiction, seemingly disparate topics but both relevant to current Scottish culture.  Thee Gaelic books have made the shortlist – Còig Duilleagan na Seamraig (Five Leaves of the Shamrock) by Ruairidh MacIlleathain (published by CLÀR) in the Fiction category, Seòl Mo Bheatha (My Life Journey) by Dòmhnall Eachann Meek (also published by CLÀR) in the Non-Fiction category and the bi-lingual Ceum air cheum/Step by Step (published by Acair) in Poetry.

Kindly reproduced from Saltire Society’s website

October 29, 2019

Book Week Scotland launches 2019 programme

Scottish Book Trust has launched Book Week Scotland’s 2019 programme with comic book artist Frank Quitely of DC Comics All Star Superman and Batman and Robin fame. Book Week Scotland, the country’s biggest celebration of reading and writing, returns for its eighth year with hundreds of events taking place all over Scotland from intimate community gatherings to flagship events with well-loved authors. A special book, Blether, created from real-life stories submitted by members of the public was also unveiled.

Working with a wide range of partners, Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, will deliver a diverse range of events and activities, many tying in with the Year of Conversation, including the Digital Festival with free events that can be accessed online by all.

From events such as Souper Stories, Murder Mystery, Books Beer & Banter, The Blether Bus, Drag Brunch and The Human Library to an astronomy and poetry event, there really is something for everyone.

100,000 free copies of the Blether book, celebrating the theme of conversation, will be available from libraries and other community venues during Book Week Scotland. The free book can also be ordered via Scottish Book Trust’s Website, which features each and every personal story submitted by the people of Scotland. A selection of 30 stories are featured in the book, which also includes work from Still Game actor Jane McCarry; Hings author Chris McQueer, The Boxer author Nikesh Shukla and Bird Summonsauthor Leila Aboulela.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “Book Week Scotland brings people of all ages and walks of life together to share and enjoy books; it is a week of books and reading for everyone. We have an exciting range of inspiring, unusual and accessible events with a diverse mix of authors, writers and illustrators. This year we are celebrating the theme of conversation in all its forms, from a wee blether to the life-changing heart-to-heart. We hope you can join us at a local Book Week Scotland event, or online through our Digital Festival.”

Frank Quitely, Scottish comic book artist, said: “I am excited to share my journey to becoming a comic artist with young people in Glasgow. This is the sort of event I wish I had been able to attend at the start of my career, and hopefully I can share a few useful insights into entering this competitive industry.”

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland said: “From the Gruffalo to gardening and crime to cookery, there’s something for everyone in Book Week Scotland. There are so many ways to get involved – online or in venues across the country, from telephone boxes to local libraries, where you’ll find books in English, Gaelic, Scots and other languages as well as audio books, e-books, braille books and more. With a huge range of partners across the length and breadth of Scotland hosting an incredible programme of events, we hope the whole country has a blast blethering about books and stories.”

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) said: “Libraries across Scotland will be joining in the Book Week Scotland celebrations, meaning everyone has the opportunity to get involved. Libraries offer the perfect place to celebrate the joy of reading and, with a range of digital resources available, people can use their local library to get involved in the Digital Festival. In keeping with the Year of Conversation, libraries are trusted spaces where people can connect with others and engage in new experiences. Get along to your local library and get involved.”

Book Week Scotland event highlights
  • Ian Rankin will launch his lost novel, Westwind, at an exclusive event with bestselling crime author, Stuart MacBride. Published for the first time in 28 years, the espionage thriller about spies, satellites and a global conspiracy of sinister surveillance, is strikingly relevant in today’s political climate. Tickets for the event, held on Saturday 23 November, 7.30pm at the Apex Hotel in Dundee, can be purchased on Eventbrite. The event will be live-streamed via Scottish Book Trust’s social media channels.
  • There will also be two special BBC Authors Lives for Book Week Scotland 2019. Nikesh Shukla will discuss his latest novel The Boxer for International Men’s Day on Tuesday, 19 November. Then on Thursday, 21 November, a celebration of the 20th birthday of The Gruffalo: Julia Donaldson’s classic tale will be read by James Robertson in Scots and Catriona Lexy Campbell in Gaelic.
  • The BBC will host a Novels That Shaped Our World event on Saturday, 23 November at The Mitchell Library in Glasgow, complementing the new three-part BBC Two TV series. BBC Arts will be asking guests to discuss the novels that have shaped their worlds, from the established classics to the popular contemporary hits, and possibly some interesting surprises. Featuring award-winning crime writer Denise Mina: information and tickets can be found on the Glasgow Life website.
  • Others holding events during Book Week Scotland include: Jack Monroe, Helen Fields, Melanie Reid, Frank Quitely, Claire Askew, Doug Johnstone, Helen Fitzgerald, Sara Sheridan, Alan Bissett, Stuart Cosgrove and Christopher Brookmyre. The full programme can be viewed here on the Book Week Scotland website.
  • Book Week Scotland’s popular Digital Festival will return for a third year, aiming to change and challenge conversation and broaden accessibility. Events include:
    • A series of podcasts curated by poet Tom Pow, tying in with the Year of Conversation. Guests include Marjorie Lotfi Gill; Catherine Simpson; Mara Menzies; David Keenan; Meghan Delahunt; James Robertson and Peter Mackay.
    • Illustrator Alex T Smith will doodle his favourite Scots words, inspired by Scottish Book Trust’s recent public vote. The winner will be revealed on Thursday, 20 November.
    • StoryMag, part of the What’s Your Story? programme, will launch its new Blether issue during Book Week. The stories have been collated from young people across Scotland.

Book Week Scotland also features a fundraising initiative, Big Book Swap, to support Scottish Book Trust. Join hundreds of schools, workplaces and community groups on Friday 22 November to swap books and raise money to help Scottish Book Trust to continue to support people in Scotland to reach their potential through reading and writing. To sign up and receive your free fundraising guide, visit Big Book Swap.

View the Book Week Scotland 2019 programme

Press release reproduced from Creative Scotland website.

October 23, 2019

New Trustees wanted for Edinburgh City of Literature Trust

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? 

Edinburgh City of Literature Trust is looking to appoint three new enthusiastic Board members with particular experience in one or more of the following: Scottish charity law, publishing, delivering major capital projects, and academia.

The Trust wants its Board and programme of work to have a broad representation and welcomes applications from across all communities.

Credit: cityofliterature.com

The aim is for new appointees, once approved, to formally take up their post from December 2019, for a period of up to three years. The posts are not remunerated but some expenses are covered as per the organisation’s Board Members’ Expenses Policy.

Application Information

The Trustee Information Pack contains information about the role, requirements and the application process. Please download this pack from the website or contact ali@cityofliterature.com.

For information about the Trust and the Board please visit the website.

Application Deadline: 5pm on Friday 1 November 2019.

October 11, 2019

Joy Hendry honoured in 2019 Outstanding Women of Scotland

We’re delighted that our friend and member Joy Hendry, Editor of Chapman is honoured in this year’s ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’, which saw ten women from the fields of the arts, culture, politics, activism and science honoured and inducted into the esteemed Saltire Society ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ community at a special event as part of the Women of the World, Perth.

Joy Hendry said: “This is a huge honour. I came through an educational system which would have you believe that Scotland has no great literature. I learned from my contemporary writers that we were cheated from our birthright. I used a small magazine to help put that right.

“I am honoured to be here and hope to spend the rest of my life living up to the honour.”

Photo copyright Graham Clark.

The full list of the ten inductees are:

Professor Jill Belch, Professor of Vascular Medicine Ninewells Hospital and Medical School Dundee,

Professor Margaret Bennett, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Jackie Brierton MBE, CEO of GrowBiz

Fiona Dalgetty, Ceannard / Chief Executive, Fèis Rois

Joy Hendry, Editor of Chapman

Celia Hodson, Founder of Hey Girls:

Louise Macdonald OBE, Chief Executive Young Scot:

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder & CEO at Invisible Cities

Emma Ritch, Executive Director of Engender

Heather Stewart, Creative Director, British Film Institute

Since it began in 2015, the ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ induction has recognised and celebrated Scottish women from all walks of life and the inspiration their achievements set for the next generation. Each year, the campaign invites members of the public to nominate living contemporary examples of Scottish women who have made a significant contribution to Scottish culture and society for induction into the Outstanding Women of Scotland community. Past inductees have included singer-songwriter and activist Annie Lennox, bestselling author J.K. Rowling and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 2020 is planned to be the year that Saltire brings together its 40 inductees in a mentoring strategy to support and further inspire Scotland’s young people.

Taking place as part of the Women of the World Perth celebration, the special ceremony saw each inductee with a limited edition print from artist and illustrator Natasha Russell https://www.natasharussell.com/

Speaking on behalf of the Saltire Society, Director Sarah Mason said:

We are excited to be building the Outstanding Women of Scotland community again in 2019 and having the opportunity to celebrate these amazing women and the work they do to make Scotland and further afield a better place to live, work and play.  Without these women, Scotland would be a darker place and we are privileged to be able to take this moment to celebrate and thank them.

As well as recognising these women for their contribution, the Outstanding Women of Scotland Community is creating a tangible list of women who can, will and do inspire generations to come.

October 9, 2019

Creative Scotland Open Project Fund – Literature: June – Aug 2019

Here’s a round-up of the fantastic literature projects supported by Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund awards from June to August this year.

June

Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, Bloody Scotland has received funding for this year’s edition taking place in Stirling from 20-22 September 2019.  The annual festival furthers the development of Scottish crime writing by bringing together leading Scottish and international writers, showcasing debut voices, encouraging new writing and introducing the best of the genre to audiences and readers.  In addition to the festival events catering mainly for adult readers, the festival intends to repeat the successful 2018 and 2017 initiative to take events to local primary and secondary schools, for both children and young adult readers.

The McIlvanney Prize given each year for the Best Scottish Crime Novel of the year will be joined in 2019 by a new prize for the Best Scottish Debut Novel.

Bob McDevitt, Director, Bloody Scotland said: “I am once again looking forward to the three-day celebration that is Bloody Scotland; from the Torchlight procession on the opening night via the football match, a ceilidh, a quiz and many excellent panels and individual author events it should be a memorable long weekend.”

 

July

Congratulations to the quarterly literary magazine, The Drouth, which has received funding towards the transformation of its hard copy magazine into a web-based multimedia web journal. This will see the platform create regular weekly content offering a blend of short and long-form content to suit a range of audience preferences, including a Review of Books blog, prose pieces, media clips and video essays.

Johnny Rodger, Founder, The Drouth said: “This welcome funding boost will enable The Drouth to set up a new online platform with engaging and in-depth critical writing and multi-media work on art, politics, culture and society.”

August

Receiving support in August is the sixth Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival on 23-24 November. This year’s festival aims to embrace new ambitions and increase the size and diversity of its audience. The festival will be offering free access to disabled visitors for an event featuring Melanie Reid, the tetraplegic columnist who will be discussing her autobiography. Also featuring in this year’s programme are Denise Mina, Stuart Cosgrove and V&A Director, Philip Long.

Graham Bell, Board Member, Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival, said: “With the support of Creative Scotland, the Cove and Kilcreggan Book Festival is able to considerably increase access to those otherwise unable to attend, as well as extend our reach in the range of authors in this, the 6th year of this rural Argyll event.”

 

September 2, 2019

SLIC seeks new Board Members

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 2019.

Information about the Scottish Library and Information Council

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.

Board Responsibilities

The Board meets four times a year in addition to the AGM. Board members may be required to serve on a sub-committee which would involve a commitment of up to another three days. Board meetings alternate between Dundee and Glasgow.

The Board provides strategic direction and oversight. Major policy decisions are made at Board level drawing on information provided by the Chief Executive and senior management team. The decisions of the Board are actioned through the Chief Executive and senior management team of the organisation.

Further information about SLIC can be found on its website. 

Please note the appointments are on a voluntary basis.

Expressions of interest

SLIC particularly welcomes expressions of interest from individuals with experience in education, business, digital or entrepreneurial skills. Applications from groups which are currently under-represented including, disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic communities would be particularly welcome.

Expressions of interest should take the form of a CV together with a brief statement outlining the reasons for your interest and what you would bring to the Board. Interested parties will be asked to complete a short skills matrix to assist with the selection process.

Informal enquiries about Board membership can be made to Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive on p.tulloch@scottishlibraries.org

Expressions of interest should be emailed to Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive on p.tulloch@scottishlibraries.org no later than 12 noon on Friday 23 August 2019.

August 2, 2019

Scots Language Publication Grants announced

Nine new titles in Scots have been awarded funding by the Scots Language Publication Grant. Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Book Trust, the Scots Language Publication Grant was created by the Scots Language Resource Network to support Scots publishers and to encourage Scots writers.

Applications were assessed by a panel with expertise in Scots and publishing, including a writer and representatives from Creative Scotland, Education Scotland and Publishing Scotland.

The successful titles are:

  • Burds in Scots by Hamish MacDonald (Scotland Street Press)
  • The Complete Works of William Soutar by William Soutar (Tippermuir Books)
  • Daisy On the Outer Line by Ross Sayers (Cranachan)
  • Deep Wheel Orcadia by Harry Josephine Giles (Stewed Rhubarb)
  • The Itchy Coo Book of Hans Christian Anderson by Itchy Coo (Black and White Publishing)
  • The Last Berry by Susi Briggs (Curly Tale)
  • Modern Makars by Irene Howatt, Ann Macinnon and Finola Scott (Tapsalteerie)
  • Roads to Nae Wye by Christie Williamson (Luath)
  • Wheen by Stuart Paterson (Chapman)

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

 

Scots Language Resource Network

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

ASLS

Creative Scotland

Education Scotland

Glasgow Women’s Library

Historic Environment Scotland

Literature Alliance Scotland

National Library of Scotland

Publishing Scotland

Scots Language Centre

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Language Dictionaries

Scottish Poetry Library

SQA

Ulster Scots Agency

Wigtown Book Festival

Via Scottish Book Trust

July 30, 2019

Ready to ROAR: Group calls out gender inequalities within the Scottish Literary sector

ROAR (Represent, Object, Advocate, Rewrite) has launched a new website, sharing first research findings that show that gender inequality in the Scottish literary sector is structural and persistent.

The group, which was formed in 2016, is working to combat inequality in Scottish writing and publishing. With members from Scottish PEN, Creative Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, Waterstones, Glasgow Women’s Library and more, ROAR represents voices from within the literary sector.

ROAR reveals new findings by doctoral researcher, Christina Neuwirth: Women of Words: Gender equality in contemporary writing and publishing in Scotland. The research is funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council and Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.

In 2018, Scotland celebrated Muriel Spark’s work in what would have been the year of her 100thbirthday, and the new Scottish £5 note sports female writer Nan Shepherd’s portrait. However, this analysis indicates that more needs to be done to achieve equality in the visibility and value assigned to women in Scottish literature.

The research, covering the period January to December 2017, found that only 37% of authors whose books were published in Scotland were women (14.5% lower than the general population).

The genre in which women fared the worst was non-fiction about Scotland: only 4 women were published in 2017, compared to 30 men.

In the thriller, mystery and crime genre, double the number of men were published compared to women, and for the humour and sports books category, no women were published at all.

There were only three genres where women were more represented than men: literary narrative non-fiction, where 9 women were published compared to 1 man; and romance fiction, with 11 women authors and 3 male authors.

In Scotland, children’s literature and historical fiction were the most balanced genres, with 40 women and 37 men being published in children’s books, and 5 men and 5 women published in historical fiction.

Scottish media coverage of literature was also analysed by the study and revealed that in 2017, national newspapers The Herald and The Scotsman published reviews of 604 authors’ books: 65% of authors reviewed were men, and 35% were women.

The disparity was even greater in the number of reviews: 86% of reviews were written by men, and 14% by women. Of all reviews, 59% were reviews of male authors’ books, written by male reviewers.

In direct contrast, 7% of all book reviews that year were women’s books reviewed by women.

Book festivals in Scotland fared better and were found to be more representative of gender compared to publication or media coverage.

In 2017, Aye Write, Bloody Scotland and Edinburgh International Book Festival hosted events with 1,392 authors, and 44% of all authors appearing at these festivals were women.

Of these, 461 were solo author events, in which the representation of women writers dropped to 38%.

Book festivals were the only area of the sector in which non-binary authors were represented in 2017, making up 0.4% of all programmed authors.

Research is still ongoing, and ROAR aims to publish an account of gender equality in Scottish literary culture every year, as a starting point for effecting change. More information can be found at www.roar.scot

 Jenny Kumar, Communications Officer, Literature Alliance Scotland, said:

“This important research demonstrates unequivocally that we collectively have a long way to go to level the gender playing field, and that as a sector we need to work together and take responsibility to contribute towards positive change in all that we do, every day.

“For LAS and our members that means driving for better representation and inclusivity at all levels across all our activities to better reflect the society we live in. It means listening and learning and recognising that stereotypes around gender in writing and publishing need to be challenged and that it starts with us and our work. It means paying attention to the way we work and building opportunities and programmes that are open and inclusive. It means that we need to roll our sleeves up.”

 

Professor Claire Squires, Professor in Publishing Studies, University of Stirling, said:

“The ongoing research underpinning ROAR’s investigations into our lived experience of inequalities in the literature and publishing sector are revealing. In particular, women are disadvantaged in terms of book reviewing, and in terms of the proportions of Scottish non-fiction books. This gender discrimination must be addressed in order to make the sector – and the country – a fairer, more representative, and more democratic space. ”

 

Notes to Editors

1) 454 authors were published in Scotland during the period January to December 2017.

2) In the thriller, mystery and crime genre, 30 men and 14 women were published in 2017 in Scotland.

3) 8 humour books by men were published and 10 sports books by men were published in 2017 in Scotland.

4) The Scottish Census 2011 captured information about male and female respondents, with 48.5% of the population being men and 51.5% being women. A survey conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission indicates that 0.4% of the UK population identify in a way that is not male or female (Glen and Hurrell 2012, 5).

5) Author events at three book festivals in Scotland (Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aye Write, Bloody Scotland (2017)) featured 1,392 authors: 775 authors were men, 612 women, and 5 were non-binary. Of all solo events featuring 461 authors, 285 were men, 175 women, and 1 was non-binary.

Source: research conducted by Christina Neuwirth, PhD candidate at the University of Stirling, University of Glasgow, Scottish Book Trust. 2019.

 

ROAR working group:

Nyla Ahmad (Scottish Book Trust)

Caitrin Armstrong (Scottish Book Trust)

Jenni Calder (Scottish PEN)

Angie Crawford (Waterstones)

Mairi Kidd (Creative Scotland)

Wendy Kirk (Glasgow Women’s Library)

Jenny Kumar (Literature Alliance Scotland)

Katy Lockwood-Holmes (Floris Books)

Lesley McDowell (critic, editor, writer)

Judy Moir (literary agent)

Sophie Moxon (Edinburgh International Book Festival)

Christina Neuwirth (University of Stirling, University of Glasgow, Scottish Book Trust)

Jenny Niven (Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation)

Mairi Oliver (Lighthouse Bookshop)

Jess Orr (Glasgow Women’s Library)

Adele Patrick (Glasgow Women’s Library)

Elizabeth Reeder (the University of Glasgow, Scottish PEN)

Shari Sabeti (University of Edinburgh)

Claire Squires (University of Stirling)

 

Women of Words: Gender equality in contemporary writing and publishing in Scotland

More information can be found here: https://www.publishing.stir.ac.uk/christina-neuwirth-phd-in-publishing-studies/

 

Press coverage:

Publishing Perspectives

The Bookseller

BookBrunch 

The National

ActuaLitté les univers du livre

July 25, 2019

Meet our new Writers’ Advisory Group

We were stunned with the volume of strong applications to our ‘writers wanted’ call-out in May, receiving more than 30 applications for just five places for published writers living and working in Scotland.

With the aim of strengthening the advice to our Board from a diverse and inclusive writing community, the Board considered a number of factors to ensure a balance and mix of voices.

The Advisory Group will meet twice a year, in the summer and the winter of 2019 and 2020. Along with Comms Officer Jenny Kumar they will discuss key issues and provide their knowledge and advice to help make sure that writers’ concerns are at the heart of our mission and strategy and reflected in our activities and advocacy work.

We pay our Writers in line with the Live Literature Funding rate, plus travel expenses.

 

Meet Our Writers’ Advisory Group

Maisie Chan is a Birmingham-born author who lives in Glasgow. She writes for children, teens and sometimes adults and has been published by Penguin and Hachette. She has taught creative writing at Arvon and for Writing West Midlands. She is a mentor and runs the Glasgow Children’s Writers Group and Bubble Tea (a facebook group for East Asian writers in the UK).
@MaisieWrites
https://www.maisiechanwrites.com

 

Sylvia Hehir writes YA fiction from her home in the West Highlands of Scotland. She is an SBT New Writer awardee, and with her extensive experience of working in a variety of educational settings, and a doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow, Sylvia runs writing workshops for teenagers, adults and creative writing students.
@shehir853
https://sylviahehir.com

 

Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay is a native Gaelic speaker born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis who is based in Edinburgh. He is a poet, broadcaster, journalist and a Lecturer in Literature at the University of St Andrews. Peter has worked at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin; and at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he was writer in residence. He has also worked as a journalist and television news producer for the BBC.
@PadraigMacaoidh
http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poet/peter-mackay/

 

Heather Palmer is a Glasgow-based writer, proofreader and editor. She writes with a focus on folklore, nationalism and death. Heather is the first-ever comics winner of the SBT New Writers Award (2019) and has been shortlisted for Best Writer at the SICBA Awards in both 2017 and 2018. She has been published in We Shall Fight Until We Win, Scrieve! and Frisson’s Knock Knock.
@_HeatherAPalmer
https://heatherannepalmer.wordpress.com

 

Michael Lee Richardson is a writer, producer and community organiser from Glasgow. His short film, My Loneliness is Killing Me – directed by Tim Courtney – won a BAFTA Scotland Award (Best Short Film). Michael’s short story The Other Team appears in Stripes Publishing’s PROUD anthology, edited by Juno Dawson. With Ryan Vance, Michael ran the Queer Words Project Scotland and edited We Were Always Here for 404 Ink.
@HRFMichael
http://hrfmichael.co.uk

 

-Ends-

 

 

July 5, 2019

CS Open Project Funding for Literature – April & May 2019

In April 2019, an anthology of contemporary Scottish writing is among 42 projects to share £800,000 of Open Project Funding from Creative Scotland.

Canongate Books has received funding to produce Antlers of Water, the first ever anthology of contemporary Scottish writing on nature and the environment. Writers from across the country, who are committed to the conservation of natural world are being invited to contribute prose, poetry, photography and hybrid forms of writing.

The Nairn Book and Arts Festival has received funding towards this year’s event, enabling the Festival to develop its existing programme. It will offer talks and readings by well-established, nationally known authors, new writers and local writers, and simultaneously translated Gaelic language author events. In addition, this year, the Festival will feature drama, film visual arts exhibitions and creative workshops for people of all ages, and an outdoors open mic session for teens.

Read the full CS press release. 

May 2019

Scotland’s crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland is among the 40 projects that share over £700,000 of Open Project Funding in May 2019

Bloody Scotland has received funding for this year’s edition taking place in Stirling from 20-22 September 2019. The annual festival furthers the development of Scottish crime writing by bringing together leading Scottish and international writers, showcasing debut voices, encouraging new writing and introducing the best of the genre to audiences and readers.  In addition to the festival events catering mainly for adult readers, the festival intends to repeat the successful 2018 and 2017 initiative to take events to local primary and secondary schools, for both children and young adult readers.

The McIlvanney Prize given each year for the Best Scottish Crime Novel of the year will be joined in 2019 by a new prize for the Best Scottish Debut Novel.

Bob McDevitt, Director, Bloody Scotland said: “I am once again looking forward to the three-day celebration that is Bloody Scotland; from the Torchlight procession on the opening night via the football match, a ceilidh, a quiz and many excellent panels and individual author events it should be a memorable long weekend.”

Read the full CS press release.

June 27, 2019

RSL report – A Room of My Own

The Royal Society of Literature has revealed the findings of its latest report on what writers need to work today – A Room of My Own. Below is a summary.

The support a writer needs:

Ninety years after Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’, a room to write from and money are still important to sustaining a career in writing. However, peer support and emotional support are now seen as significant to more writers than financial support.

The support a writer receives:

The vast majority of writers do not earn the income that Virginia Woolf argued a writer needs £500 a year, equivalent to just over £30,000 in 2019. The majority of writer respondents earned below £10,000 from their writing in 2018.

  • 5% of writers earned over £30,000 from their writing in 2018

Only a small minority of writers are able to support themselves through their writing income alone. A writer is almost three times as likely to earn over £30,000 from work outside writing than in it.

  • 10% of writers do not have jobs or any other form of financial support beyond their writing
  • 5% of writers earn over £30,000 from writing; 14% earn the same outside writing

Writing is a career in which opportunities are currently far greater for those from privileged backgrounds. Pay gaps in relation to social class identity, gender identity, ethnicity and geographic region are greater in a writing career than in employment outside it.

  • Social class identity: 25% of all respondents identified as working class, but they make up only 11% of the highest earners from writing (earning over £30,000 from writing in 2018)
  • Ethnicity: 13% of all respondents identified as being from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, but are only 9% of the highest earners from writing
  • Gender: 72% of all respondents identified as female, but they made up 57% of the highest earners from writing; in comparison, respondents identifying as male made up 25% of overall respondents and 41% of those with the highest incomes from writing
  • Geographic region: 66% of the highest earners from writing lived in London or the South of England

Challenges:

  • 68% found a lack of financial income or expectation of it in the future a challenge to their early writing life.
  • 67% identified lack of time to write as a challenge.
  • 54% identified lack of confidence in their ability as a challenge.
  • 53% identified lack of information about financial support available to them as a challenge.

The words that sustain a writer:

Asked for the piece of advice that encourages them to pursue a career in writing, the most common were to persist through rejection, and that their voices are important.

June 20, 2019

The Big Scottish Book Club on BBC Scotland

BBC Scotland has commissioned a new Arts series to celebrate literature. The Big Scottish Book Club is to be hosted by award-winning author Damian Barr.

Produced by IWC, a Banijay Group company, the new 4×60 series will air later this year on the BBC Scotland channel. Filmed in two different locations, each week Barr will meet a trio of acclaimed writers from the worlds of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Some may be from the place where the show is filmed, or their work reflects it; others will be famous writers with a less obvious connection, and some will be literature-loving celebrities who can talk passionately about the works that have played a role in their lives. Each episode will be filmed as live and performed in front of an audience. This show celebrates books and authors from around the world and shines a spotlight on Scottish writers.

There will also be items with local book lovers in each episode, with details of the places and contributors to be featured to be announced at a later date.

The format of the show is inspired by Damian Barr’s renowned Literary Salon, currently resident at London’s Savoy Hotel.

As host of the salon, Newarthill-born Barr has interviewed a diverse range of established and emerging names from the literary world, ranging from Bret Easton Ellis to Armistead Maupin, Susan Calman, Ian Rankin, Kirsty Wark, Aminatta Forna, Yaa Gasi, Juno Dawson, Caitlin Moran, Alan Cumming and Sathnam Sanghera.

Damian Barr says: “Book sales are higher than ever and book groups continue to flourish (okay, drinking wine and occasionally talking about books). From Wigtown to Aye Write and Edinburgh International, Scotland has some of the best and busiest book festivals in the world. And we’ve given the world some of its finest writers.

“I’m delighted to host the Big Scottish Book Club and invite everyone to join our conversation, readers and writers across the country and the world. Books are for everyone and so is this show.”

Gareth Hydes, Commissioning Executive, BBC Scotland, says: “In conjunction with Damian and IWC, we have worked to give his renowned salon sessions a Scottish twist for the new channel. There are a lot of great Scottish books and authors to discuss and invite on to the show, but it will also feature the international bestsellers, which have got everyone talking.”

Mark Downie, Creative Director of IWC said: “Ever since, as a fan, I first attended Damian’s legendary Literary Salon, I’ve wanted to find a way to bring his electrifying passion for books and beguiling skills as an interviewer to a TV audience.

“Thanks to the BBC Scotland channel we now can. As a Scottish producer, we are all thrilled to be making a world-class series that celebrates Scottish literature for a channel that seeks to reflect the people of Scotland in all their diversity. Our mission with this series is to inspire the whole country to get reading and create a book group for the entire nation, which everyone is welcome to join.”

This article is reproduced from the BBC Scotland press release. 

June 7, 2019

Writers wanted for new LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

LAS is looking to appoint five published writers living and working in Scotland to sit on our new Writers’ Advisory Group.

Please note applications are now closed. 

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to further strengthen the advice to our Board from a diverse and inclusive writing community. More details about the Group’s purpose and role are below.

We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre and form, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability and religion – and their intersections – and we particularly encourage writers from under-represented groups to apply.

Members of the Advisory Group will be paid in line with the Live Literature Funding rate of £175 per session, plus travel expenses.

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

DEADLINE: midnight on Monday 27 May 2019.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

About LAS

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

LAS was formed in spring 2015 as a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland, which was first set up in 2001, at the invitation of the then Literature Committee of the Scottish Arts Council. In 2006, following a review of its remit by the Scottish Arts Council, the Literature Forum was formally recognised as a national Advisory Council for Literature and acted in this capacity. In mid-2014, Literature Forum members decided to review the organisation’s future role and to consider how it should develop to become a stronger and more inclusive voice for literature and languages in Scotland and abroad, leading to the transition in spring 2015 to Literature Alliance Scotland and a period of development work from 2016-2018. In our exciting new two-year programme of work, Turning the Next Page: future proofing the sector to 2020 and beyond, we aim to raise the volume of the sector louder than ever before.

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

 

About the LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

Our Writers’ Advisory Group will enable a direct and formalised channel of communication between writers, our Board, and the LAS membership network, providing expert knowledge to help ensure that writers’ concerns are at the heart of the LAS mission and strategy and are reflected in our activities and advocacy work. The members of the Advisory Group will together represent the broader writing community and will perform an advocacy role on the key issues that affect writers.

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to enhance the advice from a diverse and inclusive writing community to our Board. We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre and form, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability and religion – and their intersections – and we particularly encourage writers from under-represented groups to apply. We reserve the right to supplement the shortlist with invited candidates.

The Advisory Group will meet twice a year, likely in the summer and the winter, of 2019 and 2020 where you will work in collaboration with Jenny Kumar, LAS’ Communications Officer, to discuss key issues and share your advice and recommendations that will help shape our activities.

Each member of the Advisory Group will be paid the Live Literature Funding recommended rate of £175 per session, plus travel expenses, and covering reasonable expenses, to be discussed.

The first meeting of this newly formed Writers’ Advisory Group will take place on Wednesday 26 June 2019, 2pm-3.30pm at Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR.

 

How to apply

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

DEADLINE: midnight on Monday 27 May 2019

First meeting: Wednesday 26 June 2019, 2pm-3.30pm at Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR.

 

 

 

April 26, 2019

Open Project Awards for Literature: March 2019

Scotland’s inaugural Cymera Festival of science-fiction, fantasy and horror writing joins 40 artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians, writers, theatre-makers, festivals and organisations to receive a share over £850,000 National Lottery funds in the latest round of Creative Scotland’s Open Project funding awards.

Congratulations to the following who received funding for Literature in March 2019:

The inaugural Cymera Festival of science-fiction, fantasy and horror writing which will take place from 7–9 June 2019 in Edinburgh.  Organiser, Ann Landmann anticipates that: Cymera will contribute towards breaking down the boundaries between genre writing and general fiction and highlight its literary merit.

One of Scotland’s leading Science Fiction writers, Ken MacLeod also commented “For Scotland to have its own festival of science fiction, fantasy and horror is long overdue. From classics to comics, the fantastic in Scottish literature has a storied history. Cymera lights a bright beacon for its future.”

Borders Book Festival also received funding towards this year’s festival which takes place from 13-16 June 2019.

April 25, 2019

James Tait Black Prize shortlists announced

An appealing mix of books illuminating themes such as gender, identity and race form the shortlist for the centenary awards of Britain’s longest-running literary prizes – the James Tait Black Prizes.

The four novels competing for the £10,000 fiction prize are:

Murmur by Will Eaves (CB Editions)

Sight by Jessie Greengrass (John Murray)

Crudo by Olivia Laing (Picador)

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Chatto & Windus).

The four biographies shortlisted for the £10,000 prize are:

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (Two Roads)

In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus)

The Life of Stuff: A Memoir about the Mess We Leave Behind by Susannah Walker (Doubleday)

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library by Edward Wilson-Lee (William Collins).

The winners of both prizes – presented annually by the University of Edinburgh – will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. The centenary celebrations will be attended by some of the previous winning authors.

Read more information about the James Tait Black Prizes.

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2019

Author International Travel Fund opens

Scottish Books International has established the Author International Travel Fund to support writers who have been invited overseas to promote their work.

SBI works on behalf of the literature sector in Scotland and is dedicated to the international promotion of books, writers, festivals and organisations.

Applicants can apply for a maximum of £1000 to support travel costs towards their trip.

Applications are welcome from the writer themselves, or from the organisation who has invited the author.

The fund opens 1 April 2019. You can apply at any time throughout the year. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis while there is an available budget for the quarter.

The fund aims to:

  • Increase opportunities for Scottish writers to attend festivals and other promotional or exchange events overseas.
  • Remove barriers for Scottish writers from all backgrounds to take up these opportunities.
  • Develop relationships between Scottish writers and festivals, publishers and organisations overseas.

Find out about eligibility and how to apply for the Author International Travel Fund at Scottish Books International.

SBI is online via scottishbooksinternational.org and on Twitter @ScotBooksInt

 

April 1, 2019

Malachy Tallack longlisted for 2019 RSL Ondaatje Prize

Huge congratulations to author Malachy Tallack whose book The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate) has been longlisted amongst 20 titles for this year’s RLS Ondaatje Prize.

The annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.

This is the first time the RLS has announced a longlist – in celebration of the 15th year of the Prize.

Credit: rsliterature.org

The shortlist will be announced at an event on Tuesday 16 April with the winner announced on Monday 13 May.

March 28, 2019

Rebranded Wigtown Poetry Prize 2019 opens

The refreshed and rebranded International Poetry Prize is now open.

Wigtown Poetry Prize welcomes entries from poets writing in English wherever you live.

Separate categories celebrate the best of Scottish Gaelic and Scots language poetry, a special category acknowledges a rising talent in Dumfries & Galloway, and a new pamphlet prize is named in memory of Alastair Reid – local poet and one of Scotland’s foremost literary figures.

Based in Scotland’s National Book Town for over a decade, Wigtown Poetry Competition has become one of the UK’s best established writing prizes and a launchpad for many writers’ careers.

Deadline: Friday 7 June 2019.
A prize-giving will be held at Wigtown Book Festival in the autumn.

 

March 22, 2019

Scottish Writers’ Centre launches chapbooks

Scottish Writers Centre is launching a series of chapbooks and wants your unpublished submissions of poetry, prose-poetry and flash fiction.

Entries can be written in any of the languages of Scotland and can be standalone pieces or one work / a collection of flash/poetry to be serialised.

The chapbooks will celebrate Scotland and showcase the best of our contemporary writers and aim to reflect SWC’s commitment to Scottish writing and writers, from the islands to the border.

Successful submissions will be paid at a rate of £10, plus a copy of the chapbook.

The writer chosen for serialisation will be paid a total of £100, plus copies of each chapbook.

The first theme is Island and Sea.

Deadline: midnight on Tues 30 Apr for issue 1. 

Please see the Scottish Writers’ Centre website for more information and submission / eligibility guidelines.

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2019

‘Fishnet’ and ‘Maggie & Me’ optioned for television

STV Productions drama team has secured the television rights to a debut novel and a memoir by Scottish authors.

STV Productions has optioned Maggie and Me, the best-selling book by writer and columnist Damian Barr.  A poignant and painfully funny memoir about growing up gay in Thatcher’s Britain, it won Sunday Times Memoir of the Year, and was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. BAFTA nominated writer Andrea Gibb will develop the story as a long running series for TV. Gibb’s recent work includes feature film Swallows and Amazons and BBC series Call The Midwife.

Damian Barr said: “Andrea was always my dream writer – her work keeps me thinking long after I’ve stopped laughing or crying (she regularly evokes both). And with Claire and Sarah I have the dream team. I couldn’t be more delighted.  Maggie & Me is in hands I truly trust and I am excited to work on it with them.”

Fishnetwritten by award-winning journalist Kirstin Innes, has been optioned for development as a serial for television. Winner of The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize in 2015, this gripping and thought provoking story follows Fiona’s obsessive search for her missing sister who disappeared six years ago leaving her baby in Fiona’s care. As she digs deeper into her sister’s secret life, she is drawn into the dark and complex world of Scotland’s sex industry. The shocking discoveries she makes will challenge everything she believed about sex work, and about the lost sister she thought she knew.

Kirstin Innes said: “Fishnet is about sex work, sisterhood and everyday economics, and is the result of three years’ worth of research. I am incredibly excited by STV’s vision for the book and can’t wait to see it on screen”

Both series will be developed by STV’s Claire Armspach and Sarah Brown, with Sarah as Executive Producer.

Sarah said: “As soon as we read Kirstin’s sensational debut novel, we knew it was the perfect material for television. This is no ordinary crime novel – along with its brilliantly plotted mystery, and wonderful characters, Kirstin’s book asks some brave and provocative questions about the world we live in. Similarly, Damian’s extraordinary book not only defines the experience of a generation of Thatcher’s children but will offer viewers an original, joyful and universal story about the triumph of the human spirit.  We are incredibly excited to be working once again with some of the best creative talent in Scotland and bringing both of these fantastic books to the screen.”

STV Productions has a track record of producing quality drama, with four part thriller The Victim – starring Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah – transmitting later this year on BBC One. STV Productions has also confirmed a second BBC drama commission – Elizabeth is Missing, adapted from Emma Healey’s novel by Andrea Gibb.  Last year, as part of a wider strategy announcement, STV confirmed ambitious plans to grow STV Productions into a world-class production company.

Ends

For further information, please contact the STV press office:

Katie Martin
0141 3003109
katie.martin@stv.tv

Anna Hendry
0141 300 3830
anna.hendry@stv.tv

March 20, 2019

CS Open Project Awards for Literature: February 2019

More than £790,000 of National Lottery funding has been awarded to 31 recipients through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following who received funding in February 2019 in Literature:

Aye Write! (14-31 March 2019) and Wee Write! (1-8 March 2019) at Glasgow’s Book Festival for Children & Young People will bring the best Scottish and international authors to Glasgow.

Open Book will deliver reading and creative writing sessions with new partners in library and community settings in Stranraer, Ullapool, Kirkwall (Orkney), Aberdeen, the Borders, and Fife.

Marjorie Gill commented: “Every centre that we approached to discuss the possibility of starting an Open Book group took us up on the idea immediately and we can’t wait to get started.”

Glasgow Zine Library will continue their programme of workshops, talks and screenings at their archive and lending library on the ground floor of 16 Nicholson Street, Glasgow. Their largest programming component is Glasgow Zine Fest, held in CCA from 20-21 April 2019.

CoastWord 2019 will bring together established and emerging writers in Dunbar from 24-26 May 2019. The 2019 festival will explore the theme: Scotland 2019, through discussions, talks and performance with distinguished historians, songwriters and writers whose work explores and reflects the social and cultural changes in Scotland and how Scotland, her characters and political and cultural climate affects and influences their work.

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

February 28, 2019