A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers opens on Mon 26 Oct

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

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

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

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

October 23, 2020

Arts professionals / freelancers wanted for Next Level Round Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll get:

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

We’ll cover the costs of:

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

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

How to apply:

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

The deadline for applications is midnight on Tuesday 3 November 2020.


October 13, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr Donald Smith Chief Executive of TRACS said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Reproduced from the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust press release.

September 25, 2020

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

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

An Leabhar Ficsein as Fheàrr (Duais Chomann Gàidhealach Lunnainn)

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


An Leabhar Bàrdachd as Fheàrr (Duais Ruaraidh MhicThòmais)

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


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

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


An Leabhar as Fheàrr do Chloinn/Òigridh

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


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


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

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

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

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

Notaichean do luchd-deasachaidh

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

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




The Gaelic Literature Awards 2020 shortlists

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

Best Fiction Book (Highland Society of London Prize)

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


Best Poetry Book (Derick Thomson Prize)

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


Best Non-fiction Book (Donald Meek Prize)

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


Best Book for Children/Young People

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


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


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

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

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

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

Notes for editors

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

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


August 28, 2020

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

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

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

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


August 3, 2020

Board members wanted for Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 13, 2020

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

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

Key findings from respondents include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full report here. 

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

July 9, 2020

Obituary: Professor Douglas Gifford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


July 7, 2020

Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing

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

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

The research entailed qualitative interviews with:

  • 113 professionals in the publishing industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information reproduced from Spread the Word website. 

June 24, 2020

Edinburgh City of Literature seeks new Trustees

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

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

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

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

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


June 16, 2020

2020 Highland Book Prize opens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information and how to apply.

June 10, 2020

Litir gu Glaschu | Letter to Glasgow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mu dheidhinn Ghlaschu Beò

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to editors:

About the Gaelic Books Council

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

About Glasgow Life

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

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


June 1, 2020

Wigtown Book Festival to go online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 Highland Book Prize awarded collectively to shortlisted authors

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

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

The joint winners of the 2019 Highland Book Prize are:

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

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie

Spring by Ali Smith

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt.

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

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

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

For further information please contact Mirren Rosie or Rachel Humphries:

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

t: 01463 741 675 or 07842040165

v: www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

May 11, 2020

Maisie Chan appointed as 2020 Gavin Wallace Fellow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to editors

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

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

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

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

About Moat Brae House and The Neverland Discovery Garden

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

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

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

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

About The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s press release. 

May 1, 2020

Urgent Children’s Book Appeal

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

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

From scottishbooktrust.com

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

Without books, these children and families are missing out.

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

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

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

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

How to donate:



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

Reproduced from the Scottish Book Trust’s website.

April 30, 2020

New funds from Creative Scotland

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

They are:

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

Reading in a time of plague ~ tips from Donald Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 20, 2020

LAS announces Next Level Awardee

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

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

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

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

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


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

February 21, 2020

The Highland Book Prize 2019 shortlist

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

They are:

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

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie (Sort of Books)

Spring by Ali Smith (Penguin Random House)

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt (Polygon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tel:                01463741675 or 07842040165

E-mail:          highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk

Visit:             www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

Twitter:         @highlandbook1

Instagram:    @highlandbookprize

Facebook:     @highlandbookprize

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



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



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)


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.


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