A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

2022 Emerging Writer Award Winner Announced 

Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, and The Bridge Awards are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2022 Emerging Writer Award is Natalia Theodoridou, a fiction writer born in Greece, with roots in Russia, Georgia, and Turkey and based in the UK.

Natalia Theodoridou will receive a tailor-made package worth up to £2,000, which includes tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring at Moniack Mhor.

Natalia Theodoridou

The judges were unanimous in their support of Theodoridou’s work in progress, a short story collection built around themes of transformations, loss – of place, of others, of self – and methodologies for existing in worlds where one never wholly fits. Titled Attempts on The World, the stories exist in the interstices between literary and speculative fiction.

Tracey Emerson, author, and Creative Director at The Bridge Awards said: “As the Emerging Writer Award goes into its seventh year, we are delighted to have Natalia as our winner. His stunning writing blew us away as soon as we read it and we can’t wait to see him develop his talent further during the course of the award.”

Natalia Theodoridou said: “I spent the week after learning I won Moniack Mhor’s Emerging Writer Award in a state of disbelief, half-expecting a follow-up email in which I’d be informed that, regrettably, some mistake had been made. Yet here we are! It’s an honour and such an incredible vote of confidence. I applied for the Award hoping to be given the space, time, and support necessary to work on my debut short story collection; for all writers, but especially for marginalized ones, that license can be as vital as air. When describing my work, I said many of the worlds in my stories are utopias where people take care of each other, for once. I wasn’t expecting my little shot in the dark to be answered so kindly and so soon. I am grateful.”

Theodoridou is a queer writer of strange stories that exist in the interstices between literary and speculative fiction. He has won the World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, the Silver Prize for poetry in the Creative Future Writers’ Awards, and the Word Factory Apprentice Award. He has also been longlisted for prizes such as the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize, the Manchester Fiction Prize, the White Review Prize, and the BBC National Short Story Award. His stories and poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, Ninth Letter, and Strange Horizons, among other venues, and have been translated into Italian, French, Greek, Estonian, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. He holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from SOAS. An immigrant to the UK for many years, Natalia was born in Greece and has roots in Georgia, Russia, and Turkey. 

Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre

The second-place finalist for the prize is Lucy Steeds, a writer based in London, who will receive a course, retreat, or the equivalent in one-to-one mentoring.

The judging panel have also chosen three additional writers as Highly Commended. Andrea Mullaney, Gabrielle Johnson and Sally Hughes will each receive a £150 bursary for Moniack Mhor.

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Notes to Editors

All bios and images are available for all the authors on the Moniack Mhor website: https://www.moniackmhor.org.uk/writers/awards-residencies/the-bridge-awards/ 

For more information or to arrange an interview with Natalia Theodoridou, please contact Kirsteen Bell on 07842 040 165 or kirsteen@moniackmhor.org.uk    

Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre is situated in a beautiful rural location in the Scottish Highlands, Teavarran, Kiltarlity, 14 miles outside Inverness. Since 1993, Moniack Mhor has been working with the finest writers from the UK and beyond to deliver creative writing courses, retreats and other support for writers of all ages and abilities and from all walks of life.

Moniack Mhor is a registered charity and is supported by Creative Scotland as a Regularly Funded Organisation. It also offers courses, mentoring and a leadership programme for care experienced young people aged 14-26 in Scotland, via funding from Life Changes Trust.

The Centre also facilitates several writing awards as well as providing residential opportunities for professional, published artists to develop their work. It works closely with other key Scottish literature organisations and other partners and runs a broad community programme. It also provides writing tuition in Highland schools and to young people through writing clubs.

Moniack Mhor champions equality and aims to break down barriers to the creative process, including offering a bursary scheme to support fees where needed.          

The Bridge Awards is a philanthropic venture that provides funding for the arts. This support is given in the form of annual awards and regular micro-funding opportunities.

Support is given to Individuals and organisations involved in the fields of literature, film, visual arts, theatre, dance and music. We also fund selected cultural heritage, conservation and community projects, both in the UK and abroad.

Reproduced from Moniack Mhor’s press release. 

 

May 24, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-ENDS-

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

Notes to Editor

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

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

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

May 10, 2022

2021 Highland Book Prize shortlist announced

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

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

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

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

The shortlisted titles are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Notes for Editors

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

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

AUTHOR BIOS AND BOOK INFO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reproduced from The Highland Book Prize’s press release.

March 22, 2022

Keep the Heid and Read!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

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

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

 Reproduced from SLIC’s press release.

March 5, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Notes for editors

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

Authors’ quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Scottish Book Festivals Network

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

About Creative Scotland

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

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-ENDS- 

QUOTES

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

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

LINKS

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

Reproduced from Publishing Scotland press release. 

December 14, 2021

Year of Stories 2022 events revealed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

December 14, 2021

Inklusion Guide Meets Target Budget

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

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

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

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

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

Commenting on the funding and appeal, Julie Farrell said:

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

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

Also commenting, Ever Dundas said:

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

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

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors

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

Reproduced with permission.

November 25, 2021

Creative Scotland launches new initiative, Our Creative Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

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

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

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

Jennifer Hunter, Director of Culture Counts said:

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

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

-Ends-

Background

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

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

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

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

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.  Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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

September 8, 2021

St Duthac Book & Arts Festival to launch September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

Notes to editors

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

 

August 14, 2021

New Scottish Publishers’ Fair set for Wigtown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Ends-

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

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

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

Press reproduced from Stellar Words.

January 7, 2021

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

The Big Scottish Book Club on BBC Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is reproduced from the BBC Scotland press release. 

June 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

For further information, please contact the STV press office:

Katie Martin
0141 3003109
katie.martin@stv.tv

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

March 20, 2019

Once Upon a Time… Scotland’s Storybook Trail

  • Scotland’s Storybook Trail includes a collection of characters and stories with connections to Scotland either by author, by location or by experience.
  • The self-led trail will comprise of a map which will be available online and in print from select VisitScotland iCentres and literary outlets.
  • Book lovers of all ages can embark on a literary adventure inspired by their favourite storybook characters and discover new stories to enjoy.
  • Characters include Harry Potter, Peter Pan, The Gruffalo, Thumble Tumble, Peter Rabbit, The Howlat and Greyfriars Bobby. 

‘Scotland’s Storybook Trail’ by Visit Scotland alights at The Beatrix Potter Exhibition & Garden at Birnam Arts, Perthshire.

From Peter Rabbit to Peter Pan, Harry Potter to The Howlat, Scotland has inspired some of the world’s best-loved literary creations.

Whether it’s history, landscapes, wildlife or even architecture, for decades authors have used some of the country’s greatest assets to create characters that continue to delight readers of all ages.

In recognition of this, VisitScotland has launched, Scotland’s Storybook Traila collection of places with links to some of the most celebrated characters in children’s literature.

The trail, which comprises  of a colourful map hosted on visitscotland.com and will be available at selected VisitScotland iCentres , as well as bookshops and libraries across Scotland, will help bookworms embark on their own adventures across the country, learning more about their favourite stories and discovering new tales inspired by or written in Scotland.

Featured locations include the birthplace of Peter Pan creator, JM Barrie in Kirriemuir, Angus; the Isle of Coll, the inspiration of Katie Morag’s fictional home on the Isle of Struay; the Scottish Owl Centre in West Lothianwhere readers can meet some feathered friends, similar to those that feature in the Harry Potter series; and Birnam Artsin Perthshire, the region that inspired Beatrix Potter’s famous creations. And it’s not just the book locations themselves that will appeal to young readers – the trail includes some great bookshops and festivals to discover around Scotland.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “In this, Scotland’s Year of Young People, the Storybook Trail not only celebrates Scotland’s rich literary heritage and incredible landscapes, but it also provides an opportunity to encourage children to read for pleasure and develop a life-long love of books. 

“With so many locations across the country linked to characters in children’s literature, I am sure the trail will act as a magnet for visitors from home and abroad who will experience our beautiful, vibrant country.”

Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland, said:“Scotland has world-class literary links. Our landscapes, history and people have inspired writers for centuries, helping to bring to life enduring characters that capture the imaginations of not just youngsters but grown-ups too.

“A great story has to have great characters and that’s what inspired Scotland’s Storybook Trail. We wanted to create something, as we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, that encourages booklovers of all ages to discover the places and people behind these famous fictional friends. “

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, said: “Scotland has a rich history of iconic literary characters, created or inspired by its places and people. Visiting locations with a special connection to favourite stories or figures is a real thrill for fans of any age, and Scotland’s Storybook Trail is packed with superb suggestions.

“Now is the perfect time to take a trip round our beautiful country and enjoy again, or for the first time, some of the greatest Scottish stories ever told and the places where the creative spark started – just don’t forget to pack a book.”

 

So take a magical adventure from page to place and discover just some of the Scottish locations with literary links to best-loved stories;

Harry Potter – JK Rowling

Grab your wands and prepare for a magic adventure! Visit Tom Riddle’s grave at Greyfriars Kirkyard, meet some of Hedwig’s feathered friends at the Scottish Owl Centreor join a tour of the Capital to find out how Edinburgh’s buildings and people inspired JK Rowling’s smash-hit series about a boy wizard. Film fans  -make sure to hop aboard the ‘Hogwarts Express’ across the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling adventure was written during a stay inBraemar. It’s thought Stevenson based some of the characters on people he met in the village. Treasure Island is also rumoured to have been inspired by Fidra Islandin East Lothian which the writer used to watch from the area known now as Yellowcraig. Today, rather than pirates you are more likely to find puffins as the island is an RSPB Scotland reserve.

Peter Pan – JM Barrie 

Make sure to pack your pixie dust as you head off on an awfully big adventure in search of Peter Pan. A statue of ‘The Boy Who Never Grew Up’ can be found at JM Barrie’s Birthplacein Kirriemuir, Angus but it was Moat Braein Dumfries, where Barrie lived as a boy, that inspired Neverland, the enchantedfaraway place where Peter Pan and the Lost Boys outwit Captain Hook.

Beano, The Dandy and Oor Wullie

The antics of Dennis and his pals in Beano, and A’body’s favourite wee laddie, Oor Wullie have been published every week for decades by DC Thomson who are based in Dundee with Beano recently celebrating its 80thbirthday. Look out for statues of fellow DC Thomson legends, Desperate Dan, Minnie the Minxas well asOor Wullie, in Dundee city centre. And don’t miss the chance to grab a selfie on Bash Street.

Katie Morag – Mairi Hedderwick 

The Isle of Collin the Inner Hebrides was the real-life inspiration for Katie Morag’s home on the Isle of Struay.  Take a picnic to the beach, explore the island’sonly real village, Arinagour, and keep an eye out for the whitewashed cottages that look just like the illustrations in Mairi Hedderwick’s books.

Peter Rabbit and Friends – Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter created her most famous fluffy friend, Peter Rabbit, following childhood summer holidays in Dunkeld, watching and drawing wildlife.Birnam Artsis a great place to learn about the region that inspired her, you may also meet some of her other characters in the Beatrix Potter Exhibition Garden.

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson  and Axel Scheffler

Take a stroll through the deep dark wood on Ardkinglas Estatein search of the Gruffalo. Look out for the Mouse who’ll help guide you along the trail which tells the story, translated into Scots, of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s famous, loveable beast.

Thumble Tumble – AH Proctor

The Isle of Arranis the extraordinary little home of this extraordinary little witch. Visit Brodick Castleand Lochranza Castlewhere Thumble Tumble’s first two magical adventures were set. Keep your eyes peeled for Night Witches, Sea Dragons and Flower Nymphs – you never know what magic you might encounter on this spectacular island.

 Why not continue your literary adventure with a visit to one of Scotland’s book festivals?

 

Edinburgh International Book Festival

11-27 August

As the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is an unmissable event for book-lovers. The Baillie Gifford Children’s Programme is perfect for young readers from tots to teens, with hundreds of events including interactive sessions, fun performances, storytelling and workshops with authors and illustrators.

 

Killearn Children’s Festival

2 September

A fun-filled day packed with events and activities aimed a little bookworms. Learn how to draw a dragon, get tips on writing your own stories or listen to a host of tales from authors of some of the most exciting new books.

 

Wigtown Book Festival

21-30 September

Celebrating its 20thanniversary, the annual award-winning festival takes place in Wigtown, Scotland’s National Book Town. For ten days in September, the town buzzes with book events as well as theatre, music and a dedicated Children’s Garden offers activities to appeal to younger readers.

 

Borders Book Festival

13-16 June 2019

The hugely popular Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival, which in 2018 attracted record audiences, is always a highlight of the literary calendar and regularly welcomes some of the most well-known writers in the country.   The Family Book Festival offers a wonderful selection of events with sessions from some of the best-loved authors for children, as well as free activities.

To find more book festivals across Scotland visit https://literaturealliancescotland.co.uk/events/find-a-book-festival/

For more inspiration to entertain little book fans visit:www.visitscotland.com/blog/family-2/storybook-trail/

ENDS

IMAGE CAPTION: Credit Julie Howden

6 year old Charlotte Brady from Invergowrie and Carter (aged 6), Angus (aged 4) and Finn McKay (aged 2) from Dundee take inspiration from Scotland’s Storybook Trail to learn more about Peter Rabbit at the Beatrix Potter Exhibition & Garden at Birnam Arts, Perthshire.

For further information and images please contact:

Louise Purves, Senior PR Officer, VisitScotland – louise.purves@visitscotland.com/0131 472 2052

Notes to editors

About VisitScotland

  • VisitScotland had launched a brand new global campaign, Scotland is Now.  To find out more go to www.scotlandisnow.com or join the conversation by using #ScotlandIsNow
  • VisitScotland’s Community site was set up for the Scottish public to help, engage and enthuse potential visitors about the country.  To get involved go to:www.visitscotland.com/community
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx,
  • For tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to www.visitscotland.org

PLEASE NOTE

This copy was correct at the time of going to press. VisitScotland cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information and accepts no responsibility for any error or misrepresentation.  All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by the reliance on the information contained herewith, or in the event of any company, individual or firm ceasing to trade, is hereby excluded

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 10, 2018

Former Freight Poets Find New Home

  •   Award-winning pamphlet publisher Stewed Rhubarb takes first steps into full collections
  •   Debut collections by poets Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum reissued

 After two years in hiatus, Stewed Rhubarb has made the decision to start work again as a specialist in the publication of poetry by spoken word artists, and is set to re-issue two poetry collections previously taken out of print following the collapse of Freight Books late last year.

Tonguit by Harry Giles – a collection shortlisted for both the Edwin Morgan Award and the Forward Prize for First Collection – and The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate by Rachel McCrum – former BBC Scotland Poet in Residence – will find a new home with the press, and will both be available in bookshops come April.

 

Harry Giles and Rachel McCrum had both previously published pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb before being picked up for their debut full collections by Freight. Editor and designer James T. Harding said:

“I was so excited when Rachel and Harry were taken on by Freight. I thought a bigger publisher would be able to advance their careers better than I could. When Freight went into liquidation, Harry Giles emailed to ask if they could buy one of my ISBN numbers to self-publish a reissue. I thought I could do better than that… so here we are, a few months later, and I appear to have started a full-on publishing company.”

The new edition of Tonguit is currently available to order from bookshops and online, and McCrum’s The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate will be released in May.

Of the press, poet Harry Giles said: “Stewed Rhubarb’s dedication to fertilising the roots of literature is immense and impressive. They care about poetry, and they’re doing difficult work to keep Scottish poets in print at a vulnerable and precarious time — and they’re doing it with gusto. After a tumultuous year, working with SR again felt like coming home. Also, they design gorgeous books.”

Rachel McCrum said: “I am thrilled to my core to be working with Stewed Rhubarb again, and honoured to be among the first for their new wave of publishing. Their books are immaculately designed and edited, and their publishing model is responsive, considered, and places the author at the heart of things. Scotland should be proud of them. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Stewed Rhubarb was founded in 2013, winning the Callum Macdonald Award for its first pamphlet, The Glassblower Dances by Rachel McCrum. Since then, the imprint has published 16 pamphlets from writers ranging from Edinburgh to the Appalachian Mountains, including playwright Jo Clifford, Scottish spoken-word luminary Jenny Lindsay, and Freight author Russell Jones. Stewed Rhubarb is known for its wildly diverse list, authentic appreciation of the spoken-word scene, and high production values.

The online launch for both collections will take place on Wed 25th April.

www.stewedrhubarb.org | @stewedrhubarb | #stewedrhubarb

– ENDS –

For press enquiries please contact: rebecca@stewedrhubarb.org

www.stewedrhubarb.org

Interviews available

James T. Harding

Rachel McCrum (based in Canada)

Harry Giles

  

Notes to Editors

–       The online launch for both collections will take place on Wed 25th April

–       Poetry from both collections if available for reprint

Harry Giles

Harry Giles is from Orkney, Scotland. They write and perform work across poetry, theatre and games, and their work generally happens in the crunchy places where performance and politics get muddled up. They were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, co-direct the live art platform Anatomy, and have toured participatory performances across Europe, North America, New Zealand and Leith. www.harrygiles.org

Tonguit

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize’s 2016 debut collection award, Harry Giles’ Tonguit is a moving exploration of identity in Scots, English, and bureaucracy. Politically radical and formally inventive, Tonguit plays at the borders of nationality and sexuality with irreverent affection, questing through languages for a place to speak.

Rachel McCrum

Rachel McCrum was born in 1982 and grew up in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. She lived in Edinburgh, Scotland from 2010 to 2016, where she previously published two pamphlets with Stewed Rhubarb Press: The Glassblower Dances (2012, winner of the Callum MacDonald Award) and Do Not Alight Here Again (2015, also a solo Fringe show). She was the Broad of cult spoken word cabaret Rally & Broad, the inaugural BBC Scotland Poet-In-Residence, and a recipient of an RLS Fellowship in 2016. She has performed and taught across the UK, Ireland, Greece, South Africa, Haiti and Canada. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec, where she is Director of Les Cabarets Batards.

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate is both lyrical and gentle, demanding and sharp as it carves its own path through themes of family, place, environment, and repression. The poems in the collection are fragments of McCrum’s sea-bourne journey from Northern Island, across Scotland, and alighting in Canada. It’s a collection about leaving home and what you take with you.

James T. Harding

As well as running Stewed Rhubarb, James T. Harding is the editor of C&B News and the features editor of Broadway Baby. He is a writer on Cops and Monsters, a supernatural police thriller on Amazon Prime. He occasionally sleeps.

 

April 21, 2018

#ScotBookFlood: Celebrating Scottish-Nordic Literary Links

With Book Week Scotland 2017 kicking off today, Publishing Scotland is delighted to announce ScotBookFlood. Inspired by the unique tradition of book gifting in Iceland, Jolabokaflod, ScotBookFlood will celebrate Scottish-Nordic links and encourage thoughtful book giving in the run-up to Christmas.

Jolabokaflod (which translates roughly as ‘Christmas book flood’) is the Icelandic tradition of giving books to one other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. It’s such a popular custom that it is the reason why the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December.

ScotBookFlood reflects the recent Arctic Circle Forum in Edinburgh, at which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon emphasised the importance of continuing to forge strong relationships between Scotland and its northern neighbours. Iceland and the UK publish more books per capita than any other countries, and with more books sold in the run-up to Christmas than any other period, ScotBookFlood presents a timely opportunity to highlight dynamic Scottish-Nordic cultural connections.

Kristín Viðarsdóttir, Head of International Cooperation at Reykjavík City of Literature, comments: “Our literatures have crossed paths through the ages as have our people and our languages. We can trace our connection to the very settlement of Iceland, as many of our ancestors came here from the British Isles.”

Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland, says: “The vibrant publishing scene in Scotland moves into the spotlight during Book Week Scotland, and with Christmas ahead, this is a hugely busy time for publishers and bookshops. An increasing emphasis on book design and creating beautiful books these days means ScotBookFlood is an excellent opportunity to showcase books as the perfect gift.”

Duncan Furness, Senior Bookseller at Topping and Company Booksellers in St Andrews, one of Scotland’s newest bookshops, echoes this: “The gift of a book at Christmas provides much more than a diverting story or set of facts. Books contain entire worlds, and have the power to change our perception with every read and re-read. They are paper treasures which last a lifetime.”

The #ScotBookFlood digital campaign is delivered throughout Book Week Scotland (from 27 November to 3 December) via social media and the Books from Scotland website. Books from Scotland features a special ScotBookFlood issue launched today. Highlights include:

  • Interview with best-selling author Matt Haig about his new book for children Father Christmas and Me.
  • Exploring Edinburgh and Reykjavík as UNESCO Cities of Literature.
  • Exclusive Scottish gin cocktail recipe, inspired by Iceland’s volcanic outdoor pools.
  • Acclaimed author Kirsty Logan recalls sheep, wild swimming, and solitude in an article about her writing residency in rural Iceland.
  • Scottish Publishers reveal what Scottish books they will give this Christmas.
  • Extract from McSmörgåsbord: What Post-Brexit Scotland Can Learn from Our Northern Neighbours by Eberhard Bort and Lesley Riddoch.
  • Giveaways of books for adults and children.
  • Pinterest boards highlighting Scottish-Nordic literary links.

Author Kirsty Logan, who features in the ScotBookFlood campaign, remarks “I’ve always been inspired by the idea of north, and my time in Iceland strengthened and sweetened my northern heart. To say it’s a place of pure, terrifying magic is an understatement.”

This week, Books from Scotland and Publishing Scotland will ask about what Scottish books people plan to give this Christmas, or what books from Scotland people plan to read over the festive period. They invite the public to join the conversation, using hashtags #ScotBookFlood, #BookWeekScotland, and tweeting @scottishbooks.

[ENDS]

Notes for Editors

  • Publishing Scotland is the trade, network and development body for the Scottish book publishing sector. For more information visit www.publishingscotland.org and its books site www.booksfromscotland.com.
  • Book Week Scotland, a Scottish Government initiative, is the annual celebration of books and reading, facilitated by Scottish Book Trust. It runs from Monday 27 November to Sunday 3 December 2017.
  • Edinburgh was the first UNESCO City of Literature in the world. Reykjavík became the fifth UNESCO City of Literature in August 2011 and was the first non-English speaking city to join the Cities of Literature Network.
  • The Books from Scotland ScotBookFlood Issue is live at www.booksfromscotland.com/issue/scotbookflood. See alsoBooks from Scotland on Twitter (@scottishbooks) and Pinterest.
  • We are available for interview on topics relating to the ScotBookFlood campaign. Please contact Gill Tasker –gill.tasker@publishingscotland.org or call 0131 228 6866. Campaign logos and images are available on request from Gill Tasker.

 

November 27, 2017
#ScotBookFlood: Celebrating Scottish-Nordic Literary Links

This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event

Author Louise Welsh, poet William Letford (l) and Francis Bickmore of Canongate Books.

Best-selling author Louise Welsh and award-winning poet William Letford are set to headline an inaugural literary cabaret taking place this month, which shines a light on the nation’s literary scene in 2017.

The fast-paced, 90-minute show – called This Is It! –  will highlight the year’s literary happenings across five strands – publishing, book festivals, school and public libraries, writers, and the international perspective.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will open this first public event from Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) – the nation’s largest network of literature and languages organisations – on Wednesday 23 November from 7pm at Central Hall, Edinburgh.

Speakers include, respectively, Canongate Books’ Publishing Director Francis Bickmore, Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival, and Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of Scottish Libraries Information Council (SLIC).

Poet William Letford, who hails from Stirling, will cover writer development and perform a reading of his poem This Is It from which the event takes its name.

Closing the show will be Glasgow-based author, Louise Welsh, who will speak about Scotland’s books and literature on the international stage as well as the importance of literary exchange between nations.

In addition, attendees will be able to browse and buy books from Scotland’s writers and publishers courtesy of Blackwell’s Bookshop, Edinburgh while librarians from South Lanarkshire’s digital library programme ‘ACTIVEe’ will be on hand to demonstrate 3D printers which are now available in all of Scotland’s public libraries.

Peggy Hughes, Chair of LAS said:

“With over 40 book festivals a year, ambitious new publishing houses such as 404ink emerging, stalwarts such as Birlinn celebrating 25 years, another Man Booker shortlisting for Ali Smith, Muriel Spark’s centenary on the horizon, not to mention the many, many Scottish books and authors that are going into the world every day and taking our stories and voices with them, it seemed high time that we take a moment to celebrate the wealth of our literature sector and shout about its cultural and social value.”

“At a time when Scotland’s Culture Strategy is being developed, it’s vital that we champion our sector and all the talented people working within and for it. Our literary cabaret is a chance for everyone with an interest in Scotland’s literature and book community to gather together and say, ‘This is it, this is a snapshot of what’s been happening this year’. It’s about carving out a space to celebrate the wonderful success, highlight the exciting potential and address the challenges. That’s why we’re so delighted that Fiona Hyslop is officially opening the event and giving this rich and vibrant sector the recognition it deserves.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scotland’s distinguished literary culture is a notable part of our national identity. It also attracts visitors to Scotland and raises our cultural profile around the world.

“I am pleased that the Literature Alliance Scotland is extending its reach beyond its membership of key individuals and agencies which promote writers and publishers to engage with the public.

“We are doing all we can to support the literary sector to ensure this rich legacy is maintained and strengthened in future years. We do this through for example our support for Creative Scotland, literacy, libraries, festivals, Book Week Scotland, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and the post of Makar.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said:

“We have a unique, distinctive and rich cultural asset in literature that not only makes an enormous impact to people’s lives in Scotland but also enhances our reputation internationally.  From poets to storytellers, screenwriters and playwrights the quantity and quality of writing being published here is truly inspiring. This is It! and Literature Alliance Scotland creates an important opportunity to bring together authors, publishers, libraries, festivals and literary organisations, and champion the work being done to make literature more visible to a greater number of people. We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

This Is It! is hosted by Siân Bevan and tickets are £7 /£6 – https://this-is-it-literary-cabaret-2017.eventbrite.com/

-Ends-

Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland. For further information, please contact LAS Communications Officer Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

Literature Alliance Scotland, a membership organisation, represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and is committed to advancing their interests at home and abroad. We exist to provide a strong, trusted collective voice on their behalf. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland. For further information visit www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk or follow us on Twitter: @LitScotland

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

November 6, 2017
This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event

Creative Scotland news: Growing Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector

Creative_Scotland-logo-695

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland today, Wednesday 23 November 2016, provides an update on Creative Scotland’s work to support Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector, since the publication of its Literature and Publishing Review.

The update coincides with Niven’s appearance at Literature Alliance Scotland’s International Summit, taking place at Edinburgh’s Storytelling Centre, during Book Week Scotland.

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, commented:
“Convened in direct response to recommendations within the Literature and Publishing Sector Review published in June 2015, the Summit is bringing together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and public bodies to plan how Scotland can better support the international promotion and presentation of Scotland’s writers and literature.

“A range of other projects, including new support for translation as well as investment in the recently established International Literature Showcase are part of our increased focus on international working, in response to feedback from the Literature sector in 2015’s sector review.

“That consultation has helped shape our Arts and Creative Industries Strategies and we thank everyone who has contributed to this work so far.  We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

Published 18 months ago, the Literature Sector Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland, sustaining the sector as a vibrant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. The review covered a range of areas including individual writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.

In addition to the £4m awarded to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations, over the last year, to support their work in Scotland and internationally, a number of measures have been undertaken in the past 18 months to help grow the Sector, including:

International Promotion
Developing a strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writers and Literature

  • Today’s International Summit has been co-ordinated by LAS, in direct response to a specific recommendation from Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Sector Review, to explore a more strategic approach to the international promotion of Scottish writing and literature.  Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event. The aim of the day is to lay the groundwork for a stronger international presence for Scottish literature.

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.”

  • Creative Scotland is partner funding a major new initiative with Writers Centre Norwichand the British Council to promote UK writers and literature organisations overseas.  Launched in September 2016, the online International Literature Showcase is supporting talented upcoming writers with promotional opportunities, new commissions and the development of their international profile.

Developing Talent and Skills

  • In the last financial year, 2015-16, Creative Scotland awarded more than £4million to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations to support their work in Scotland and internationally. For further information on Creative Scotland’s support for Literature, languages and publishing please visit, here.
  • Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fundoffers support for individual writers at all stages of their careers.  Awards made this year include Janice Galloway, Kirsty Logan, Amy Liptrot, Ewan Morrison, Merryn Glover, Malachy Tallack and Gordon Meade.
  • The Gavin Wallace Fellowship enables writers to take time out of their usual environment to develop their practice over the course of a year.  Writer Kirsty Logan, who undertook her Fellowship in 2015, commented: “The past year has been absolute bliss. Having the freedom to read, think and explore is truly priceless for a writer. The fellowship came at exactly the right time in my writing life, and I can’t recommend it enough.”
  • Creative Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Review of Books to run the Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme, which was launched with a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2016. Between November 2016 and February, 2017, 20 writers looking to break into literary criticism are being mentored in small groups by critics Alan Taylor, Rosemary Goring, David Robinson, Kaite Welsh and Dave Coates. Mentees are receiving guidance on writing literary criticism for print and online platforms and are receiving individual feedback with a view to showcasing their work on a special Emerging Critics section of the Scottish Review of Books website.

Mentee Ian Abbott, commented: “The emerging critics programme is bringing together different voices and practices from inside and outside the field of literature to learn from, share with and challenge each other. It offers the opportunity to reset, refocus and deepen our thinking on what criticism is, could be and how relevant it is; I’m interested in who isn’t represented, the gaps that exist and why some voices are invisible. There is already a generosity and exchange amongst our group and I believe it’s going to produce a series of stimulating debates, new sets of knowledge and a hearty barrel of the unknown.”

Translation

  • Launched in August 2015, the new Translation Fund, delivered by Publishing Scotland, is designed to encourage international publishers to translate works by Scottish writers. The £25,000 fund has already supported the translation of work from authors such as Amy Liptrot, Gavin Francis, Jenni Fagan and Jackie Kay translated into a variety of languages including Spanish, Italian and German amongst others.

Aly Barr, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said “The Publishing Scotland translation fund is now attracting applications from leading publishers around the world. The fund forms part of a pathway for international publishers-working in parallel with the annual international publishing fellowship. The fund is the amongst the largest awards schemes for translating books in Britain and positions Scottish publishing as an outwardly facing industry keen to share its stories with the world.”

  • The Fellowship Programme launched in August 2015 with the aim of forging stronger and more strategic links between international and Scottish publishers and agents to discover and acquire the rights to Scottish books.  Developed in partnership between Creative Scotland, Emergents and Publishing Scotland, the programme has engagedeighteen international publishing fellows.
  • The newly established Translation Residency Programme is offering writers the opportunity to take the time to work on the translation of Scottish works.  Delivered by Cove Park in partnership withPublishing Scotland and the British Centre for Literary Translation.  Anne Brauner (Germany) and Clara Pezzuto (Italy) undertook residencies in September 2016 and translated works byScotland based authors – The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie and And The Land Lay Still by James Robertson, respectively.
  • In 2017, the Translation Programme will expand to include partnerships with Writers Centre Norwich and University of Glasgow, in addition to a continuing relationship with Publishing Scotland, creating a UK-wide and outward looking programme. Highlights include residential mentoring for translators and poet-poet translation, as well as an increase in the number of translation residencies available.

Advocating for literature

  • Literature Alliance Scotland was awarded £50,000 in April 2016 to undertake a two-year programme of advocacy and networking involving its 26 member organisations (e.g. EIBF, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Book Trust, Saltire Society). The programme of activity will be rolled out over the next 18 months and the first output is today’s international summit.

Writer’s Pay

  • Creative Scotland’s recently published Arts Strategy underlines its ambition to improve the financial context in which artists and other creative professionals develop and make their work.  The Strategy has been informed by findings reported in the Literature Sector Review which found that that 81% of Scottish writers who responded to the survey earn below the National Minimum Wage. Together with the Society of Authors in Scotland, and other partners, Creative Scotland is exploring ways to address this issue and encourage organisations representing writers to continue to work closely with the sector in setting  standards  and  terms  of  engagements  for  activities  such as travel,  speaking  engagements, residencies, and publishing  contracts.

Access to literature and support for Scotland’s languages

  • In August 2015, Creative Scotland and the National Libraries of Scotland announced the first Scots Scriever – poet, novelist and playwright, Hamish MacDonald.  Responsible for working with the cultural sector, communities, and in particular, schools across Scotland, the Scriever will work to enhance awareness, understanding and use of Scots.  The Scriever post is also directly complementing Education Scotland’s work through their Scots language co-ordinators to broaden engagement of the Scots language policy.

Notes to Editors

About Creative Scotland 

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

Media Contact

Sophie Bambrough
Media Relations and PR Officer, Creative Scotland

D +44 131 523 0015 +44 7916 137 632

E: Sophie.bambrough@CreativeScotland.com

November 23, 2016

Summit to Debate Promotion of Scotland’s Literature & Books Overseas

A Summit to debate how Scotland’s literature sector should promote its writing and writers overseas is set to take place on Wednesday 23 November 2016 at the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.

Taking place during Book Week Scotland, the Summit is hosted by Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS), Scotland’s largest network of literature and languages organisations.

Dr. Alasdair Allan MSP, Scotland’s Minister for International Development and Europe, will open the event that brings together – for the first time – writers, publishers, literature organisations and the main public agencies in Scotland with a responsibility for the international promotion of Scotland’s literature and languages.

Author and publisher James Robertson will deliver a keynote speech. Speakers also include non-fiction award-winning writer Dr. Gavin Francis, poet Kathleen Jamie and children’s author Vivian French, publishers Canongate and Birlinn, literature organisations Publishing Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Association of Scottish Literary Studies, and public bodies and agencies Creative Scotland, British Council and Scottish Development International. The full programme is here.

The ‘by invitation’ Summit responds to recommendation 31 of Creative Scotland’s Literature and Publishing Review, published in June 2015, to ‘lay the groundwork for a strategic and coordinated international presence.’

Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Allan said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Scotland’s literature internationally. This event will bring together for the first time public agencies, writers and literary organisations to discuss ways to strengthen the presence of Scotland’s literature and publishing on the international stage.

“I look forward to opening this event and being part of the discussions on how we can work together to promote our literary culture at every possible opportunity.”

Donald Smith, Vice-Chair of LAS said: “The issue of Scotland’s international presence has been discussed a great deal over the years. This Summit marks the first time that the key players will be together in the same space with the same goal of agreeing what needs to be done and how we might work together to do it.

“We’re honoured to welcome Dr Allan MSP to open the day and look forward to hearing from a range of different voices across the sector – both speakers and delegates. We don’t expect to find an answer in only one day, but we’re ambitious to reach a consensus of how we move forward practically, which is a step in the right direction.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, said: “Writing from Scotland, both historic and contemporary, is recognised worldwide for its excellence. However, a stronger, more visible and better coordinated international presence would bring benefit for Scottish writers, publisher and organisations alike, which in turn is of benefit to Scottish culture and society as a whole. This view was voiced across the sector during the consultation commissioned by Creative Scotland in 2015, so it’s terrific to see that work is being made tangible via the upcoming summit. There is a range of partners with a vested interest in working towards this goal and having everyone brought together is of enormous value. I look forward to a vibrant discussion, which foregrounds the strengths on which we can build, and lays the foundations for a practical approach in the future.”

-Ends-

Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland. For further information, please contact LAS Communications Officer Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

  • Published in July 2015, Creative Scotland’s Literature Sector Review provides an overview of contemporary literature provision, reflecting the successes and the distinct qualities of Literature and Publishing in Scotland whilst at the same time identifying development needs, future challenges and opportunities, which will help inform the future work to best support literature and publishing in Scotland.
  • The Review produced a broad spread of recommendations aimed at improving the health of literature in Scotland and sustaining the sector as a vibrant and resonant form of cultural expression, and as an important creative industry. It covers a range of areas including writers, the publishing industry, developing readers, the sector ecology and the international promotion and development of Scottish writing.
  • This event responds to a recommendation with the review that leading literature institutions and publishers convene a summit for laying the groundwork for a strategic and coordinated international presence. More info here:
  • http://www.creativescotland.com/resources/our-publications/sector-reviews/literature-and-publishing-sector-review

Literature Alliance Scotland, a membership organisation, represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and is committed to advancing their interests at home and abroad. We exist to provide a strong, trusted collective voice on their behalf. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland.

For further information visit www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk or follow us @LitScotland

Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.

Working with a range of partners, it is delivered by Scottish Book Trust, a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. Scottish Book Trust believes that books and reading have the power to change lives. As a national charity, we inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure. For more information about Book Week Scotland, visit www.bookweekscotland.com. Follow @Bookweekscot on Twitter, check out #bookweekscot or like the Book Week Scotland Facebook page.

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

November 15, 2016