A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Graphic novel wins at the 2022 SoA awards

New Yorker cartoonist Will McPhail has won the Betty Trask Prize at the 2022 Society of Authors’ Awards for IN: The Graphic Novel – the first time a graphic novel has been named a winner of the prize. The novel is an account of a young illustrator’s struggle to find connection, praised by judges as a ‘devastating vision of contemporary loneliness’.

The winners have been announced today (1 June 2022), with 32 writers, poets and illustrators at all stages of their careers sharing the UK’s biggest literary prize fund of more than £100,000.

Lemn Sissay, Joanne Harris and the celebrated judging panels will congratulate the winners later in a live ceremony taking place at Southwark Cathedral and online, and generously sponsored by ALCS.

Among this year’s winners are software developer turned children’s author Alastair Chisholm and illustrator David Roberts who won the Queen’s Knickers award with Inch and Grub, a ‘joyfully funny’ children’s book written in ‘caveman’.

Maame Blue picked up her second award in a row, following her triumph last year as a 2021 Betty Trask Award winner. This year she has been chosen as one of the 2022 Travelling Scholarship recipients, selected for her project of ‘shadowing Othello’ through exchanges with Ghanian writers in Italy.

Other winners include award-winning Welsh poet Menna Elfyn, who has been awarded a Cholmondeley Prize for contribution to poetry; debut novelist David Annand, who won the McKitterick prize for Peterdown; 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winner Kanya D’Almeida, who won the ALCS Tom-Gallon Award for I Cleaned The—; and previous shortlistee Sheila Llewellyn who is taking home the inaugural Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize for Winter in Tabriz.

Lemn Sissay reflected on themes of hope and connection ahead of the awards ceremony, saying: “Exit anger, enter kindness. Exit isolation, enter book shops. Exit fear, enter imagination. Exit loss, enter hope. Exit pandemic, enter the Society of Authors’ awards ceremony.”

Will McPhail, winner of the Betty Trask Prize 2022, said: “I cannot begin to describe how much this award means to me. I probably should be able to describe it, being an author and all, but if you’ve read my book then you’ll know that I do most of my describing through drawings of people looking all sad at each other. Being nominated alongside these wonderful authors was already a surreal dream and the fact that IN was picked as the first graphic novel to win this award is the honour of a lifetime. My only worry is that I’m now too happy to draw sad people.”

The ceremony can be watched online from 7.00pm on the Society of Authors’ livestream.

Donate to the Society of Authors’ Contingency Fund for authors by buying any of the shortlisted books from Bookshop.org.

Reproduce from SoA’s press release.

June 1, 2022

Publishing Scotland reveals 2022 International Publishing Fellows

Publishing Scotland has announced its new International Publishing Fellows for 2022. The Fellows were chosen for the scheme in 2020 and were keen to keep their spaces live and current for when the international book trade opened up again.

Marion Sinclair, CEO of Publishing Scotland, revealed the nine publishers who have been chosen for the sixth International Fellowship which marks 54 publishers who have visited the country to meet Scottish publishers and experience the culture and landscape.

  • Dr. Cordelia Borchardt, S. Fischer Verlage, Germany
  • Sarah Cantin, St. Martin’s Press, USA
  • Nicolás Rodríguez Galvis, Éditions Métailié, France
  • Esther Hendriks, De Arbeiderspers/Singel Publishers, The Netherlands
  • Peter Joseph, Harper Collins, USA
  • Talia Marcos, Keter Books, Israel
  • Jean Mattern, Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, France
  • Andrea Stratilová, Albatros media, Czechia
  • Mark Tauber, The Watermark Agency, formerly of Chronicle Books, USA

The group will spend a week in Scotland at the end of August meeting Scotland-based publishers, agents and writers in a varied programme of events across the country including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, dinner at Robert Louis Stevenson’s former home, a writer showcase in Glasgow and a trip to the Highlands to meet publishers and writers there.

The purpose of the visit is to help develop relationships between the international publishing community and the Scottish sector, facilitate rights selling and bring Scottish books to an international audience. Previous fellows have acted as advocates for the Scottish publishing scene and the Publishing Scotland drinks receptions at the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs is now a hive of international activity as Fellows reconnect with the publishers. This year’s Publishing Scotland’s drinks reception will be going ahead at their stand on Wednesday 6th of April at 5.30pm.

Scotland-based literary agent Jenny Brown of Jenny Brown Associates, who has been involved with the Fellowship since it was established in 2014, said: “The Fellowship enables us to meet publishers and understand their markets, introduce them to authors and for them to encounter the vibrant literary scene here, in a way that brief 30-minute meetings at book fairs can never achieve. And it works in terms of selling rights, we’ve struck many international deals with Fellows past and present, for Scottish writers.”

Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, said: “We are hugely privileged to have this Fellowship Programme as a means of attracting people to come and experience the industry here. Thanks to our funders, in the six years since the Fellowship began, we will have invited 55 senior international publishers to Scotland and given our publishers, agents, and writers the chance to get to know them in a more relaxed setting. It’s all part of a wider internationalisation strand within our work and is paying dividends in terms of rights deals made, and in the very important relationships that have been forged between the Fellows and the sector.”

The award-winning programme from the network, trade and development body for the book publishing sector in Scotland is supported by funding from Creative Scotland.

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing, Creative Scotland, said: “The International Publishing Fellowship builds relationships between publishers and therefore develops channels for voices in Scottish literature to reach readers beyond the UK. By facilitating rights sales in international territories, the programme builds a more global readership and profile for our authors, as well as contributing towards sustainable writing careers.


Notes to Editors

  • The 2015 Fellowship week was shortlisted in the Best Networking Event category at the Association Excellence Awards UK

Publishing Scotland is the network for trade, training and development. We’re a membership body and a charity. The International Fellowship Programme is part of our internationalisation work, along with the Translation Fund, rights catalogues, Go-See Fund, and Bookfair representation, which are all designed to make doing business overseas easier and more cost-effective for publishers. Follow on Twitter: @publishscotland

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 more info, please contact Publishing Scotland – enquiries@publishingscotland.org

Publishing Scotland, Scott House, 10 South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AZ


Photo: top row (l-r)

  • Andrea Stratilová, Albatros media, Czechia
  • Dr. Cordelia Borchardt, S. Fischer Verlage, Germany
  • Esther Hendriks, De Arbeiderspers/Singel Publishers, The Netherlands
  • Jean Mattern, Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, France
  • Mark Tauber, Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books, USA

Photo: bottom row (l-r)

  • Nicolás Rodríguez Galvis, Éditions Métailié, France
  • Sarah Cantin, St. Martin’s Press, USA
  • Talia Marcos, Keter Books, Israel
  • Peter Joseph, Harper Collins, USA

Reproduced from Publishing Scotland’s press release.


April 4, 2022

The Gaelic Literature Awards 2022

The Gaelic Books Council has announced that the Gaelic Literature Awards 2022 are open for submissions from Scottish Gaelic writers and publishers. Prizes will be awarded for books published between 1 May 2021 and 30 April 2022 in a number of categories: 

  • Poetry – The Derick Thomson Prize, sponsored by the Scottish Poetry Library 
  • Fiction – The Highland Society of London Prize 
  • Non-fiction – The Donald Meek Award 
  • Children/young people 

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


Alison Lang, Director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: “The strength of Gaelic writing and publishing despite all the challenges of the past two years has been a cause for celebration, and we hope to see the same standards of excellence and creativity in this year’s submissions. We are grateful to our sponsors and funders for their continuing support, and we look forward to discovering new authors and to rewarding the best Gaelic books published in the past year.” 

The deadline for submissions is 30th April 2022 and the competition terms and conditions can be found here. The winners will be announced on 15th September 2022.

Notes for editors: 

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation supporting Scottish Gaelic writers and publishers, through grants, writer development, and the promotion of reading and enjoyment of literature. It is a registered charity and receives funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland. 

For further information, please contact NDL@gaelicbooks.org or 0141 337 6211 


Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean air ainmeachadh gu bheil Na Duaisean Litreachais 2022 fosgailte airson thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean agus foillsichearan Gàidhlig. Bidh duaisean rim faighinn airson leabhraichean a chaidh fhoillseachadh eadar 1 Cèitean 2021 agus 30 Giblean 2022 ann an diofar gnèithean litreachais: 

  • • Bàrdachd – Duais Ruaraidh MhicThòmais, le taic bho Leabharlann Bàrdachd na h-Alba 
  • • Ficsean – Duais Chomann Ghàidhealach Lunnainn 
  • • Neo-fhicsean – Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 
  • • Clann/òigridh 

A bharrachd air leabhraichean a tha ann an clò mar-thà, faodaidh sgrìobhadairean làmh-sgrìobhainnean neo-fhoillsichte do chloinn is do dh’inbhich a chur a-steach dhan fharpais. A thuilleadh air an duais, bidh cothrom aig ùghdar na làmh-sgrìobhainn as fheàrr do chloinn an leabhar aca a leasachadh ann an co-bhann leis an fhoillsichear Acair. 

Thuirt Alison Lang, Stiùiriche Chomhairle nan Leabhraichean: “Tha neart agus seasmhachd sgrìobhadh agus foillseachadh sa Ghàidhlig thairis air an dà bhliadhna a dh’fhalbh, a dh’aindeoin gach dùbhlan a bha san rathad oirnn, na adhbhar gàirdeachais airson a’ ghnìomhachais, agus tha sinn an dòchas gum faic sinn leabhraichean aig an dearbh ìre de càileachd chruthachail san fharpais am-bliadhna. Tha sinn an comain nam buidhnean a bhios a’ cumail taic rinn agus a tha a’ maoineachadh dhuaisean san farpais seo, agus bidh sinn a’ cur fàilte air thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean ùra agus bho fhoillsichearan nan leabhraichean as fheàrr a tha air nochdadh sa bhliadhna a dh’fhalbh.” 

Is e 30 Giblean 2022 an ceann-latha airson thagraidhean agus gheibhear fios mu riaghailtean na farpaise an seo. Thèid an luchd-buannachaidh ainmeachadh air 15 Sultain 2022.

Notaichean do luchd-deasachaidh: 

’S i Comhairle nan Leabhraichean am prìomh bhuidheann airson taic a chumail ri ùghdaran agus ri foillsichearan Gàidhlig na h-Alba, tro thabhartasan, taic-leasachaidh, agus adhartachadh leughadh agus tlachd ann an litreachas. ’S e carthannas clàraichte a th’ ann an Comhairle nan Leabhraichean, a tha maoinichte le Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus Alba Chruthachail. 

Airson tuilleadh fiosrachaidh mun bhrath naidheachd seo, cuiribh fios gu NDL@gaelicbooks.org no 0141 337 6211 


March 4, 2022

Scotland’s National Book Awards 2021 Winners

Scotland’s National Book Awards 2021 from Saltire Society were held on Saturday 27 November 2021 solely on Zoom after Storm Arwen impacted travel plans for many attendees to the small live event to be held at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow.

Ely Percy’s ‘Duck Feet’ (Monstrous Regiment) was awarded the Scottish Book of the Year 2021 and Scottish Book of the Year 2021. The Lifetime Achievement award went to Scottish poet, editor and critic Douglas Dunn.

The Emerging Publisher of the Year was jointly awarded to Jamie Norman (Canongate) and Ceris Jones (Sandstone) while the Publisher of the Year was Canongate with a special Highly Commended for Charco Press.

Congratulations to all the winners and to the shortlistees of these prestigious awards.

You can (re)watch the #SNBA2021 Awards Ceremony on YouTube here



November 29, 2021

LAS seeks new Trustees – extended deadline

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

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

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

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. With more than 30 member organisations, we’re Scotland’s largest literary network for literature and languages, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

As LAS is a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), the Trustee positions are voluntary and unpaid, however, reasonable out of pocket expenses will be met.

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

How to apply

If you would like to join our Board of Trustees, please send a CV (two pages max) and a short accompanying statement (one-page max) telling us why you’d like to get involved and what you think you can offer. Please email your CV and statement to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

EXTENDED DEADLINE: 12 noon on Mon 8 Mar 2021.

We will contact shortlisted candidates to arrange a convenient time to meet via Zoom with LAS Chair Peggy Hughes, Projects and Communications Manager Jenny Kumar and another Trustee to have an informal discussion.

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


Information about being a Trustee of Literature Alliance Scotland.

About LAS

Our vision is that LAS is a trusted, strong collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages, which are celebrated locally, nationally and internationally.

LAS was formed in spring 2015 as successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland, which was first set up in 2001, at the invitation of the then Literature Committee of the Scottish Arts Council. In 2006, following a review of its remit by the Scottish Arts Council, the Literature Forum was formally recognised as a national Advisory Council for Literature and acted in this capacity. In mid-2014, Literature Forum members decided to review the organisation’s future role and to consider how it should develop to become a stronger and more inclusive voice for literature and languages in Scotland and abroad, leading to the transition in spring 2015 to Literature Alliance Scotland.

Our 2021 programme of work places equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at its heart and offers two interconnected programme strands of ‘upskill’ and ‘connect and collaborate’ supported by effective communications and advocacy that will:

  1. Deliver a responsive programme for members and the sector to better communicate, connect and collaborate in challenging times.
  2. Be more inclusive and accessible to engage more people and diverse voices
  3. Provide professional development opportunities for members
  4. Utilise improved digital communications to advocate for the sector and tell the stories of Scotland’s literature and languages.

This will give us the tools to become a healthier, more robust, and resilient ecosystem for the collective good of our membership and our sector.

The LAS membership actively participates in shaping and contributing to LAS’ main areas of work: our Writers’ Advisory Group; our Literature Talks series of writing commissions; our “lifechanging” career development programme Next Level for mid-career literature professionals not represented at senior levels; championing the sector through advocacy and at events; our members’ professional development programme; and at our dynamic Member meetings, and annual Sector Away Day & AGM offering rich learning, discussion and connection.

Our income comes from membership fees and funding from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

LAS became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Institution (SCIO) in March 2016. Under its Constitution LAS has a Board of Trustees elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting, which takes place in the Autumn. The Board is headed by a Chair and Co-Vice-Chair(s) and these office bearer roles, along with a Treasurer, are appointed from amongst the Board of Trustees by the Trustees. Please note that we also intend to appoint a new Chair from the Trustees in the Spring.



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

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

Main Duties

Our Trustees perform the following functions:

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

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

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

Candidate Qualities and Experience

  • An understanding of and/or passion for Scottish literature and languages and/or the wider artistic and cultural landscape
  • Strong commitment to the vision and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland
  • Be committed to devoting the necessary time and effort to the role of Trustee by preparing well for board meetings and actively contributing to them.
  • Good independent judgment and the ability to think creatively.
  • Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management
  • Knowledge of the principles of corporate governance.
  • Acquaintance with leadership and management within the public sector
  • Familiarity with working collectively and in partnership.
  • Experience/ knowledge of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and/or fundraising.


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

A New Chapter for the Book Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

January 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes to Editor

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

The Tender Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Thanks to our Funders, Donors and Partners

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

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

December 18, 2020

Employed & freelance art professionals wanted for Next Level

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

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

The Next Level programme is a pilot career development programme that aims to equip two mid-career arts professionals on the path to a senior position with the intended outcome of increasing diversity within our sector.It’s designed for a mid-career arts professional who’s either employed by or works as a freelancer for an organisation in Scotland’s literature & languages sector.

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

You’ll get:

  • 4 x 60-minute, one-to-one mentoring sessions with an industry professional working in, for example, publishing, bookselling, programming, libraries
  • Training in presentation skills and how to make an impact
  • Shadowing opportunities and/or other training opportunities

We’ll cover the costs of:

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

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

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

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

How to apply:

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

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


December 20, 2019

Jenni Fagan is the 2019 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow at Summerhall, Edinburgh

Scotland-based writer Jenni Fagan has been selected as the 2019 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow, supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Fagan will become writer in residence at Edinburgh’s Summerhall for one year to produce new work inspired by the theme of change, sustainability and how the past informs the present.

She will receive a £20,000 bursary, private work space at the multi-arts complex, a bespoke programme of support and engagement and access to the full range of Summerhall’s activities during the year.

Established in 2014 the annual Fellowship provides a mid-career or established writer with time and support to develop new work in partnership with a host organisation.

On being appointed, Jenni Fagan said: “Being selected as the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow at Summerhall is a dream opportunity on every level. I can’t wait to immerse myself in the past, present and future of this extraordinary place. There is so much to be inspired by and a lot of work to be done.

“I’m excited about the prospect of creating a poetic Almanac that captures twelve months, four seasons, and the ghosts, characters, artists that have influenced the character of the building. I’m interested in devoting each month to a different space in the building, different practitioners and events.

“I’m hugely influenced by art, music, animation, buildings, history and people in general. I can’t think of a more inspiring place to spend a year.”

Verity Leigh, Programme Manager, Summerhall commented: “We are happy and proud to be working with Jenni Fagen as the 2019 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow.  In a very competitive field of proposals, we were won over by Jenni’s engagement with the life of the Summerhall building and her lively interest in the people who work here. We are incredibly excited about working with Jenni and looking forward to sharing her work with Summerhall’s staff, residents and audiences.”

Mairi Kidd, Interim Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said: “The Gavin Wallace Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for both the host organisation and writer – a chance for creative exploration and artistic experimentation over the course of a full year’s programme and work. The multi-talented Jenni Fagan – novelist, poet and screenwriter – is the perfect match for Summerhall’s multi-faceted cultural offering, and we are excited to support her in this opportunity.”


Notes to Editors –

The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship was established in 2013 in memory of a Creative Scotland colleague, Dr Gavin Wallace, who dedicated his entire professional life to supporting Scottish literature.

The inaugural Fellow Kirsty Logan undertook her fellowship in 2014 at the Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) at the University of Glasgow where she explored the theme of Place and its effect on Personal Identity. In 2015, Moniack Mhor hosted Jen Hadfield where she used the idea of flotsam and jetsam, to explore themes of place and identity. In 2016, National Library of Scotland hosted Angus Peter Campbell where he was invited to explore and be inspired by the ways in which the Library’s collections reflect Scotland’s past and present. In 2017, Morna Young was hosted by Creative Learning, Aberdeen City Council where she explored the theme of ‘The Folk, Language and Landscape of the Northeast.  In 2018, Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland hosted Martin O’Connor in partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, where he was invited to write and develop work for the stage that meets their creative ambition to work on a larger scale, relating to the theme Epic.

Further information about the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship

Summerhall is a multi-art complex and events venue in Edinburgh, Scotland. The writer will have full access to the full range of Summerhall’s activities during the year, which means that, if they choose, they can attend more than 30 gigs, 120 Fringe shows, 12 exhibitions. Find out more:

February 12, 2019

Interim Director of Communications appointed at Creative Scotland

Following an open recruitment process, Creative Scotland is pleased to confirm that Ken Miller has been appointed as Interim Director of Communications, taking up post with immediate effect.

Ken Miller will be covering the post held by Kenneth Fowler who has been seconded to the Scottish Government for 12 months as Head of Communications.

Before joining Creative Scotland, Ken Miller led the communications work of the national healthcare improvement body, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, and the national agency for sport, sportscotland, focusing on integrating internal, stakeholder and public communications to improve healthcare services and participation in sport respectively.

Prior to those posts, Ken held communications and marketing roles across manufacturing, service, public and private sectors.

Of the appointment, Iain Munro, Acting CEO at Creative Scotland said: “I’m extremely pleased to welcome Ken to his new role as Interim Director of Communications. Ken brings with him a wealth of experience that will be hugely beneficial to Creative Scotland.

“Over the course of the next 12 months Ken will provide strategic leadership and direction to the Communications’ team, fostering collaborative working, connected planning and knowledge-sharing across the organisation.

“I look forward to working closely with Ken and I know he will make a positive contribution during his time at Creative Scotland.”

Ken Miller, Interim Director of Communications, Creative Scotland said: “I am delighted to be joining Creative Scotland at what is an exciting time for the organisation and for the arts, screen and creative industries more generally.

“Crucial to the organisation’s work is effective communications and engagement and I am really looking forward to building on the some of the great work that is already being done.”

Notes to Editors

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

February 8, 2019

A Culture Strategy for Scotland – Reports & Analysis

The Scottish Government has published its analysis report on A Culture Strategy for Scotland (23 January 2019).

The report, prepared by independent consultants Craigforth Consulting Ltd, sets out the findings of the public consultation on a draft Culture Strategy for Scotland, which you can view via the links below:

Key Themes Report

Summary Analysis Report

Full Report

Submissions on the Scottish Government’s Consultation Hub, Citizen Space

The analysis report demonstrates overall support for the ambitions, aims and actions set out in a draft Culture Strategy for Scotland and reflects the rich and varied material that the consultation on the draft strategy has generated.

The Scottish Government is reflecting on that rich material generated from the consultation and is considering how these views will shape the content of the final strategy which will be published in 2019.

January 28, 2019

Publishing Scotland Annual Trade Conference: 22 February 2018

The joint Publishing Scotland and Booksellers Association Scottish Book Trade Conference 2018 will take place on Thursday 22 February at Central Hall, Tollcross, Edinburgh.

The conference is the biggest get-together of publishers and booksellers in Scotland.

To view the conference programme and book your place, please visit Publishing Scotland’s website here.



January 17, 2018

Alan Spence – new Edinburgh Makar

Huge congratulations to Alan Spence, who was appointed the new Edinburgh Makar this week.

Alan Spence is a highly respected poet, playwright, and novelist, who lives in Edinburgh but was born in Glasgow. He taught creative writing at the University of Aberdeen for nearly 20 years, and his writing spans many genres and themes, often falling somewhere between literature and philosophy with poetry inspired by Zen and meditation. His writing covers many forms including haiku and tanka, often in collaboration with artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder and Alison Watt. His most recent novel is Night Boat, published by Canongate, and is based on the life of Zen master Hakuin.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured to be nominated as the fifth Edinburgh Makar, the Poet Laureate for this wonderful city that has been my home for over 40 years.

“I look forward to following in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, Stewart Conn, Valerie Gillies, Ron Butlin and Christine De Luca. I know them all and they’re fine poets who have done a great job. We live in troubled times and poetry has never been so important.”

The outgoing Edinburgh Makar, Christine De Luca said: “I am delighted that Alan Spence is to be our next Makar.  Besides being a wonderful writer, he is out-going and generous-hearted.  I’m sure he’ll take the role in fascinating new directions.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the Edinburgh Makar and found nothing but support from the Council and its staff and from the other organisations supporting the role. Local poets too have been hugely encouraging and have willingly taken part in a range of projects.”

The Edinburgh Makar is a civic post instituted in 2002 by the City of Edinburgh Council. The writer is selected and nominated by representatives of the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish PEN, The Salite Society, Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council. They serve a term of three years.

A history of Edinburgh Makars:

  • Stewart Conn – 2002
  • Valerie Gillies – 2005
  • Ron Butlin – 2008 & 2011
  • Christine De Luca – 2014
  • Alan Spence – 2017

Information courtesy of Edinburgh City of Literature and Edinburgh City Council


October 6, 2017