A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Wigtown Book Festival to go online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 Highland Book Prize awarded collectively to shortlisted authors

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

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

The joint winners of the 2019 Highland Book Prize are:

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

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie

Spring by Ali Smith

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt.

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

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

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

For further information please contact Mirren Rosie or Rachel Humphries:

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

t: 01463 741 675 or 07842040165

v: www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

May 11, 2020

Maisie Chan appointed as 2020 Gavin Wallace Fellow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to editors

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

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

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

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

About Moat Brae House and The Neverland Discovery Garden

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

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

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

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

About The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s press release. 

May 1, 2020

Urgent Children’s Book Appeal

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

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

From scottishbooktrust.com

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

Without books, these children and families are missing out.

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

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

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

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

How to donate:

 JustGiving

OR

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

Reproduced from the Scottish Book Trust’s website.

April 30, 2020

New funds from Creative Scotland

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

They are:

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

Reading in a time of plague ~ tips from Donald Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 20, 2020

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Impact Survey

Arts organisations and individuals in Scotland’s arts, screen, heritage & creative industries are being asked to share how Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is impacting them through an open survey from Culture Counts.

The collective voice of Scotland’s cultural sector will then use the responses to help communicate the needs of the sector to decision-makers in government and in parliament.

Fill in the survey using the link below and please do share amongst your networks.

https://culturecounts.scot/news/2020/3/13/covid-19-coronoavirus-impact-survey

Reponses will be reviewed once a week so you can make submit multiple responses as the situation changes.

The survey will be open until May 2020.

For information the Scottish Government webpage for Coronavirus updates is https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19

March 16, 2020

There are Three Suns in the Sky by Jenni Fagan

We’re delighted to launch our third #LiteratureTalks commission today – a philosophical piece on the climate emergency by award-winning Scottish poet and critically acclaimed novelist Jenni Fagan.

You can read There are Three Suns in the Sky by Jenni Fagan now.

Literature Talks is a series of pieces commissioned by LAS, asking Scotland’s leading writers and literature producers to reflect on an aspect of Scotland’s literary landscape.

Please join the conversation on Twitter using #LiteratureTalks and share using: http://bit.ly/JenniFagan

 

March 3, 2020

LAS announces Next Level Awardee

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

February 21, 2020

The Highland Book Prize 2019 shortlist

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

They are:

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

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie (Sort of Books)

Spring by Ali Smith (Penguin Random House)

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt (Polygon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tel:                01463741675 or 07842040165

E-mail:          highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk

Visit:             www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

Twitter:         @highlandbook1

Instagram:    @highlandbookprize

Facebook:     @highlandbookprize

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

ENDS   

NOTES TO EDITORS

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

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

The first Ullapool Book Festival was held in May 2005. It was founded by a group of literary enthusiasts in Ullapool Entertainments, the local voluntary arts organisation founded in 1982. www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk

 The family shareholders of William Grant & Sons established the William Grant Foundation in 2014 as a non-profit association to oversee and direct their charitable donations. The William Grant Foundation is committed to a future where everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to thrive, a belief that is deeply rooted in the core values shared by the family and the company.www.williamgrantfoundation.org.uk

February 19, 2020

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

Moat Brae to host Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes to Editors

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

Media Contact

Claire Thomson, Media Relations & PR Officer, Creative Scotland

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

December 18, 2019

Highland Book Prize announces 2019 longlist

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

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

Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson

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

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

Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, published by Sort of Books

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

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

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

Spring by Ali Smith, published by Penguin Random House

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

Moder Dy by Roseanne Watt, published by Polygon

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

Presented by the Highland Society of London, The Highland Book Prize is facilitated by Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre in partnership with the Ullapool Book Festival. The William Grant Foundation provides funding to encourage public engagement with the Highland Book Prize.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tel:                  01463741675 or  07842040165

E-mail:             highlandbookprize@moniackmhor.org.uk

Visit:                www.highlandbookprize.org.uk

Twitter:           @highlandbook1

Instagram:       @highlandbookprize

Facebook:        @highlandbookprize

ENDS    

NOTES TO EDITORS

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

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

The first Ullapool Book Festival was held in May 2005. It was founded by a group of literary enthusiasts in Ullapool Entertainments, the local voluntary arts organisation founded in 1982. www.ullapoolbookfestival.co.uk

The family shareholders of William Grant & Sons established the William Grant Foundation in 2014 as a non-profit association to oversee and direct their charitable donations. The William Grant Foundation is committed to a future where everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to thrive, a belief that is deeply rooted in the core values shared by the family and the company. www.williamgrantfoundation.org.uk

December 3, 2019

Scotland’s National Book Awards Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 2, 2019

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

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

DATE: Thurs 28 Nov

TIME: 6-8pm

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

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

FREE BUT TICKETED – REGISTER HERE

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

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

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

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

Please note that topics may be subject to change. 

 

 

November 25, 2019

Arts professionals wanted for Next Level programme

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

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

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

It’s a pilot career development programme that aims to equip two mid-career arts professionals on the path to a senior position with the intended outcome of increasing diversity within our sector.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eligibility:

We’re looking for participants who can demonstrate

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

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

How to apply:

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

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

 

November 14, 2019

Iain Munro appointed Chief Executive of Creative Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iain Munro biography

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

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

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

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

Notes to Editors

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

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

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

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

For further information, please contact:

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

Image: Iain Munro (Neil Hanna)

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s website.

October 31, 2019

Scotland’s National Book Awards Shortlist Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kindly reproduced from Saltire Society’s website

October 29, 2019

Book Week Scotland launches 2019 programme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the Book Week Scotland 2019 programme

Press release reproduced from Creative Scotland website.

October 23, 2019

Headline notes on Turning the Next Page – LAS Sector Away Day

We were delighted to welcome 65 people from all walks of literary life to our Sector Away Day in sunny Dundee on 1 October, including writers, publishers, literary agents, literature organisations, festival programmers – not to mention 10-week-old baby Sophia with mum Rachel Humphries currently on maternity leave from Moniack Mhor.

The day has been described as a fascinating, informal and welcoming and we’re very grateful to all the speakers and delegates for their contribution.

Below are the headline notes from the day, including Valentina’s excellent round-up of the key issues highlighted in the roundtable discussions.

We asked for input from delegates and LAS Members on which 3 priorities to focus on as outcomes to develop for 2020. The majority consensus is: 1) Diversity, Equality & Access; 2) Payment and 3) Climate Emergency.

Headline Notes

Morning sessions

WELCOME

LAS Chair Peggy Hughes opened the event very positively, by showing LAS’ strengths: our openness and willingness to share our knowledge, as well as our concrete actions, which she returned to later in the AGM. Through our open meetings and our current initiatives, we encourage co-operation and collaborative working. Peggy mentioned the work of ROAR in promoting gender equality, as well as our willingness to listen to our sector, diversifying and amplifying our work through meetings and with our network of writers, including our Writers’ Advisory Group represented on the day by Maisie Chan and Heather Palmer.


Director of Scottish Poetry Library Asif Khan’s reading of ‘Mary Shelley on Broughty Ferry Beach’ by Robert Crawford from Whaleback City and his discussion on Shelley showed the way in which this city has inspired “the aery flights of imagination.”

 

Literature in Dundee – Dr Erin Farley, local historian, storyteller and library worker

Erin addressed these ‘aery flights of imagination’ with aplomb in her opening address, citing how literature is part of the landscape, is social and inventive – this city, where “landscape, memory and people are intimately connected”:

  • Dundee has a vibrant literary history
  • Literature is social – citing examples of the Green H, a sign of the Hopscotch literary group meeting; Scrieve, Dundee’s new monthly playwriting scratch night; and Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities, a snapshot of a selection of writing from one city at one time as chosen by a guest-editor (Erin Farley).
  • Literature works example of Dundonian poet, songwriter, weaver and activist Mary Brooksbank
  • Stories will always be in fashion
  • Dundee’s literature belongs to everyone and is open to everyone to participate in.

 

Keynote speaker Laura Brown – writer, editor and former Editor-in-Chief of Comics at DC Thomson

Laura’s account of her nimble career in future-proofing, through keeping abreast with the things that keep people buying magazines was inspiring:

  • Stories are what matter, whether that’s the Beano or pricey hardback fiction
  • The future is so out of date so quickly
  • Focus on what we do best: telling stories; we peddle the exteriors so the interiors can be experienced
  • Future-proofing is more about keeping the best bits of what works while adapting to tech and social change, rather than chasing fads
  • In literature you’ve got bold thinkers, you’ve got innovation
  • In terms of future-proofing, literature is already embracing new technology and new formats. You make an event out of a book. We (in magazines) have a lot to learn from you.

‘NEXT’ PRACTICE

Breakout discussion – how do we tackle key sector issues on- and off-line? Facilitated by LAS Trustees with the 6 key topics highlighted in the ‘What’s Next?’ session below.

 

Literature Talks launch: ‘On A Lifetime of Ticking Boxes’ by Chitra Ramaswamy, award-winning journalist and author.

You could hear a pin drop as Chitra read out her deeply personal and incredibly powerful essay on diversity in literature and publishing. Read it here: http://bit.ly/ChitraRamaswamy

 

Afternoon sessions

LITERATURE ALLIANCE SCOTLAND AGM

Download the AGM papers.

 

QUICK-FIRE KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE, chaired by Ali Bowden

Upcoming literary anniversaries – Daniel Cook, Head of English at University of Dundee

 

VisitScotland’s Year of Coast & Waters 2020 and Year of Scotland’s Stories 2022 – Marie Christie, Head of Development – Events Industry 

  • Opportunities for promotion, celebration, participation, collaboration and industry engagement
  • Chances to spotlight and celebrate Scotland, in all its particulars and diversity
  • See the slides here.

 

Scottish Books International – Sasha de Buyl, Manager

  • An outline of SBI’s strategic plan for activity for the next 14-month period, including aims to empower Scotland to connect with international literary ecologies
  • Core aim is to act as a connecting force for Scottish books and writing around the world
  • Three pillars of Informing, Connecting and Growth
  • The plan intends to raise awareness of Scottish books and writing overseas, connect our publishers, writers and organisations with international partners and to create an infrastructure for sustained development in the longer term.
  • Newsletter launched
  • Online opportunities page coming
  • News and blog section aimed at outward-looking writers/publishers
  • SBI website is a shop window for Scottish writing
  • The aim is to develop an international database
  • Germany is the focus for 2020 with plans for market insight seminars, inbound delegation to Germany and delegations of Scottish writers to German literary festivals with a tie-in to Scottish Book Festivals
  • Plan is to scope current knowledge via a survey with the aim of developing a road map for growth
  • See the slides here.

 

Open Book on outreach/ building networks – Marjorie Lotfi Gill, Co-Founder and Development Director 

  • Advantages of shared reading – without homework – through reading aloud together with a paired poem and then take participants to see authors at literary festivals
  • Objective and aspiration to allow lots of people to have access to a book who might not otherwise
  • Valuing of diversity in authors – allowing groups to own their own sessions from Stranraer to Eyemouth to Shetland
  • Building connections through reading workshops in prisons, healthcare, community, libraries and with people who have vision problems, who have English as a second language, with refugee women and children
  • Participants are more confident and connected at the end of the session

 

Lighthouse Bookshop on working with industry and beyond – Mairi Oliver, owner

  • The bookshop has a key role in the literary landscape
  • Sell books <–> build community
  • Bookshops are the interface between authors, publishers and readers – and performers too
  • Met young poets and people of colour through Intercultural Youth Scotland who use the space of the bookshop for their events
  • Book Fringe collaboration with Golden Hare Books
  • Link with Zines offering both artistic and literary collaborations and connections
  • Great advice: find local bookshops, meet passionate people and hold events.

 

The Scottish BAME Writers’ Network – Jeda Lewis 

  • Jeda offered to give an impromptu talk on the Network as co-founder Jay G Ying was ill
  • Advocacy role of writers of colour with a connection to Scotland
  • Creating a community and space where everything goes with no need to self-censor
  • promoting work, and making opportunities with literary events for
  • Launch of Ceremony on 15 Oct – a new pamphlet featuring 15 writers from the BAME Writers’ Group who met at Scottish Poetry Library
  • Panel at Golden Hare Books Festival on Fri 18 Oct
  • Network event on 23 November in Edinburgh

A Vision for Change – Creative Scotland

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing at Creative Scotland along with her team members Harriet MacMillan, Viccy Adam and Alan Bett.

  • Responsive talk on our ‘Literature Ecosystem’
  • Shared their thinking on Is literature in an ‘Equalities Emergency’ and welcome challenge on this topic
  • How do we understand and tackle barriers?
  • How do we move past diversity initiatives to sustained change?
  • Why do we (sometimes) find the discussion threatening and how can we change that?
  • Encouraging and inviting us to contribute to their work in progress
  • We need a fundamental change in the way we work together as a sector
  • What is the product of a not-for-profit sector?
  • How do we understand what value for money looks like?
  • We need to move beyond the well-intentioned outreach model, and the idea quality & diversity are separate, to make sure that benefit it given back to everyone who lives and works in Scotland.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Priorities from breakout discussion with Valentina Bold, LAS Co-Vice Chair

The following priorities came out of the breakout discussion in the morning session. We asked for input from delegates and LAS Members on which 3 priorities to focus on as outcomes to develop for 2020. The majority consensus was for 1) Diversity Equality & Accessibility; 2) Payment and 3) Climate emergency, including festivals.

Diversity, Equality & Accessibility (events)

  • Respect the author
  • Ensure quality of experience
  • Deploy sensitivity readers (more than once)
  • Embrace diversity but be critical
  • Need for Scottish data
  • Ensure equality in income
  • Listen and be open to those affected
  • Possibility of Citizens’ Assembly model
  • Travel grants needed
  • Sign language
  • Share resources
  • Break down hierarchies
  • Give writers time/space – a longer vision

Suggested actions:

Diversity – advocacy, support, sensitivity.

Equality –  advocacy, practice.

Accessibility –  survey LAS members, members to include accessibility info on websites, invite speaker on accessibility to next LAS meeting.

Payment

  • Reduce expectation of work for free (anthology / events)
  • Use Scottish Book Trust Live Literature rates as a starting point

Suggested actions – advocacy, show good practice, payment as the norm.

Festivals

  • Be green (keep control if poss, not always poss [venues])
  • Adopt carbon reduction plans
  • Avoid branded merchandise (often not sustainable)
  • Reduce meat/dairy
  • Support local writers
  • Involve Creative Carbon Scotland
  • Carbon off-set flights
  • Ensure diversity in programming

Suggested actions – advocacy, build knowledge

Climate emergency

Action: Consider the following

  • Travel in Scotland / international
  • Technological issues – potential for access.

Data sharing

To include:

  • Insights
  • Trends
  • Book sales
  • Tourism
  • And reservations – social media: take care with pronouns

Suggested actions: Consider how we do this already; how can we be innovative; offer social media training sessions through LAS.

Resilience

  • Need for flexibility
  • Amplifying Scottish voices
  • Open Book model – support writers in getting voices heard
  • Developing community
  • Exploring what is ‘Scottish literature’ for diverse voices & experiences (language, ethnicity)
  • Avoid no-platforming and censorship
  • Stop ideological divides

Suggested actions – next steps, future-proofing.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 18, 2019

New Trustees wanted for Edinburgh City of Literature Trust

Are you interested in being part of the leadership of the City of Literature and supporting the creation of a Literature House for Scotland in Edinburgh? 

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

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

Credit: cityofliterature.com

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

Application Information

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

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

Application Deadline: 5pm on Friday 1 November 2019.

October 11, 2019

Joy Hendry honoured in 2019 Outstanding Women of Scotland

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

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

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

Photo copyright Graham Clark.

The full list of the ten inductees are:

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

Professor Margaret Bennett, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow

Jackie Brierton MBE, CEO of GrowBiz

Fiona Dalgetty, Ceannard / Chief Executive, Fèis Rois

Joy Hendry, Editor of Chapman

Celia Hodson, Founder of Hey Girls:

Louise Macdonald OBE, Chief Executive Young Scot:

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder & CEO at Invisible Cities

Emma Ritch, Executive Director of Engender

Heather Stewart, Creative Director, British Film Institute

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

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

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

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

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

October 9, 2019

On A Lifetime of Ticking Boxes by Chitra Ramaswamy

We’re delighted to launch our second #LiteratureTalks commission today – an incredibly personal and powerful piece by award-winning journalist and author Chitra Ramaswamy.

The commission was launched at our Sector Away Day – Turning The Next Page: Future-Proofing our Sector at Malmaison Dundee where Chitra read her essay to a captivated audience of Scotland’s literature, languages and publishing community. You could hear a pin drop.

You can read On A Lifetime of Ticking Boxes by Chitra Ramaswamy now. Please join the conversation on Twitter using #LiteratureTalks and share using: http://bit.ly/ChitraRamaswamy

The piece was also published by The Guardian on Fri 11 October and was featured on Book Brunch’s ‘links of the day’ in their e-newsletter on Mon 14 Oct.

 

 

October 1, 2019

Festival celebrates Scotland and the Arctic

A rich mix of film, performance stories, poetry, talks, exhibitions, 40,000 Barnacle Geese and much more across two-weeks

Two weeks of events are about to get underway which explore Scotland’s remarkable relationship with the Arctic and the threat to the region from climate change.

Scotland and the Arctic: A Conversation runs from 8 to 20 October and involves a wide range of inspiring activities in and around Dumfries.

Photo: Coulson & Tennant

The festival, which considers narrative, history, representation (visual and literary), environment and ecology and artistic engagement between Scotland and the Arctic, is being organised in partnership with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Moat Brae National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, Glasgow University School of Inter-Disciplinary Studies, Dumfries, WWT Caerlaverock Wetlands Centre, Robert Burns Film Theatre, Cample Line and Highlight Arts.

It follows hot on the heels of the Scottish Government’s publication of Arctic Connections – Scotland’s Arctic Policy Framework.

The festival will be the largest event organised by A Year of Conversation 2019, whose Creative Director is Dumfries poet Tom Pow, and it coincides with the annual migration of Barnacle Geese from the Arctic to south west Scotland.

Co-presented with The Scottish International Storytelling Festival, it will feature international storytelling at Moat Brae – the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling – where the guests will include Dawne McFarlane from Toronto and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, an Aboriginal storyteller, cultural educator artist and writer.

Highlight Arts will be making use of the festival to gather material for their work in Greenland, home to Jessie Kleemann, Inuit poet and performer, whose performance piece The Arctic in Chaos will be one of the highlights of the fortnight.

There will also be a Wild Goose Weekend, a film festival, children’s events and a day of conversation about Scotland and the Arctic, featuring storytellers, poets, naturalists and academics, as part of Glasgow University’s marking of 20 years in Dumfries.

As part of a mini-festival of the Arctic in Film, Colin Tennant and Dr Saskia Coulson will share their photography and film of the region – and the rapid changes it is undergoing. Colin, who is from Dumfries and Galloway, has recently returned from sailing through the North West Passage.

Scotland and the Arctic will also look at how Scots have been involved with The Arctic over the centuries – sometimes as scientific explorers adding to the sum of human knowledge, at other times as whalers exploiting and endangering its wildlife. Robyn Stapleton will be singing songs about whaling as part of one key storytelling event.

Pow, who has visited the Arctic as a writer and storyteller and who has written a Radio 4 play about the famed Orcadian, John Rae (Aglooka: John Rae and the Fate of the Franklin Expedition), says: “This event is an opportunity to think about our past, present and future links with one of the most wondrous and fragile places on Earth.

“It once seemed very distant, but the inter-connections between what is happening there and its global impact bring it into greater focus.

“The history of Scotland’s relationship to the Arctic has been one of exploration and exploitation.

“The undoubted heroism of early Polar explorers, such as Dumfries-born Sir John Richardson, subject of a talk by Professor Ted Cowan, has to be seen alongside the remorseless work of the whalers from east coast ports like Dundee and Aberdeen.

“Nowadays, there are concerns of fresh exploitation of natural resources, of the effects of climate change which can be ‘read’ in the behaviours and feeding habits of the Arctic geese which land here each autumn, and of the impact of global culture on fragile ecologies.

“In short, the time has come for Scotland to re-evaluate its connections to and relationships with the Arctic.”

The all-day conversation, taking place on Saturday 19 October (hosted by GU’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies), involves Francesco Bertoldi, the Scottish Government’s Senior Policy Adviser on the strategy, as well as storytellers, artists, ecologists and academics from Scotland, Greenland, Iceland and Canada. It will explore possibilities for future dialogue.

 

– Ends –

Notes for editors

Fiona Hyslop, MSP Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, says in the foreword for Arctic Connections – Scotland’s Arctic Policy Framework: “At a time when the Arctic is the focus of mounting geopolitical attention, this framework puts people back at the heart of Scottish-Arctic dialogue…It is an important milestone in the journey towards consolidating Scotland’s position as a European gateway to the Arctic and establishing it as the international partner of choice for both our Arctic neighbours and other like-minded countries that are interested in working with us on addressing common challenges.”

Picture credits

  • Arctic images please credit Coulson & Tennant.
  • Other images are courtesy of the Beyond Words International Storytelling Festival.

Scotland and the Arctic programme:

For the full details see www.ayearofconversation.com 

Among the events taking place are:

  • Wednesday 2 October: Dumfries Academy, unveiling of a plaque to Sir John Richardson (1787-1865) – Surgeon, natural historian and Arctic explorer.
  • 8-12 October: Scotland and the Arctic Film Festival
  • Tuesday 8 October: Moat Brae, 6.15-7.30 pm, festival launch with opening of exhibition Polar Bears in Picture Books. By invitation.
  • Wednesday 9 October: Outside The Stove, 7-8pm. Geese Over The Town! In anticipation of Wild Goose Weekend, join us at this family event to have a gander at wild pink footed geese as they fly over the town on their migration path to the Solway Estuary.
  • Friday 11 October: RBC, 7pm Atanjarjut, The Fast Runner, the first feature film in the Inuktitut language.
  • Saturday 12 October: RBC, 7.30 pm Film, photography and creativity in the Arctic. Join Colin Tennant and Dr. Saskia Coulson to learn about their recent photography and film assignments, as they discuss the creative process, the difficulties and the urgency of documenting this important but rapidly changing environment.
  • Saturday 12th, Sunday 13th October: Wild Goose Weekend. WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock, DG1 4RS. (01387 770200)
  • Friday 18th, Jessie Kleeman, Inuit poet and performance artist, Moat Brae.
  • Saturday 19th October: A Conversation about Scotland and the Arctic. Glasgow University, Rutherford McCowan, Crichton, Dumfries DG1 4ZE, 10 am-4.30pm. Speakers include Paula Williams – Curator Maps, Mountaineering and Polar Collections, the NLS; Jessie Kleeman – Greenland Inuit poet and artist; Canadian storytellers, Dawne McFarlane; Dr David Borthwick (Glasgow University Dumfries) who runs the M.Phil, ‘Reading the Environment’; Dr Natalie Welden (Glasgow University Dumfries) – expert on plastics and their impact on sea-life; Brian Morrell, Centre Manager, WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre and many more.
  • Saturday 19th October, Moat Brae, storytelling with Dawne McFarlane, Director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, an Aboriginal storyteller, cultural educator artist, writer, choreographer, and film script writer from the Northern Tutchone Nation, Athabaskan language spoken in northeastern Yukon in Canada. With whaling songs from winner of the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year, Robyn Stapleton.

 

About A Year of Conversation 2019

  • A Year of Conversation 2019 is an exciting project designed to celebrate, to initiate and to explore conversation in Scotland and beyond.
  • It has been developed in conversation with a wide range of partners within arts and community sectors. A Year of Conversation is a collaborative project designed to celebrate, initiate and to explore conversation through the arts.
  • Find out more at ayearofconversation.com

A Year of Conversation 2019 has five broad themes:

  • Translation as conversation
  • Conversation as a social good
  • Conversation as event (micro and macro)
  • Conversation within and across art forms and across borders
  • Conversation in a digital age.

 

 

 

October 1, 2019

First Scots Gaitherin takes place in Glasgow

In Scots

On Friday 27 September, A Scots Gaitherin o scrievers, braidcasters, playwrights, musicians an performers whae yaise the Scots language will jyn wi fellae industry professionals warkin athort the airts an education tae forder mair yaise o Scots in creative life oot-through Scotland.

Takkin place durin this year’s United Nations Year o Indigenous Language, the event is hostit by Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government an Education Scotland at The Piping Centre in Glesga, whaur mair nor ae hunner delegates will hear fae speikers includin the bard and novelist James Robertson, rapper Dave Hook, scriever Gerda Stevenson, performer Harry Josephine Giles forby playwright Morna Young.

Topics tae be blethert anent on the dey include the role o Scots language in contemporary braidcastin; wimmen’s vyces in indigenous language contexts; the yaise o Scots language in creative practick; an international collaborations an hou Scots language gangs thegither wi ither language networks.

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney seyed: “A’m blythe tae attend the first mensefu Scots language gaitherin in a wheen years, hostit by Creative Scotland an supportit by the Scottish Government an Education Scotland.

“This byous gaitherin taks tent o the braw wark o a muckle hantle o organisations whae aye develop an forder the yaise o Scots in iveryday life.

“We ken the important role that the language pleys fur monie fowk athort the kintra, an this gaitherin gies the opportunity tae engage wi Scots speikers fur tae better unnerstaun the trauchles.”

Mairi Kidd, Heid o Literature, Languages & Furthsettin at Creative Scotlandseyed: “We’re blythe tae be pairtnerin wi Education Scotland an the Scottish Government on the Scots Gaitherin. Creative Scotland taks tent o an appreciates the muckle role that Scots language has pleyed, forby aye pleys, in shapin the cultural launscape o Scotland. Warkin in pairtnership wi colleagues fae athort education an the cultural sector, the day is a step forrit taewart findin imaginative weys o forderin mair yaise o Scots in creative life oot-through Scotland.”

A Scots Gaitherin coincides wi the 1st annual Scots Language Awards takkin place on the evenin o Friday 27 September at Glesga’s Mitchell Theatre. Hostit by Hands Up for Trad, the Awards will tak tent o byordinar contributions tae the culture an ongaun development o the leid.

In English

On Friday 27 September, A Scots Gaitherin of authors, broadcasters, playwrights, musicians and performers using the Scots language will join fellow industry professionals working across arts and education to encourage the increased use of Scots creative life across Scotland.

Taking place during this year’s United Nations Year of Indigenous Language, the event is hosted by Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland at The Piping Centre in Glasgow where over 100 delegates will hear from speakers including poet and novelist James Robertson, rapper Dave Hook, author Gerda Stevenson, performer Harry Josephine Giles and playwright Morna Young.

Topics for discussion on the day will include the role of Scots language within contemporary broadcasting; women’s voices within indigenous language contexts; the use of Scots language within creative practice; international collaborations and how Scots language connects with other language networks.

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney said: “I am pleased to attend the first significant Scots language gathering in a number of years, hosted by Creative Scotland and supported by Scottish Government and Education Scotland.

“This special gathering highlights the great work of a variety of organisations who continue to develop and encourage the use of Scots in everyday life.

“We know the important role the language plays for many people across the country and this gathering provides the opportunity to engage with Scots speakers to better understand the challenges.”

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing at Creative Scotland said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government on the Scots Gaitherin. Creative Scotland values and appreciates the important role that Scots language has played, and continues to play, in shaping the cultural landscape of Scotland. Working in partnership with colleagues from across education and cultural sector this day is a step towards finding imaginative ways of encouraging more use of Scots in creative life across Scotland.”

A Scots Gaitherin coincides with the first annual Scots Language Awards taking place on the evening of Friday 27 September at Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre. Hosted by Hands Up for Trad, the Awards will recognise exceptional contributions to the culture and ongoing development of the language.

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s news release. 

September 27, 2019

Creative Scotland’s Gaelic Language Plan

Tha Alba Chruthachail air Plana Cànain Gàidhlig na buidhne fhoillseachadh, le fios air gealltanasan a thaobh taic do chànan agus cultar na Gàidhlig tarsainn nan ealan, sgrìn agus gnìomhachasan cruthachail thairis air an ath trì bliadhna.

Tha an dàrna Plana Cànain Gàidhlig aig a’ bhuidhinn (2019-22) a’ togail air taic a th’ ann mar-thà do chànan agus cultar na Gàidhlig agus tha e a’ mìneachadh mar a bhios a’ bhuidheann, agus na daoine agus buidhnean ris a bheil i a’ cumail taic, a’ cuideachadh ann a bhith a’ toirt amasan A’ Phlana Cànain Nàiseanta Gàidhlig 2018-2023 gu buil.

Thuirt Màiri Kidd, Ceannard Litreachais, Chànanan is Foillseachaidh, Alba Chruthachail: “Tha sinn toilichte am plana seo fhoillseachadh ann an 2019, Bliadhna nan Cànanan Dùthchasach aig UNESCO – ùrlar cumhachdach a leigeas leinn urram a nochdadh don àite cudromach a th’ aig a’ Ghàidhlig ann am beatha chultarach is chruthachail Alba.

“Tha cànan agus cultar na Gàidhlig nam pàirt bhunaiteach de fhèin-aithne Alba, agus nam pàirt mhòr de dh’iomadalachd agus suaicheantachd na dùthcha. Le taic bho luchd-obrach le eòlas sa chànan, bidh sinn a’ cumail taic ri buidhnean agus daoine fa leth anns na h-ealain Ghàidhlig, air sgrìn, anns na gnìomhachasan cruthachail agus tro ar prògraman maoineachaidh.

“O chionn goirid roghnaich sinn maoineachadh a chleachdadh gus àite a ghlèidheadh do neachd-labhairt na Gàidhlig air prògram Bhursaraidhean Cruthachail Weston Jerwood – tha am prògram ag amas air sgilean ceannardais an ath ghinealaich de luchd-ealain, luchd-glèidhidh, luchd-riochdachaidh agus daoine cruthachail eile bho bhuidhnean nach eil air an riochdachadh mar bu chòir a leasachadh. Tha sinn cuideachd ag obair air prògram ùr a chruthaicheas cothroman do bhreithnichearan ealain le Gàidhlig. Tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ri bhith a’ foillseachadh tuilleadh mu na cothroman seo anns na seachdainean is mìosan ri thighinn.”

Thuirt Leas Phrìomh Mhinistear Iain Swinney: “Tha mi a’ cur fàilte air an taic agus aire don Ghàidhlig a th’ air am mìneachadh ann am Plana Cànain Alba Chruthachail. Tha a’ Ghàidhlig fo làn bhlàth sna gnìomhan cultarach a tha a’ tachairt air feadh na dùthcha agus tha àite cudromach aig Alba Chruthachail ann a bhith a’ cumail taic ris a’ chànan.”

___

Creative Scotland has published its Gaelic Language Plan, detailing commitments for support of Gaelic language and culture across the arts, screen and creative industries over the next three years.

The organisation’s second Gaelic Language Plan 2019-22 builds on existing support for Gaelic language and culture and sets out how the organisation and the people and organisations it supports will help deliver the aims set out in the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018 – 2023.

Mairi Kidd, Interim Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland said: “We’re pleased to publish this plan during the 2019 UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Language – an important platform for us to acknowledge and promote the importance of Gaelic within Scotland’s cultural and creative landscape.

“Gaelic language and culture form a key part of Scotland’s identity, and of our diversity and distinctiveness. With the support of Gaelic-speaking specialist staff we support the work of organisations and individuals in the Gaelic arts across all artforms, on screen, in the creative industries and through our funding programmes.

“We’ve recently provided funds to ring-fence a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary for a Gaelic speaker – the programme aims to transform the leadership potential of the next generation of artists, curators, producers and creatives from under-represented backgrounds.  We’re also working on a new programme which creates new training opportunities for Gaelic-speaking arts critics.  We look forward to saying more about both opportunities within the coming months.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I welcome the engagement and support for Gaelic outlined in Creative Scotland’s Language Plan. Gaelic is flourishing in the cultural activities that take place across the country and Creative Scotland has an important role to play in supporting the language.”

Reproduced from Creative Scotland’s news release. 

September 12, 2019

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

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

June

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

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

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

 

July

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

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

August

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

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

 

September 2, 2019

SLIC seeks new Board Members

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is seeking to appoint new members to its Board. The appointments are for three years and will run from November 2019.

Information about the Scottish Library and Information Council

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

Board Responsibilities

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

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

Further information about SLIC can be found on its website. 

Please note the appointments are on a voluntary basis.

Expressions of interest

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

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

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

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

August 2, 2019

Scots Language Publication Grants announced

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

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

The successful titles are:

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

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

 

Scots Language Resource Network

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

ASLS

Creative Scotland

Education Scotland

Glasgow Women’s Library

Historic Environment Scotland

Literature Alliance Scotland

National Library of Scotland

Publishing Scotland

Scots Language Centre

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Language Dictionaries

Scottish Poetry Library

SQA

Ulster Scots Agency

Wigtown Book Festival

Via Scottish Book Trust

July 30, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Notes to Editors

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ROAR working group:

Nyla Ahmad (Scottish Book Trust)

Caitrin Armstrong (Scottish Book Trust)

Jenni Calder (Scottish PEN)

Angie Crawford (Waterstones)

Mairi Kidd (Creative Scotland)

Wendy Kirk (Glasgow Women’s Library)

Jenny Kumar (Literature Alliance Scotland)

Katy Lockwood-Holmes (Floris Books)

Lesley McDowell (critic, editor, writer)

Judy Moir (literary agent)

Sophie Moxon (Edinburgh International Book Festival)

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

Jenny Niven (Edinburgh International Culture Summit Foundation)

Mairi Oliver (Lighthouse Bookshop)

Jess Orr (Glasgow Women’s Library)

Adele Patrick (Glasgow Women’s Library)

Elizabeth Reeder (the University of Glasgow, Scottish PEN)

Shari Sabeti (University of Edinburgh)

Claire Squires (University of Stirling)

 

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

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

 

Press coverage:

Publishing Perspectives

The Bookseller

BookBrunch 

The National

ActuaLitté les univers du livre

July 25, 2019