A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Publishing Scotland International Fellowship programme 2018

Senior publishing figures from the US, Korea and Europe are set to visit Scotland in a trade mission that puts Scotland firmly on the international literary map.

The fourth International Fellowship Programme from Publishing Scotland facilitates international exchange and comprises nine invited Fellows from Germany, France, Italy, Finland, US, and includes – for the first time – a delegate from South Korea.

The group will spend a week in Scotland at the end of August meeting Scotland-based publishers, agents and writers in a varied programme of events planned across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

The purpose of the visit is to help develop relationships between the international publishing community and the Scottish sector, facilitate rights selling and bring Scottish books to an international audience.

The Fellows will experience the Edinburgh International Book Festival and – in another first for the scheme – attend a showcase of Scottish writing hosted at University of Glasgow by best-selling author Louise Welsh who is the university’s Professor of Creative Writing.

The 2018 Fellows are:

  • Regina Kammerer, Publisher, btb Verlag, Germany
  • Raphaëlle Liebaert, Editorial Director Foreign Fiction, Editions Stock (Hachette Group), France
  • Gregory Limpens, Rights Manager, Open Books, Korea
  • Beatrice Masini, Founder/Publisher, Bompiani-Giunti Editore, Italy
  • Andrea Morstabilini, Acquisitions Editor and Rights Director, Il Saggiatore, Italy
  • Patrick Nolan, VP, Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Penguin Books, USA
  • Päivi Paappanen, Publishing Director, Like Publishing, Finland
  • Melanie Tortoroli, senior editor, WW Norton and Co, USA
  • Eva Wallbaum, Editor, Harper Collins, Germany 

The first Fellow from Korea to take part in the Programme is Gregory Limpens, the Rights Manager at Open Books, a publishing house based in Paju Book City near Seoul, which specialises in literature in translation. Originally hailing from Belgium, Mr Limpens has lived and worked in South Korea since 2005. He said:

“I’ve always wanted to attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival and am eager to learn about the Scottish publishing industry and book market. Works by Scottish authors are translated into Korean as a result of the author’s visibility on the international literary scene so Korean readers have enjoyed translations of books by Jenni Fagan, Irvine Welsh, A.J. Cronin and George MacDonald, and one of Korea’s largest publishers has recently published the first translation of Muriel Spark’s “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Scotland to be inspired to add a few more Scottish authors to our own list, which already includes Iain Banks, Ali Smith and Graeme Macrae Burnet.”

Scotland-based Andrea Joyce, Rights Director of Canongate, who has been involved with the Fellowship since it was established in 2014, said: “The Fellowship enables us to punch well above our weight on the international stage. It’s been hugely beneficial to Canongate by establishing and strengthening relationships with international publishers, and we have wrapped up several major deals with Fellows over the years. A great example of the reach of the connections created through the scheme is when publisher Elena Ramirez at Planeta bought the Spanish rights to ‘The Last Night Out’ by Catherine O’Connell. Elena then recommended the book to her colleagues at Planeta Italy, Portugal and Brazil who subsequently bought the Italian, Portuguese and Brazilian rights.” 

Marion Sinclair, Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, said: “Now more than ever, it’s vital that we maintain our international connections and ambition. The book world is fuelled by relationships that we make through bookfairs, selling rights and licensing, and the Fellowship scheme allows us to develop and deepen those relationships between the Scottish publishing industry and the rest of the world.

“In four years, we have invited 36 senior international publishers to Scotland and given our publishers, agents, and writers the chance to get to know them in a more relaxed setting. It’s all part of a wider internationalisation strand within our work and is a key way of getting more visibility for the sector here.”

The award-winning Programme from the network, trade and development body for the book publishing sector in Scotland is supported by funding from Creative Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s XpoNorth Programme.

Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “By inviting these nine publishers to Scotland for their International Fellowship Programme, Publishing Scotland helps connect Scottish literature to the world. The fellowship ensures that the work of our writers will be available in different languages and sit on bookshop shelves across Europe and further afield in the US and Korea. This is only one side of a cross-pollination process though, with the other encouraging Scottish publishers to build strong commercial relationships with the Fellows and enhance their lists with international titles, therefore providing our readers access to new literary voices and stories from diverse cultures.”

Please see the Publishing Scotland website for biographies of the 2018 Fellows.

 

 

May 11, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: March 2018

Last month £1.2million of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 44 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. Over £1.1million of these awards has been awarded through National Lottery Funding, with awards ranging from £1,094 to £150,000.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in March 2018 for Literature:

The Borders Book Festival (14-17 June), and Booked! (8-19 May), West Dunbartonshire’s annual celebration of the written and spoken word, have received funding towards their 2018 programmes.

Edinburgh-based Charco Press have received funding to deliver the first part of its 2018 publishing programme consisting of three books by contemporary award-winning Latin American authors who have never before been published in English.

Cartoonist and artist Kate Charlesworth has received funding to support the development of a new graphic novel.

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

May 1, 2018

LAS strengthens Board with new Trustees

LAS welcomes three new Trustees to strengthen our expertise in education, Scots and strategic leadership, and to broaden our geographic representation, at executive level.

The new Trustees are:

  • Valentina Bold, Principal Knowledge Exchange Fellow at University of Strathclyde
  • Sophie Moxon, Executive Director of Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Poet David Wheatley, Reader at University of Aberdeen

Chair of LAS Peggy Hughes said: “We’re delighted to have had great interest from the sector in joining our Board for the two positions advertised. From such strong candidates we have appointed three Trustees to broaden the Board’s voices and perspectives and we look forward to welcoming Valentina, Sophie and David at our next meeting in May. 

“With the combination of skills, knowledge and expertise in academia, education, Scots and writing they bring to the Board, we’ve no doubt our new Trustees will make a huge contribution to our vital work in championing the literature, languages and publishing sector across the whole of Scotland and beyond.”

April 27, 2018

Blood Bath litzine issue 1: Bodies

Blood Bath Litzine is open for submissions of short fiction and poetry on the theme of bodies.

Bodies are sites of terror and desire; they can be politicised, policed and possessed, becoming either a haven of pleasure or a hellish prison of flesh. They want to read your weirdest, most innovative stories on bodies.

They’re open to any and all types of horror, dark fantasy, speculative or science fiction – so don’t hold back.

Blood Bath accepts short fiction from 100 to 2,500 words, flash fiction shorter than this as well as poetry (maximum 15 lines) are also encouraged and welcome. A maximum of four poems and two prose pieces at a time.

Contributors will be paid, at a rate of £10 per 1,000 words for prose, and £10 per poem.

The deadline is 1 August 2018.

For more guidelines and information, see the website here.

April 26, 2018

Former Freight Poets Find New Home

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.stewedrhubarb.org | @stewedrhubarb | #stewedrhubarb

– ENDS –

For press enquiries please contact: rebecca@stewedrhubarb.org

www.stewedrhubarb.org

Interviews available

James T. Harding

Rachel McCrum (based in Canada)

Harry Giles

  

Notes to Editors

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

–       Poetry from both collections if available for reprint

Harry Giles

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

Tonguit

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

Rachel McCrum

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

The First Blast to Awaken Women Degenerate

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

James T. Harding

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

 

April 21, 2018

Donald Meek Award 2018 – submissions invited

The Gaelic Books Council is inviting submissions from Gaelic writers for the Donald Meek Award 2018. This award, established with financial assistance from Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig, aims to encourage and support new and established Gaelic writers and new Gaelic writing. Six entries were shortlisted for the Donald Meek Award 2017 and it was bestowed on Iain MacRae for his stage play, Taigh Sheonachain.

For more information and rules, see our website.

Submissions should be sent via email to rosemary@gaelicbooks.org  on or before 5pm on Friday 4th May 2018.

The shortlist will be announced early in September and the award will be presented at an evening reception in Glasgow in October 2018. The very best of luck!

Tha Comhairle nan Leabhraichean a’ sireadh thagraidhean bho sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig airson farpais Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 2018. Chuireadh an duais seo air chois le taic-airgid bho Alba Chruthachail agus bho Bhòrd na Gàidhlig le sùil gum misnich is gun cuidich i sgrìobhadairean Gàidhlig ùra agus stèidhichte. Chaidh sianar ainmeachadh air gèarr-liosta Duais Dhòmhnaill Meek 2017, agus chaidh am prìomh dhuais a bhuileachadh air Iain MacRath airson an dealbh-chluich, Taigh Sheonachain.

Gheibhear tuilleadh fiosrachaidh agus riaghailtean an seo.

Faodar an sgrìobhadh a chur a-steach gu h-eileagtronaigeach gurosemary@gaelicbooks.org  ro 17.00 air Dihaoine 4 Cèitean 2018. Feumar clàr-iarrtais (a gheibhear gu h-ìosal) a chur ris an tagradh. Thèid an geàrr-liosta fhoillseachadh aig toiseach na Sultaine agus thèid na duaisean a thoirt seachad aig tachartas sònraichte ann an Glaschu san Dàmhair 2018. Gur math a thèid leibh!

April 20, 2018

LAS submission to Culture Committee

Following the Call for Views from the Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations, we submitted the following written response at the end of March 2018.

The Committee is due to share all written responses on the website from Wednesday 18 April 2018.

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is the collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages. We are a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. As Scotland’s largest network for literature and languages, with more than 30 member organisations, we bring together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

Last week we surveyed our membership anonymously for their views on Creative Scotland funding. We asked them to share the survey among their own networks and obtained 34 responses, which have informed this submission.

Respondents are writers, poets and people who work in publishing, festivals, teaching, charities and organisations involved with the literature, publishing and languages sector. They are based across Scotland, from the Outer Hebrides to Aberdeen and from Shetland to Wigtown.

Of the 121 organisations in the 2018-21 Regular Funding Network, nine represent the literature, languages and publishing sector. They were awarded just over £7m of the total RFO budget of £101.6m.

 

The extent to which Regular Funding supports the arts and creative organisations throughout Scotland

More than half of respondents (53%) consider Regular Funding to support the arts and creative organisations throughout Scotland ‘a great deal’, or ‘a lot’ (19%) while 22% say ‘a moderate amount’ and 6% ‘a little’.

The impact of awards for Regular Funding on other funding streams

This was a comment-only question. Key comments include:

  • With shrinking budgets and more money for RFOs, other funds such as Open Project Funding will become even more competitive with longer waiting times thereby inhibiting support for innovative work from individual artists and smaller organisations, especially those outwith the central belt.
  • Regular Funding offers stability and can open access to other match- or part-funding resources. However, ittakes up a large share of the total arts budget and can lead to unsuccessful bid organisations turning to Open Project Funding, involving more time spent on form-filling and rendering it even more oversubscribed.
  • Open Project Funding needs to be redesigned to accommodate the wide variety of applicants, from large organisations to individual writers and artists.
  • With so much focus placed on Regular Funding, the possibility of other funding sources being sustainable for an organisation’s future can often be ignored.
  • The exclusion of RFOs from applying for Open Project Funding could be perceived as an inhibitor of spontaneity over the three-year funding deal. Any deviation from the three-year programme of work would need to be in agreement with the organisation’s lead officer at CS and would mean that something else on the programme would need to give to allow a new initiative a chance.  

Other relevant issues

6% of respondents said there were errors and 3% said there were speculations in their RFO assessment. Another respondent stated that in addition to errors there were also assumptions and contradictions in their RFO assessment. 6% said there were no errors, assumptions or speculations in their RFO assessment. 65% of respondents didn’t apply for RFO.

47% of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement ‘I am concerned that the recent RFO process introduced major strategic change at a late stage in the process without consultation.’

Link strategies to funding decisions

97% agree or strongly agree that there should be a clear link between Creative Scotland’s strategies and its funding decisions (assuming the strategies are sound).

Key comments:

  • Clear, well-communicated strategies are a must for organisations distributing public money. This also ensures equitable treatment of those applying for funds and makes it clear why applications were not successful.
  • However, there should be caution around strategies becoming agendas, and essentially reducing those strategies to a box-ticking exercise as part of the application process.
  • A policy of positive discrimination was suggested in order to contribute to the revitalisation of Scotland’s languages among all art forms and to adequately represent diversity.

 Funding flexibility

70% of respondents agree or strongly agree that there needs to be more flexibility in Creative Scotland’s funding routes and timescales to meet different needs within the sector.

Key comments:

  • Review all existing funding routes and strategic development routes, funding purposes, application processes (one form does not fit all), and the language used to make them more artist- and organisation-friendly, less competitive, and to encourage a more stable sector that is able to plan ahead (even if organisations are not RFOs).
  • Flexibility should be supported by transparency and accessibility.
  • A positive comment about the OpenProject Fund application was that it was exceptional in the timescales and with the help and advice offered during the application process.
  • Suggestions were put forward for a rolling programme for Regular Funding rather than once every three years. This would help with CS cash-flow and relieve the intense pressure in assessing applications, affording more time to better understand organisations being assessed, to fact-check and source evidence thereby reducing assumptions and errors. 

Decision-making and peer review

64% strongly agree or agree that decision-making should include appropriate peer review.

Key comments:

  • Peer review would empower artists by enabling the years of experience within the sector to reflect and influence its future.
  • Respondents questioned how to define ‘appropriate’ peer review and cautioned of the additional cost peer review is likely to entail and the potentially onerous impact on funding, timescales as well as the challenge of finding unbiased peers representing Scotland-wide, not just the central belt.
  • Alternative suggestions are for consultation with artists in setting criteria for funding and for strong formal and informal opportunities for feedback on decisions, or a panel of appropriate (non-CS) peer reviewers.
  • Other comments noted the strong backgrounds of CS officers in their art forms and highlighted the need for CS to rebuild trust and confidence so their expertise is respected and they can stand by decisions, which are rigorous and evidence-based.

Future priorities

Members were asked what Creative Scotland’s top priorities should be for the future as a comment-only question. The range of views have been prioritised below by volume.

  • Review all funding streams with input from artists and those working in the sector
  • Advocate for the importance of Scotland’s cultural sector by demonstrating its value
  • Be transparent in funding, decision-making and communications
  • Increase equitable access to culture
  • Equity in funding organisations and individual artists, and work Scotland-wide not just Central Belt.

 

April 17, 2018

A Culture Strategy for Scotland – Engagement Report

The Culture Strategy Team has provided an update on the development of ‘A Culture Strategy for Scotland’.

Many of you took part in the engagement phase which ran between June and December 2017 2017 with the central ambition to stimulate debate and generate ideas across the sector and wider society to inform the development of the strategy.  During this time, the Scottish Government hosted a series of nine Scotland-wide public events during the Engagement Phase which attracted nearly four hundred contributors in total (Dundee; Inverness; Paisley; Dumfries; Galashiels; Aberdeen; Skye; Edinburgh; Dunfermline) and more than fifty events were also held by partners and stakeholders. Written submissions were also made by organisations and individuals, and more than thirty contributions were received via the online interactive ideas forum.

The team has now produced an engagement report which provides an overview of the main themes and ideas that emerged across all the engagement events as well as written submissions and online forums. The main report and a summary can be found here.

The report will inform a draft strategy which will be issued for public consultation later in 2018.

 

Contact

To find out more about the culture strategy and how to get involved, email culturestrategy@gov.scot or contact a member of the strategy team:

  • Donna Stewart, Senior Policy Manager: 0131 244 7682
  • Sarah Simpson, Policy Officer: 0131 244 0305

You can also share your views on Twitter, tagging @culturescotgov and using the hashtag #scotlandscultureconversation

April 10, 2018

LAS support for Western Isles mobile library service

We wrote the following letter in February to show our support for the outstanding mobile service already being delivered to residents of the Western Isles and to urge the Comhairle nan Eileen Siar to invest in three new library vehicles to ensure continuity of this vital service. A decision is expected to be made at the Comhairle’s Policy & Resources Committee in May.

 

A letter in support of the mobile library service delivered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

My name is Peggy Hughes and I am the Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS), which represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland.

I’m writing in support of the existing mobile library service and to urge Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to invest in the procurement of three new library vehicles to ensure the continuity of this vital service to the communities of the Western Isles.

While I do of course fully appreciate that the Comhairle is under financial pressure, the argument for long-term investment in public libraries – both static and mobile –  is strong.

The mobile library provides access to library and information services, including literature, culture and knowledge to all those who live too far away from a static library. With only four static libraries in the Outer Hebrides, the mobile vehicles cover huge areas and are vital in providing an adequate library service for all residents, as per the requirements of the Local Government Act.

The service supports reading for pleasure and their stock is vital in supporting literacies. Reading is Scotland’s favourite cultural activity, which brings with it important health benefits. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by the Scottish Government shows clear and significant links between cultural participation and improved health and wellbeing.

They also facilitate better quality of life through greater access to services, reducing service inequalities between towns and rural communities, and lower social isolation in all demographic groups, including vulnerable adults and the elderly.

Libraries provide equal opportunities for everyone, therefore renewing the current vehicles, which are no longer fit for purpose, is crucial to ensuring the Comhairle’s continued contribution to national outcomes such as reducing inequality and improving literacy, life chances and health.

Importantly, the mobile library service demonstrates the value the Comhairle places on its communities. And, despite the current state of the vehicles, local residents clearly value the service delivered with a consistent growth in membership nearly doubling in the past four years. Such impressive statistics speak volumes and would be the envy of other Councils across Scotland in putting forward a strong case for continued library investment.

Scotland has long been known for its strong support for public libraries, and for the excellent network of libraries that has already been created.

On behalf of our members, we call on the Comhairle to acknowledge the outstanding service already being delivered by your mobile library service staff.

We would urge you to protect it for the long-term by investing in new up-to-date vehicles to make sure that the people living in the Western Isles can continue to have regular access to a library service and the myriad benefits they offer both now and in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Peggy Hughes, Chair

 

Literature Alliance Scotland Membership at February 2018

MEMBERS

  • Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS)
  • Association of Scottish Literary Agents (ASLA)
  • Bookdonors CIC
  • CILIPS (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland)
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust
  • The Gaelic Books Council
  • Moniack Mhor
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
  • Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
  • Publishing Scotland
  • The Saltire Society
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC)
  • SLAM (Scottish Literary and Arts Magazines)
  • Scottish Society of Playwrights
  • Scottish PEN
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • Scottish Storytelling Forum
  • Scottish Writers Centre
  • Society of Authors in Scotland
  • Universities Committee for Scottish Literature
  • Wigtown Festival Company
  • Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (Scottish Region)

NETWORK ASSOCIATES

  • Ayton Publishing
  • Florida State Universities Library
  • Indie Authors World
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication @ Stirling University
  • The Poetry Association of Scotland

 

 

April 3, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: February 2018

Last month £1,034,174 of Creative Scotland Open Project Funding was awarded to 43 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries. Over £950,000 of these awards has been awarded through National Lottery Funding.

Congratulations to the following organisations and individuals receiving funding in February 2018 for Literature:

Dingwall-based Sandstone Press have received funding to enable them to publish twenty-five new titles in 2018, including 10 fiction and 15 non-fiction titles, alongside professional development for members of the Sandstone Press.

Novelist Kate Tregaskis, writer Simon Wilson Hall and poet Jim Carruth have all received funding towards new works.

New writing publication Gutter Magazine has received funding to support its next four issues.

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

March 29, 2018

LAS survey: have your say on Creative Scotland funding

If you’re involved in the literature, languages and publishing sector, we’d like to hear your views on Creative Scotland  – whether or not you / your organisation is funded by them.

Please complete this survey before this Friday, 23 March 2018.

It’s only 10 questions. That’s just five minutes of your time to help inform our sector feedback at a meeting with CEO Janet Archer next week.

 
Feel free to share the survey amongst your own membership and with your wider literature, languages & publishing network. Every voice matters – we want to hear them all.
 
The deadline is Friday 23 March 2018. Thank you!
March 20, 2018

Obituary: Sir Gerald Eliot, patron of the arts in Scotland

Sir Gerald Eliot, the former chairman of Christian Salvesen and patron of the arts in Scotland, died on 28 January 2018 aged 94.

The admiration for Sir Gerald’s support for the arts in Scotland is widespread. Read his obituary in The Herald by Alasdair Steven (8 February 2018) which includes the following quote from Edinburgh Festival’s director Fergus Linehan:

“Sir Gerald was passionately enthusiastic about the arts and made a substantial contribution to Scotland’s cultural life. He and Lady Elliot supported both established and emerging artists through The Binks Trust and generously opened up their home to welcome visitors to the Festival.”

 

 

March 19, 2018

New Lobbying Act – have you registered?

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 is in force from 12 March 2018. 

The Lobbying (Scotland) Act 2016 became law in April 2016. The Act aims to increase public transparency about lobbying. It defines particular types of communication as ‘regulated lobbying’.

From 12 March 2018 the Lobbying Register website (www.lobbying.scot) must be used by anyone who engages in regulated lobbying to record details of their activities. The Register is also searchable by anyone with an interest in finding out about regulated lobbying activity that has taken place.

Regulated lobbying is lobbying which takes place face-to-face with MSPs, members of the Scottish Government (including the Scottish Law Officers), Special Advisers or Permanent Secretary and which relates to Scottish Government or Parliamentary functions. 

There are a number of exemptions in the Act that may mean you will not need to enter details in the Lobbying Register. See this guidance on the Act to help you to determine whether it applies to you.

Download the leaflet

Download the FAQs

The Lobbying Register Team can be contacted on 0131 348 5408 or lobbying@parliament.scot

There is also a Twitter feed for the Scottish Parliament Lobbying Register:  @SP_LobbyingScot

March 13, 2018

Celebrating Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair on International Women’s Day 2018

Dame Sarah Elizabeth Siddons Mair honoured at Edinburgh home with plaque installation

In 2016 the City of Literature Trust nominated Dame Sarah Siddons Mair to receive a plaque as part of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme run by Historic Environment Scotland. Today, on International Women’s Day, her plaque was installed at 29 Abercromby Place, where she was born, to commemorate her life and work towards promoting women’s education and suffrage.

Born in 1846, Mair was the great-great granddaughter of the actress Sarah Siddons, who was best known for her portrayal of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Sarah Siddons Mair carved a name of her own, however, as one of the most central figures in the Scottish women’s movement. She was a lifetime advocate for women’s education and suffrage, known for her work as a writer, reviewer, editor, and campaigner.

At the young age of 19, she was the founder and president of the Ladies’ Edinburgh Debating Society, which offered Edinburgh women the chance to practice speaking in public, acquire debating skills, whilst also exploring social issues. She would later go on to help found the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women, and become president of the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage in 1907.

Mair is also known for her work in promoting higher education for women, and notoriously founded St George’s High School for Girls in 1888. We were lucky enough to be joined by current pupils and teachers from the school, who read extracts from her work, as well as the Royal Scots Club, who organised a lunch in her honour.

The unveiling of Mair’s plaque in the New Town came about as a result of the Commemorative Plaque scheme run by Historic Environment Scotland. The Trust nominated three female writers deserving of such commemorations in back in 2016; all of whom were chosen. The other recipients included Dorothy Emily Stevenson, an avid novelist, and Susan Ferrier, widely recognized as ‘the Scottish Jane Austen’. Last year, two further nominated female writers were also chosen to receive plaques: Mary Brunton and Christian Isobel Johnstone.

Siân Bevan, Programme Manager at Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust said: “The plaques are a great reminder of the vibrant women writers who make up the incredible literary history of Edinburgh. Some of them may have, for one reason or another, fallen out of the public’s memory so it’s fantastic to have plaques in public spaces which might encourage folk to find out more about their remarkable life and works.”

This year, we look forward to the installation of a further two plaques commemorating the lives of Mary Brunton and Christian Isobel Johnstone. For more information about both women, explore the Women Writers’ page on the Edinburgh City of Literature website.

– ENDS –

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Raeburn, Communications Assistant, City of Literature Trust

rebecca@cityofliterature.com or 0131 557 9850

 

March 8, 2018

Guest blog: Scottish children are reading what they want

Shelagh Toonen, Librarian at Elgin Academy, responds to an article in the national press that  ‘Scottish children are not reading challenging enough books’ (BBC News, 22 February 2018)

The report reads that we are failing our pupils in Scotland. It highlights a study which leads us to believe that we have a Scottish education system clearly heading for catastrophe. Librarians, teachers, parents, pupils, education authorities and concerned citizens have reason for alarm. There are signs of literacy failure nationwide.

However, in my own school, Elgin Academy, in 2016, 87% of our pupils left school with a literacy level of level 5 in literacy or better. This was compared with 80% of our virtual comparator.

This refutes the claim in the study that “many 16-year-olds sitting National 4 and 5 exams have the reading ability of a 13 year old or lower.”

However, the education company Renaissance Learning, Inc. has made the claim that Scottish children are not reading challenging enough books and this was reprinted in the Scottish media. Renaissance Learning’s flagship product is a software package called Accelerated Reader. The company claims that AR (as it is called) is “the world’s most widely used reading software.”

It has been established in the UK since 1999 and claims to have a presence in over 40,000 schools in more than 60 countries worldwide. Renaissance’s purpose is to accelerate reading and learning for all. A minimum subscription rate for 50 pupils is £450, or £9 per pupil. AR is, by its very nature, a system of providing extrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards for reading. A very expensive system with very expensive rewards.

Most pupils, even those with less reading ability, quickly realise that one way to accumulate points is volume, volume, volume. Read easier books and lots of them so you can quickly take as many AR quizzes as possible with minimal challenge. This competitive race is likely to discourage weaker readers while proficient readers may find the joy and power of reading reduced to vocabulary words and computer-generated comprehension quizzes. Our young people should not be reading to achieve tangible rewards. They should read because they want to. AR gets motivation wrong. It assumes that the reason our young people don’t read is that they need to be bribed into doing so with extrinsic awards.

Bestselling YA author Judy Blume is unequivocal: “What I don’t like and what I really don’t like — intensely hate, you could say — is the Accelerated Reader program, even though many of my books are in that program, because they rate books, not on emotional content or emotional readiness. They’re rated by machine — how many words in a sentence, how long is a paragraph. Nothing to do with character, nothing to do with subject and again, nothing to do with emotional readiness.”

Our pupils in Scottish schools read because their school librarian selected and recommended a book they thought they would enjoy based on knowing them and on their interests. Our pupils read to escape, to heal, to experience, to have adventures, to escape into other worlds and to dream. We provide them with the means to do that. School librarians provide a reader-friendly, safe, nurturing space with time to read and be read to and with time to select and to talk about reading. We provide access to books and, more importantly, choice. Young people are given free rein in the library, to read anything and everything they want.

Free choice is a powerful motivator in reading. For a young person, to have the opportunity to independently choose their own book, surely demonstrates their willingness and desire to read? It does not matter what that choice is. It should not be frowned upon nor the reader discouraged. Choice empowers our young people and if we value their choices, then we value them. Their choice leads to discussion, firstly about the books, but also then helps to create and to strengthen relationships. Ultimately, choice develops independent readers and learners.

If secondary school pupils do choose the same books they enjoyed in primary school, or choose to remain with one series of books, then they are reading books they have known, enjoyed and loved. If these books provide a comforting or nurturing value during what might be challenging or difficult times at secondary school, then that is a good thing. If pupils want to remain with Robert Muchamore, or Jeff Kinney or Anthony Horowitz and want to re-read the whole series, then let them.

School librarians are there to help our pupils to make choices based on their interests and to develop their enthusiasm for books. We are there to motivate and to enable our pupils to have choice in their reading. Strong and capable readers are those who read widely and diversely in a wide variety of genres and in the quest to build capable readers, promoting independent, self-selected reading remains key. Creating keen, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen. It takes a school library, with a diverse, relevant and vibrant collection of books and a professionally qualified librarian to help reach that goal.

My own proposal would be that all pupils be given the gifts of time and books they want to read throughout their school lives and that all young children would have an adult who would read aloud to them each and every day.

Parents of our pupils have a role to play in developing their reading habit and their literacy skills too. What parents do is more important than who parents are. A study involving 4000 children in the UK found parents who provided learning support at home had a positive impact on their child’s cognitive, language and socio-emotional development, regardless of the parent’s class or educational background. This can be anything from reading to their child, library visits, singing songs, reading poems or nursery rhymes.

The powerful influence of the early home learning environment was apparent in the pre-school period, and when children started school, and continued right through to the end of secondary school. Closing the gap in educational attainment between children from affluent and disadvantaged homes is a current priority of the Scottish Government.

A quality school library can contribute to reducing the attainment gap and enable vulnerable students to improve academic success. Evidence reveals the difference a school library can make at both primary level and to disadvantaged pupils who have limited access to reading resources in the home.

Nurturing my school’s reading culture gives me the opportunity to raise the profile of books and reading in school, while at the same time sharing my passion for high-interest titles, favourite authors and the joy of books.

I believe that, through independent reading and freedom of choice, our young people gain a wealth of background knowledge about many different things and they will build vocabulary, fluency and will want to read more. I want our pupils to enjoy reading and I know that school librarians’ role in creating readers is one of the most exciting and satisfying parts of our job.

Now, with changing technologies and concepts, the school library is a much more exciting place to explore than ever before. We all relish the excitement on a pupil’s face, when they come into the library, knowing that they are entering a world of creativity, adventure, learning, fun and warmth. It is a reminder every day of why our school libraries and reading are so important to our young people.

Professional library support and choice really do help to make our make young people into readers. I firmly believe that our libraries should be the beating heart of the reading culture in our schools in Scotland.

“Students will read if we give them the books, the time, and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so. If we make them wait for the one unit a year in which they are allowed to choose their own books and become readers, they may never read at all. To keep our students reading, we have to let them.”
― Donalyn Miller The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.

This guest blog originally appeared on the CILIPS’ website. It is reproduced here with kind permission. 

March 1, 2018

Open Project Funding for Literature: Jan 2018

Last month £836,779 of National Lottery funding through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund was awarded to 41 recipients, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Congratulations to the following projects and individuals receiving funding in January 2018 for Literature:

Literature festivals including Nairn Book and Arts Festival (11-16 September 2018) in the Highlands, Boswell Book Festival (4-6 May 2018) in East Ayrshire, and Aye Write! (15-25 March 2018) in Glasgow have received funding towards their 2018 programmes.

Poets Juana Adcock and Christie Williamson have received support to attend and speak at The International Poetry Festival of Granada.

Katrina Brodin, Programme Manager (Reader Development & Literacy) at AyeWrite! said: “At their core, Aye Write! and Wee Write! exist to foster a love of reading and writing and to encourage development of both. This funding not only helps Aye Write! identify, attract and nurture talent but also helps expose budding writers, readers and authors to new skills, genres and audiences. Similarly, Wee Write! fires imaginations and helps instil a passion for reading in new generations that will last a lifetime and encourage young people to explore writing and reading in all forms.”

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

February 28, 2018

Wigtown Festival Company seeks Cultural Producer

Wigtown Festival Company (WFC) is looking to recruit a cultural producer / programme manager from April 2018.

This is an exciting opportunity to be a key member of a team delivering a variety of literary and cultural activities across south-west Scotland, including the annual Wigtown Book Festival.

The position is full-time with a salary of £25,000 and is based at our offices in Wigtown, Dumfries & Galloway.

The successful applicant will have a strong professional background in arts and literature and proven experience of delivering cultural projects, including monitoring, evaluation and reporting. A driver’s license is also required.

This is not an entry level position, though applicants with appropriate internship experience will be considered.

WFC is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Our organisation is committed to equalities, diversity and inclusion.

To register interest and for further information, including job description and application requirements, please contact Anne Barclay (anne@wigtownbookfestival.com).

Application deadline: 5pm, Friday 9 March 2018.

Interviews: week commencing Monday 19 March

Wigtown Festival Company | 11 North Main Street | Wigtown | DG8 9HN

Charity registered in Scotland. Number SC037984.

February 26, 2018

2018-2023 Draft Gaelic Language Plan

The second iteration of the National Library of Scotland’s Gaelic Language Plan is now out for public consultation.

The plan will remain open for this period of consultation from 19 January 2018 to 16 March 2018.

The Library is seeking the views and comments of interested individuals, businesses and local and national Gaelic organisations, regarding the content of its Draft Gaelic Language Plan which, once finalised, will cover the period 2018-2023.

All views and comments will be fully considered before the final draft of the plan is produced at the end of the eight-week period.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the content of the plan, please do send an email to GaelicLanguagePlan@nls.uk.

 

2018-2023 Dreachd Phlana Ghàidhlig

Thathar a’ dèanamh co-chomhairle phoblach air an dàrna tionndadh den Phlana Ghàidhlig aig Leabharlann Nàiseanta na h-Alba aig an àm seo.

Bidh a’ cho-chomhairle fosgailte eadar 19 Faoilleach 2018 agus 16 Màrt 2018.

Tha an Leabharlann a’ sireadh bheachdan bho dhaoine agus buidhnean aig a bheil ùidh sa chùis, a’ gabhail a-steach buidhnean Gàidhlig aig an ìre ionadail is nàiseanta, air an dreachd Phlana Ghàidhlig aige airson 2018-2023.

Thèid cnuasachadh air na beachdan uile a gheibhear sa cho-chomhairle mus tèid an dreachd mu dheireadh den phlana fhoillseachadh aig deireadh nan ochd seachdainean co-chomhairleachaidh.

Ma tha beachd no ceist sam bith agad mu shusbaint a’ phlana, cuir post-d gu GaelicLanguagePlan@nls.uk.

 

 

February 26, 2018

Edinburgh: City of Literature – Summer School course

Edinburgh has an amazingly rich literary heritage and was the first city in the world to receive UNESCO City of Literature status.

Now, the University of Edinburgh has created a unique four-week course to examine some of Edinburgh’s most celebrated literary talents – Edinburgh: City of Literature.

Alongside works by Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin, Muriel Spark and Irvine Welsh, the course will explore these writers’ presence in the city through manuscript collections and objects in the National Libraries and Museums of Scotland and the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum.

It will also follow their footsteps through the city to see how their presence has been marked with monuments, plaques and other forms of cultural heritage, and consider how these writers represent the city in their works and how it has shaped their writing.

Application deadline: 30 March 2018. The course runs from 4-29 June 2018.

Watch the video below. For full details visit the website.

February 25, 2018

Invitation: Glasgow Zine Fest programme launch, 8 March

Glasgow Zine Fest is excited to invite you to their first ever Programme Launch!

The evening will feature poetry from Colin Herd and Jane Hartshorn, along with performances and screenings from visual artists James st Findlay, Lewis den Hertog, Rosa Klerkx, Sabe Lewellyn and Lauren La Rose. All are self-publishers in some form or another – so you’ll get to see their work at the fair on 14 and 15 April too!

Come along to the back room at Saramago’s Terrace Bar, CCA, on Thursday 8 March. The evening starts promptly at 8pm, and finishes at 10.30pm. The bar is then open until 12 midnight. Get your hands on their first ever printed programme for #GZF!!

Find out more here. Or go to the Facebook event and see who else is going.

For the launch the programme will also be available in large print, as a PDF on our website. For more information on access to the CCA, see their Access Statement.

Unfortunately there will not be BSL interpretation at this event, however all events at the festival will be interpreted.

Glasgow Zine Festival is a weekend of workshops, screenings, talks and socials topped with the biggest self publishing fair in Scotland. It takes place on 14 and 15 April 2018 at CCA Glasgow.

Follow them on Twitter @GlasgowZineFest

 

February 23, 2018

Event – FUTURE PROOF: How does the author fit into today’s publishing landscape?

Authors: join Creative Scotland and a host of publishing professionals for an afternoon of panels, talks and discussions, designed to inform and provoke debate around the opportunities and challenges currently facing writers at all stages of their career – including alternative routes to publication and the potential offered through new distribution models and digital channels.

  • Update yourself on both the traditional and new models of book distribution
  • Learn more about self-publishing models
  • Understand the viability of e-book publishing

Featured speakers will include Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland, Davinder Bedi of Booksource, Laura Jones of 404 Ink, self-published author Margaret Skea and Peter Urpeth of Emergents.

DATE: Monday 12 March 2018

TIME: 12.45-4.30pm

VENUE: Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA

FREE but ticketed: Book via Eventbrite

 

Afternoon Agenda

12:45 – Welcome, registration & coffee

13:00 – PANEL: Something Old, Something New: Approaches to Book Distribution

With Marion Sinclair (Publishing Scotland), Davinder Bedi (Booksource), Laura Jones (404 Ink)

14:30 – Comfort Break

15:00 – TALKS:

  • The Road Less Travelled with Peter Urpeth, Emergents
  • Hybrid/Self-publishing and E-books, Margaret Skea, author

Q&A

16:30 – Event close

February 23, 2018

Creative Scotland opening remarks to Culture Committee (22 February 2018)

Below are the opening remarks from Janet Archer, CEO of Creative Scotland at today’s evidence session to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee: “Sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland”

Watch the recording of the session here.

Good morning everyone and thank you to the Committee for inviting us to give evidence this morning.

We’re here to talk about sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland.

Creative Scotland’s most significant means by which we provide this is via three-year Regular Funding. Our first round spanned 2015-18 and our guidance for the second round 2018-21 was published in November 2016. The process and guidance for Regular Funding was tested with sector representatives who worked with us to test them prior to us going live.

I want to start by saying I’m profoundly sorry that the delivery of this process has been such a negative one for many. We can’t let that happen again. My role as Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, is to take ultimate responsibility for everything that Creative Scotland does. I am currently in dialogue with everyone involved at every level in the process and I will make sure we learn from this moment and resolve all outstanding issues fairly and openly.

I’d like to offer some context in which I hope the committee will find helpful.

Regular Funding is an open application process, this time we had 184 applications and have funded 121. Overall we have committed to spending £33.9m on Regular Funding, £1m more a year than previously. Due to a £6.6m uplift from the Scottish Government for which we are very grateful, Regular Funding is no longer reliant on the National Lottery. We previously utilised £6m of National Lottery funding to regularly fund organisations.

Many of you are aware that between September and December last year, like other public bodies, we were scenario planning against some very difficult budget predictions.

In the end the budget settlement was much better than we expected. It’s important however to recognise that the 21% uplift we communicated, is made up of £10m for screen, set against hard economic targets, and £6.6m to replace the lost Lottery income for the arts as I’ve already outlined. That means our RFO budget effectively remains at standstill.

Despite this we have been able to support 121 excellent organisations, across Scotland and across art-forms for the next three years. At one point last Autumn we thought we might have only been able to fund half this amount.

The network includes 19 organisations new to Regular Funding, such as the Alchemy Film Festival in Hawick; Bodysurf Scotlandin Moray; Starcatchers, Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years organisation; Lyra, based in Craigmillar, in Edinburgh Toonspeak which provides free, high quality drama and theatre activities for young people aged 11-25 living in Glasgow; Theatre Gu Leor, the acclaimed Gaelic Theatre Company; and Tinderbox Collectivebased at North Edinburgh Arts.

Making funding decisions is never easy, nowhere more so than in Scotland where creative talent and ambition far outweighs the funding we have available, particularly in the context of increasing reliance on Creative Scotland funding, as alternative sources of support come under increasing pressure. I fully understand that even on standstill funding some organisations are really struggling. As stated in our arts strategy, we are committed to working with all organisations to support them to build resilience for the future.

Overall the applications we received totalled 33% more than our available budget. That created a real challenge for us particularly when organisations asked for an average of a 25% increase.

We have tried to help by supporting all organisations coming out of Regular Funding through providing transition funding of between six and 12 months at the same level they are currently funded at.

We are also in the process of meeting organisations to explain our decisions, and where they have been unsuccessful, discuss alternative routes to funding and how we might be able to support them in the future.

Regular Funding is one of our routes to funding, sitting alongside Open Project and Targeted Funding which includes Screen.  Over the coming three years, we expect to distribute circa £83m of Government and National Lottery funds a year across these three funding routes.

One immediate thing I want to tackle is to make project funding more straight forward to access especially for artists, individuals, and artists led organisations. We’re planning to announce how we will do this very soon.

I completely recognise that the Regular Funding process has been more challenging this time round than it needed to be – for both those applying and for our staff.

It’s clear that the introduction of the Touring Fund, while based on a review of touring which included consultation, did not chime with everyone in the theatre sector and is not seen as a replacement for Regular Funding. That’s one of the reasons that the Board decided to take stock, increase the budget available for Regular Funding and add organisations into the network.

We understand that this final stage of the process has created real difficulties, none of us want to repeat the experience, as it stands, in three years’ time.

That’s why, as we have already announced, we are committed to a root and branch review of how we fund. We will – importantly – do this in full collaboration with the people and organisations we support.

We welcome all of the constructive communications that we have received – of which there have been a significant amount – and much dialogue that has emerged. We are meeting with sector representative bodies – such as Scottish Contemporary Art Network, Federation of Scottish Theatre, Literature Alliance Scotland and others, whom we already work closely with – in the coming weeks to shape how we approach this review.

Finally, I want to recognise the dedicated, hard-working and knowledgeable staff at Creative Scotland who work every day to make a positive difference to art and culture in our country. Many have recently joined us after high profile careers in the sector. Others have built up immense knowledge over many years of service. They have worked thoughtfully and diligently on this Regular Funding round, dedicating a great deal of time, energy and care to the process.

We are all committed to doing things differently in the future, many ideas have been surfaced as we’ve been working through our difficult decisions and we’re looking forward to sharing these as we enter into dialogue over the coming months.

Thank you.

 

February 22, 2018

LAS submission to Culture Committee re Creative Scotland funding

We have submitted the following response to the Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee ahead of the evidence session with Creative Scotland on ‘Sustainable funding for arts and creative organisations in Scotland’ on Thursday 22 February 2018 from 9am. Meeting papers are here.

Peggy Hughes, Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, said:

“While Literature Alliance Scotland is pleased that many strategic literature and language organisations have received regular funding from Creative Scotland, we have some concerns about the Board’s decision-making process in the final stages, which has been unclear, unaccountable and has resulted in some surprising outcomes. Specifically, we regret the loss of Edinburgh City of Literature Trust as a regularly funded organisation, and the reductions in funding for Tracs and Scottish Poetry Library.

“The Scottish Government’s positive budget announcement in December 2017 was met with both relief and optimism across the cultural sector. However, the developments that followed Creative Scotland’s initial regular funding announcement, with the subsequent series of reversals in some funding decisions, sets a worrying precedent that could indicate that not all voices and approaches are equally valued or listened to.

“We hope that the Culture Committee’s scrutiny of Creative Scotland on Thursday will provide the much-needed answers to questions about criteria, process and transparency that are being urged by us all across the cultural sector.”

 

February 20, 2018

LAS seeks new Trustees

Literature Alliance Scotland seeks to appoint two new Trustees and welcome expressions of interest from potential candidates – and particularly from those with a specialist knowledge of education, and Scots.

A description of the positions and the candidates’ qualities sought follows.

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

If you would like to join our Board of Trustees, please send a CV and a short letter to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to get involved and what you think you can offer.

The deadline for applications is 23 March 2018.

Information about being a Trustee for LAS

About LAS

LAS is a membership organisation, which is committed to advancing the interests of literature and languages at home and abroad. It is Scotland’s largest network for literature and languages, of more than 30 member organisations, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies.

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

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

Members actively participate in leading and contributing to LAS’ main areas of work, which include championing the sector through advocacy and events, networking and sector intelligence, and professional development.

LAS’ income comes from membership fees and is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

LAS became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Institution (SCIO) in March 2016. Under its Constitution, LAS has a Board of Trustees headed by a Chair and Vice-Chair, elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting.

 

ROLE DESCRIPTION

Summary

The role of the Board of Trustees is to determine the overall strategic direction of LAS, monitoring progress towards our objectives and taking collective responsibility to ensure the good governance of the organisation. Our Trustees should be prepared to act as advocates.

Trustee applications are welcome from within and outwith the membership of LAS.

Main Duties

Our Trustees must perform the following functions:

Ensure the organisation complies with its constitution, charity law and any other relevant legislation or regulation.

Contribute actively to the role of the Board of Trustees in giving strategic direction to the organisation, setting and maintaining the mission, vision and values of the organisation and evaluating the organisation’s performance.

Establish policies and procedures to govern organisational activity

Ensure that the charity pursues its objectives as defined in its governing document

Ensure the effective and efficient administration of the charity and ensure its financial stability.

 

Time commitment

The LAS Board of Trustees meets four times a year. Trustees will be expected to prepare for and attend these meetings as well as our Annual General Meeting. Board meetings, which usually last around two hours, take place immediately after the Members’ meetings, which are held in Edinburgh during a working day.  One of the four meetings is held in a different part of Scotland.

 

Expenses

This is an unpaid post, however out of pocket expenses reasonably incurred in connection with carrying out the Trustees’ duties will be met.

 

Candidate Qualities

A sound knowledge of and passion for Scottish literature and languages

Familiarity with the principles and practice of leadership and management

Knowledge of the principles of corporate governance.

 

Experience

Active involvement with Scottish literature and languages in one or more fields. We would especially welcome a specialist knowledge of education, and Scots

Experience of making strategic decisions at board level

Acquaintance with leadership and management within the public sector

Familiarity with working collectively and in partnership.

 

Skills

An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship

Financial literacy, with experience of financial management and the ability to assist with budget preparation

Strategic thinking and problem solving

Strong ambassadorial skills

Ability to work as a member of a team

Excellent spoken and written communications skills.

 

Personal Qualities

Strong commitment to the vision and objectives of Literature Alliance Scotland

Commitment to devoting the necessary time and effort to the role of trustee by preparing well for board meetings and actively contributing to them.

Good independent judgment and the ability to think creatively.

 

Other Factors

Convenient access to Edinburgh is desirable since most (but not all) meetings are held there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 15, 2018

Call out:Scottish-Latvian Poets & Performing Artists Exchange

 Expressions of interest are sought from Scottish poets and performing artists who work or have worked in Gaelic or Scots for this cultural exchange project by Visiting Arts in the Spring.
It involves a week in both Latvia and Scotland to collaborate with Latvian peers on written and performative work around the theme of endangered languages.
The aim is to promote a greater awareness of endangered languages and the rich contemporary literature and culture in Scotland and Latvia. More info here.
 
Deadline: Thursday 15 February 2018

 

January 25, 2018

Sad news about the passing of Alex Cluness

Below is a note from Marc Lambert of Scottish Book Trust about the unexpected passing of Alex Cluness.

Alex was from a notable Shetland family and one of the instigators of Word Play, Shetland’s literary festival. He was a good poet himself, and did a lot of work – first in Shetland, then elsewhere – in supporting and developing new writers.

He was an excellent person – funny, modest, and kind. His company was always a life-affirming pleasure. He was very kind and supportive to me as a newbie at SBT. Later I returned the favour in helping (in a very minor way) him and his colleague Tracy set up Literature Works, which enables and nurtures literature development activity in South West England.

Alex’s family wanted as many of his former colleagues and friends to know as possible. They will keep in touch with me regarding funeral arrangements etc, which I will pass on.

This is very, very sad. We have lost a talented poet and a great friend.

Below is an appreciation by poet Kevin MacNeil, “Writers Who Deserve to be Better Known”, from Scottish Review of Books, 2011.

KEVIN MACNEIL

Neglected writers are like Shetland on a wider map – marginalised and boxed away like an afterthought when recognised at all. It is to Shetland I turn your attention, and a contemporary writer who is a one of the UK’s best and most original poets. In Shetland literary circles Alex Cluness is quietly revered; elsewhere he is quietly ignored. He is a typical islander in that he devotes his energies to promoting the work of others – as Shetland’s literary development officer, then while working in literary promotion in South West England, now as a visionary leader at Uist’s Taigh Chearsabhaigh. Cluness’s poetic output is eclectic, impassioned and wide-ranging, encompassing Shetland and Other Poems, Disguise, 2005, and Mend. 2005 is an intense, cinematic, rain-soaked collection, a paean to Wong Kar-wai. The astonishing lines in the poems of Mend are so long the book had to be published in letterbox format. Disclaimer: Alex’s work is also included in a recent anthology I edited, These Islands, We Sing. My primary intentions in editing this book were to emphasise how disproportionately high is the quality of poetry from the Scottish isles and also to give greater prominence to writers such as Cluness. I have read his work at quite a few events promoting the anthology and it always elicits a physical response, a gasp. Cluness’s poetry is epic, intimate, elemental, complex and beautiful.

James Robertson published Alex under the Kettillonia imprint and below is what he had to say about Alex’s collection, followed by one of the poems from that pamphlet, Disguise:

“This collection by Shetland-based poet Alex Cluness is deceptive in more ways than one. Apparently simple, the poems lure you into the minds of eighteen different men filled with the hopes and despairs of being in love. Funny and poignant, they suggest that the porn star and the minister, the zen master and the boxer, the astronaut and the alcoholic have at least this much in common: that love can be the loneliest emotion in the universe.”

 The Fisherman

The fisherman
Given over to love
Began a carving
When the days rolled less:

To bless this Madonna
And baby saviour
He kissed the finished piece
As the North Sea
Squeezed the concertina
Of their fragile red boat

My girl
He said to himself
Is more important to me
Than I can ever know
I must just trust to God
That she is safe

The ocean formed a landslide
And at a wild angle
The call came to haul the nets

 

 

 

January 22, 2018

#CheerstoRabbie

Let’s raise a glass to Burns from every corner of the world.

As part of its work to promote Scotland’s Winter Festivals, The Scottish Government is celebrating our shared love of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns by creating a global virtual toast to the great man and we would love you to participate.

Since there is no better opportunity than 25 January to come together with like-minded people from all over the world Scottish companies and brands, along with their employees and customers are being asked to help make that celebration bigger than ever before.

Doing your bit is simple. Just post a picture of your toast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from 18 January using #cheerstoRabbie.

You may want to create a group toast, or get all of your employees/customers involved individually – the more the merrier! You can toast him at your Burns Supper with a classic Scotch, a wee skirl of the pipes or a twirl on the dance floor. Or you can do your #cheerstoRabbie from anywhere that takes your fancy.

Join us in raising a glass to the lassies, your family, your friends, and, of course, the big man himself because wha’s like him.

January 18, 2018

Publishing Scotland Annual Trade Conference: 22 February 2018

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

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

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

 

 

January 17, 2018

Beyond Burns: 22 February 2018

Poetry and talks on Dumfriesshire and Galloway past and present, featuring award-winning poets Hugh McMillan, Liz Niven and Stuart A. Paterson, alongside British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Gerard McKeever.

This is a free event at The Stove in Dumfries on 22 February from 6.30-9.30pm.

Please RSVP for numbers to gerard.mckeever@glasgow.ac.uk

January 16, 2018

Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2018: Call for submissions

Applications are now invited from professional mid-career or established writers based in Scotland for the 2018 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship on the theme, Epic.

Deadline: 5pm on Tuesday 30 January 2018.

This Fellowship is open to playwrights, fiction writers, poets, librettists or lyricists to research, write and develop work for the stage that meets their creative ambition to work on a larger scale.

Hosted by Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland, in partnership with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, a professional writer will be given the opportunity to develop an original play, adaptation or new, scripted dramatic work for the stage, that is grand in scale.

For more information and details on how to apply, please visit Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland’s website here.

January 15, 2018