A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

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’d like to get input from delegates and LAS Members on which 3 priorities to focus on as outcomes to develop for 2020. Please respond to the email from Jenny listing your top 3 areas and we will confirm the majority consensus.

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’d like to get input from delegates and LAS Members on which 3 priorities to focus on as outcomes to develop for 2020. Please respond to the email from Jenny listing your top 3 areas (from the headings in bold below) and we will confirm the majority consensus.

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

Meet our new Writers’ Advisory Group

We were stunned with the volume of strong applications to our ‘writers wanted’ call-out in May, receiving more than 30 applications for just five places for published writers living and working in Scotland.

With the aim of strengthening the advice to our Board from a diverse and inclusive writing community, the Board considered a number of factors to ensure a balance and mix of voices.

The Advisory Group will meet twice a year, in the summer and the winter of 2019 and 2020. Along with Comms Officer Jenny Kumar they will discuss key issues and provide their knowledge and advice to help make sure that writers’ concerns are at the heart of our mission and strategy and reflected in our activities and advocacy work.

We pay our Writers in line with the Live Literature Funding rate, plus travel expenses.

 

Meet Our Writers’ Advisory Group

Maisie Chan is a Birmingham-born author who lives in Glasgow. She writes for children, teens and sometimes adults and has been published by Penguin and Hachette. She has taught creative writing at Arvon and for Writing West Midlands. She is a mentor and runs the Glasgow Children’s Writers Group and Bubble Tea (a facebook group for East Asian writers in the UK).
@MaisieWrites
https://www.maisiechanwrites.com

 

Sylvia Hehir writes YA fiction from her home in the West Highlands of Scotland. She is an SBT New Writer awardee, and with her extensive experience of working in a variety of educational settings, and a doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow, Sylvia runs writing workshops for teenagers, adults and creative writing students.
@shehir853
https://sylviahehir.com

 

Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay is a native Gaelic speaker born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis who is based in Edinburgh. He is a poet, broadcaster, journalist and a Lecturer in Literature at the University of St Andrews. Peter has worked at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin; and at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he was writer in residence. He has also worked as a journalist and television news producer for the BBC.
@PadraigMacaoidh
http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poet/peter-mackay/

 

Heather Palmer is a Glasgow-based writer, proofreader and editor. She writes with a focus on folklore, nationalism and death. Heather is the first-ever comics winner of the SBT New Writers Award (2019) and has been shortlisted for Best Writer at the SICBA Awards in both 2017 and 2018. She has been published in We Shall Fight Until We Win, Scrieve! and Frisson’s Knock Knock.
@_HeatherAPalmer
https://heatherannepalmer.wordpress.com

 

Michael Lee Richardson is a writer, producer and community organiser from Glasgow. His short film, My Loneliness is Killing Me – directed by Tim Courtney – won a BAFTA Scotland Award (Best Short Film). Michael’s short story The Other Team appears in Stripes Publishing’s PROUD anthology, edited by Juno Dawson. With Ryan Vance, Michael ran the Queer Words Project Scotland and edited We Were Always Here for 404 Ink.
@HRFMichael
http://hrfmichael.co.uk

 

-Ends-

 

 

July 5, 2019

CS Open Project Funding for Literature – April & May 2019

In April 2019, an anthology of contemporary Scottish writing is among 42 projects to share £800,000 of Open Project Funding from Creative Scotland.

Canongate Books has received funding to produce Antlers of Water, the first ever anthology of contemporary Scottish writing on nature and the environment. Writers from across the country, who are committed to the conservation of natural world are being invited to contribute prose, poetry, photography and hybrid forms of writing.

The Nairn Book and Arts Festival has received funding towards this year’s event, enabling the Festival to develop its existing programme. It will offer talks and readings by well-established, nationally known authors, new writers and local writers, and simultaneously translated Gaelic language author events. In addition, this year, the Festival will feature drama, film visual arts exhibitions and creative workshops for people of all ages, and an outdoors open mic session for teens.

Read the full CS press release. 

May 2019

Scotland’s crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland is among the 40 projects that share over £700,000 of Open Project Funding in May 2019

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.”

Read the full CS press release.

June 27, 2019

Breaking New Ground: celebrating children’s writers & illustrators of colour

LAS’ co-Vice Chair Valentina Bold blogs about Breaking New Ground, an event celebrating children’s writers of colour with Faridah Àbíké-Íyímíde, Ken Wilson-Max, Sarwat Chadda and Emily Hughes.

More than 60 people, including writers of colour living and working in Scotland, and publishers, agents, teachers, librarians and industry professionals, joined us at Scottish Storytelling Centre on Tuesday 18 June to hear more about the writers’ work and why children from all backgrounds need to see each other in the books they read.

Breaking New Ground: celebrating children’s writers & illustrators of colour

It was an absolute pleasure, and a privilege, on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) to introduce Breaking New Ground: an exciting new initiative which deserves support and promotion. This was a night to remember, celebrating children’s writers and illustrators of colour, both through the publication and in person.

The event opened with a speech from Sharmilla Beezmohun of Speaking Volumes, who created this catalogue. She spoke movingly, and powerfully, about the organisation’s firm belief in “supporting diversity as much as possible”, and their desire to “create a different understanding of what Britain is about.” The book certainly does that. Four contributors spoke, compellingly, giving us a great deal to consider.

Debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímíde (above) enthralled us with a reading from her new YA novel Ace of Spades, out with Usborne in April 2020: “essentially Get Out meets Gossip Girl,” as she described it. Still a student at the University of Aberdeen, and from Croydon, she said: “I wanted to create something that was like a puzzle,” and the glimpses we had of the novel (one character memorably observes ‘they treat my black skin like a gun’) showed that, as promised, this book will “tell us what institutional racism looks like and how it affects us mentally.” This is a writer to watch out for.

In a last-minute change to the programme, we were delighted to hear from veteran illustrator and writer Ken Wilson-Max (above) who writes for younger children, and whose work is already familiar to audiences in Britain and the United States. Zimbabwean by birth, his stories allow children “to see themselves in a book, reflected back in something positive – for some people that hasn’t happened, ever.” He had the audience beating out heartbeats, to the rhythm of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, as he read his wonderful book The Drum, out loud. His new book, Astro Girl, contains powerful messages for children of colour and, particularly, for girls – a must-have for those with early readers to buy for.

On a different tack entirely, Sarwat Chadda (above) – who describes himself as ‘British-born, Muslim-raised, South-Asian descended’ – read from his Ash Mistry series, inspired by Indian mythology, and hugely entertaining – he made a powerful case for taking fantasy fiction beyond Tolkien: “I can add to that,” as he said. Other work includes City of the Plague God, exploring Mesopotamian mythology through the eyes of an American Muslim child, from an Iraqi family. Again, great reads – especially for younger teenage children.

The last speaker was hands-on — picture-book maker Emily Hughes (above) demonstrated how she explains drawing emotions to children. She talked, too, about her own inspirations: “fairy tales were some of the most important things when I was younger,” along with Japanese children’s literature and the art she saw in books like Taro Yashima’s Crow Boy. Her own work includes The Little Gardener and Wild.

The Q&As which punctuated the evening were just as fascinating, touching on issues including publishing, bookselling and writers of colour. Hughes said, of Breaking New Ground: “I hope it can get in the hands of publishers who don’t see it as a risk to publish people of colour.” Chadda added: “if you can’t pronounce a name on a book, it shouldn’t stop you from buying it.”

In a damning statistic quoted by Farrah Serroukh, of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, in Breaking New Ground, of 9115 children’s books published in the UK in 2017, only 4% featured a black, Asian or minority ethnic character. One hundred resounding voices, represented in this new book, offer an alternative future, to be appreciated and embraced.

 

This free event was a collaboration between Literature Alliance Scotland and Scottish Book Trust in partnership with Pop Up Projects, Speaking Volumes and BookTrust and is part of a national tour of Breaking New Ground. We’re also grateful to Lighthouse Bookshop who provided a pop-up bookshop.

 

June 26, 2019

RSL report – A Room of My Own

The Royal Society of Literature has revealed the findings of its latest report on what writers need to work today – A Room of My Own. Below is a summary.

The support a writer needs:

Ninety years after Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’, a room to write from and money are still important to sustaining a career in writing. However, peer support and emotional support are now seen as significant to more writers than financial support.

The support a writer receives:

The vast majority of writers do not earn the income that Virginia Woolf argued a writer needs £500 a year, equivalent to just over £30,000 in 2019. The majority of writer respondents earned below £10,000 from their writing in 2018.

  • 5% of writers earned over £30,000 from their writing in 2018

Only a small minority of writers are able to support themselves through their writing income alone. A writer is almost three times as likely to earn over £30,000 from work outside writing than in it.

  • 10% of writers do not have jobs or any other form of financial support beyond their writing
  • 5% of writers earn over £30,000 from writing; 14% earn the same outside writing

Writing is a career in which opportunities are currently far greater for those from privileged backgrounds. Pay gaps in relation to social class identity, gender identity, ethnicity and geographic region are greater in a writing career than in employment outside it.

  • Social class identity: 25% of all respondents identified as working class, but they make up only 11% of the highest earners from writing (earning over £30,000 from writing in 2018)
  • Ethnicity: 13% of all respondents identified as being from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, but are only 9% of the highest earners from writing
  • Gender: 72% of all respondents identified as female, but they made up 57% of the highest earners from writing; in comparison, respondents identifying as male made up 25% of overall respondents and 41% of those with the highest incomes from writing
  • Geographic region: 66% of the highest earners from writing lived in London or the South of England

Challenges:

  • 68% found a lack of financial income or expectation of it in the future a challenge to their early writing life.
  • 67% identified lack of time to write as a challenge.
  • 54% identified lack of confidence in their ability as a challenge.
  • 53% identified lack of information about financial support available to them as a challenge.

The words that sustain a writer:

Asked for the piece of advice that encourages them to pursue a career in writing, the most common were to persist through rejection, and that their voices are important.

June 20, 2019

The Big Scottish Book Club on BBC Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article is reproduced from the BBC Scotland press release. 

June 7, 2019

Writers wanted for new LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

LAS is looking to appoint five published writers living and working in Scotland to sit on our new Writers’ Advisory Group.

Please note applications are now closed. 

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to further strengthen the advice to our Board from a diverse and inclusive writing community. More details about the Group’s purpose and role are below.

We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre and form, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability and religion – and their intersections – and we particularly encourage writers from under-represented groups to apply.

Members of the Advisory Group will be paid in line with the Live Literature Funding rate of £175 per session, plus travel expenses.

Please email your writing CV (2 pages maximum) and a short covering letter to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to be involved and outlining up to three of the main concerns and/ or opportunities that you would like the Advisory Group to address in no more than 200 words.

DEADLINE: midnight on Monday 27 May 2019.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

About LAS

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of Scotland’s literature and languages at home and abroad. We are Scotland’s largest literary network of more than 30 member organisations, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies. LAS provides a collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages, which are celebrated locally, nationally and internationally.

LAS was formed in spring 2015 as a 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 and a period of development work from 2016-2018. In our exciting new two-year programme of work, Turning the Next Page: future proofing the sector to 2020 and beyond, we aim to raise the volume of the sector louder than ever before.

Our income comes from membership fees and we are funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. LAS became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Institution (SCIO) in March 2016. Under our Constitution, we have a Board of Trustees elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting, headed by a Chair and two co-Vice-Chairs.

 

About the LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

Our Writers’ Advisory Group will enable a direct and formalised channel of communication between writers, our Board, and the LAS membership network, providing expert knowledge to help ensure that writers’ concerns are at the heart of the LAS mission and strategy and are reflected in our activities and advocacy work. The members of the Advisory Group will together represent the broader writing community and will perform an advocacy role on the key issues that affect writers.

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to enhance the advice from a diverse and inclusive writing community to our Board. We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre and form, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability and religion – and their intersections – and we particularly encourage writers from under-represented groups to apply. We reserve the right to supplement the shortlist with invited candidates.

The Advisory Group will meet twice a year, likely in the summer and the winter, of 2019 and 2020 where you will work in collaboration with Jenny Kumar, LAS’ Communications Officer, to discuss key issues and share your advice and recommendations that will help shape our activities.

Each member of the Advisory Group will be paid the Live Literature Funding recommended rate of £175 per session, plus travel expenses, and covering reasonable expenses, to be discussed.

The first meeting of this newly formed Writers’ Advisory Group will take place on Wednesday 26 June 2019, 2pm-3.30pm at Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR.

 

How to apply

Please email your writing CV (2 pages maximum) and a short letter addressed to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to be involved and outlining up to three of the main concerns and/ or opportunities that you would like the Advisory Group to address in no more than 200 words.

DEADLINE: midnight on Monday 27 May 2019

First meeting: Wednesday 26 June 2019, 2pm-3.30pm at Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR.

 

 

 

April 26, 2019

Open Project Awards for Literature: March 2019

Scotland’s inaugural Cymera Festival of science-fiction, fantasy and horror writing joins 40 artists, dancers, choreographers, musicians, writers, theatre-makers, festivals and organisations to receive a share over £850,000 National Lottery funds in the latest round of Creative Scotland’s Open Project funding awards.

Congratulations to the following who received funding for Literature in March 2019:

The inaugural Cymera Festival of science-fiction, fantasy and horror writing which will take place from 7–9 June 2019 in Edinburgh.  Organiser, Ann Landmann anticipates that: Cymera will contribute towards breaking down the boundaries between genre writing and general fiction and highlight its literary merit.

One of Scotland’s leading Science Fiction writers, Ken MacLeod also commented “For Scotland to have its own festival of science fiction, fantasy and horror is long overdue. From classics to comics, the fantastic in Scottish literature has a storied history. Cymera lights a bright beacon for its future.”

Borders Book Festival also received funding towards this year’s festival which takes place from 13-16 June 2019.

April 25, 2019

James Tait Black Prize shortlists announced

An appealing mix of books illuminating themes such as gender, identity and race form the shortlist for the centenary awards of Britain’s longest-running literary prizes – the James Tait Black Prizes.

The four novels competing for the £10,000 fiction prize are:

Murmur by Will Eaves (CB Editions)

Sight by Jessie Greengrass (John Murray)

Crudo by Olivia Laing (Picador)

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Chatto & Windus).

The four biographies shortlisted for the £10,000 prize are:

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala (Two Roads)

In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum (Chatto & Windus)

The Life of Stuff: A Memoir about the Mess We Leave Behind by Susannah Walker (Doubleday)

The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library by Edward Wilson-Lee (William Collins).

The winners of both prizes – presented annually by the University of Edinburgh – will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. The centenary celebrations will be attended by some of the previous winning authors.

Read more information about the James Tait Black Prizes.

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2019

Author International Travel Fund opens

Scottish Books International has established the Author International Travel Fund to support writers who have been invited overseas to promote their work.

SBI works on behalf of the literature sector in Scotland and is dedicated to the international promotion of books, writers, festivals and organisations.

Applicants can apply for a maximum of £1000 to support travel costs towards their trip.

Applications are welcome from the writer themselves, or from the organisation who has invited the author.

The fund opens 1 April 2019. You can apply at any time throughout the year. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis while there is an available budget for the quarter.

The fund aims to:

  • Increase opportunities for Scottish writers to attend festivals and other promotional or exchange events overseas.
  • Remove barriers for Scottish writers from all backgrounds to take up these opportunities.
  • Develop relationships between Scottish writers and festivals, publishers and organisations overseas.

Find out about eligibility and how to apply for the Author International Travel Fund at Scottish Books International.

SBI is online via scottishbooksinternational.org and on Twitter @ScotBooksInt

 

April 1, 2019

Malachy Tallack longlisted for 2019 RSL Ondaatje Prize

Huge congratulations to author Malachy Tallack whose book The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate) has been longlisted amongst 20 titles for this year’s RLS Ondaatje Prize.

The annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.

This is the first time the RLS has announced a longlist – in celebration of the 15th year of the Prize.

Credit: rsliterature.org

The shortlist will be announced at an event on Tuesday 16 April with the winner announced on Monday 13 May.

March 28, 2019

Rebranded Wigtown Poetry Prize 2019 opens

The refreshed and rebranded International Poetry Prize is now open.

Wigtown Poetry Prize welcomes entries from poets writing in English wherever you live.

Separate categories celebrate the best of Scottish Gaelic and Scots language poetry, a special category acknowledges a rising talent in Dumfries & Galloway, and a new pamphlet prize is named in memory of Alastair Reid – local poet and one of Scotland’s foremost literary figures.

Based in Scotland’s National Book Town for over a decade, Wigtown Poetry Competition has become one of the UK’s best established writing prizes and a launchpad for many writers’ careers.

Deadline: Friday 7 June 2019.
A prize-giving will be held at Wigtown Book Festival in the autumn.

 

March 22, 2019

Scottish Writers’ Centre launches chapbooks

Scottish Writers Centre is launching a series of chapbooks and wants your unpublished submissions of poetry, prose-poetry and flash fiction.

Entries can be written in any of the languages of Scotland and can be standalone pieces or one work / a collection of flash/poetry to be serialised.

The chapbooks will celebrate Scotland and showcase the best of our contemporary writers and aim to reflect SWC’s commitment to Scottish writing and writers, from the islands to the border.

Successful submissions will be paid at a rate of £10, plus a copy of the chapbook.

The writer chosen for serialisation will be paid a total of £100, plus copies of each chapbook.

The first theme is Island and Sea.

Deadline: midnight on Tues 30 Apr for issue 1. 

Please see the Scottish Writers’ Centre website for more information and submission / eligibility guidelines.

 

 

 

 

March 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

For further information, please contact the STV press office:

Katie Martin
0141 3003109
katie.martin@stv.tv

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

March 20, 2019