Online Literature Resources
To help keep you inspired while you’re at home or easing back to work, we regularly update this list of the free online content and resources on offer from the literature, languages and publishing sector in Scotland (and beyond). We start with our Members’ digital offerings and then list content by category.
Tell us about other virtual delights to include by emailing Jenny on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS):
- Free online scholarly content temporarily available for free online, in association with Project Muse, including current and back issues of Scottish Literary Review, along with titles in their International Companions and Occasional Papers series.
- Read articles and essays, conference papers and other material on Scottish literature and language on their website
- Download free ebooks including short stories by Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, James Hogg, James Robertson, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
- ASLS’ YouTube Channel hosts talks on Scottish literature and language, past and present, from their annual Schools Conferences.
BooksfromScotland (from Publishing Scotland):
- Continuing to create their monthly online issues of the best of Scottish books.
- Sign up to their weekly Literary Lockdown e-newsletters, sharing brilliant work from Scotland’s writers and publishers.
- Explore their archive issues and read the standalone features on the website.
Share your book reviews to give people reading suggestions while they’re at home. Submit your book review(s) and they’ll be shared on the website and social media.
Edinburgh City of Literature Trust:
- Edinburgh Literary Events Calendar: #EdLitEvents is an overview of online events – book readings, live performances, literary festivals, and all sorts of bookish and spoken-word activity in Edinburgh.
- Edinburgh Literary Spotlight: commissioned pieces – in the form of live videos, online interviews and Q&As via Zoom and much more – from Edinburgh’s literary creatives on how they’re approaching their work and life during these new and uncertain times. Released fortnightly on Thursdays using #EdLitSpotlight on Edinburgh City of Literature’s social media channels and website.
Edinburgh International Book Festival:
- A collection of audio and video, writing, and photographs from EIBF on their look and listen page.
- Their learning site also includes tips, videos and ideas for pupils, teachers and education professionals, along with information on EIBF’s educational events.
Gaelic Books Council (GBC):
- Free sessions of Leugh is Seinn le Linda on their YouTube channel. For 19 weeks during lockdown, Linda hosted virtual reading and singing workshops every Thursday morning at 10 am for children aged 0-5 and again at 10.30 am for children aged 5-8.
- GBC’s new, free eReader for Gaelic readers has stories in Gaelic for children, adults and learners of any age in partnership with Giglets Education. With more than 70 free eBooks it also has a bilingual interface that can switch between Gaelic and English.
- A series of new Gaelic poems: read or listen to newly commissioned poems from each of the performers due to take part in the cancelled live Gaelic poetry night at Crossways in May 2020.
- Mary Ann Kennedy read her Gaelic translation of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe every Tuesday at 2pm (from 21 Apr) on YouTube.
Literature Alliance Scotland:
- Read our Literature Talks series from commissioned writers Theresa Breslin, Chitra Ramaswamy and Jenni Fagan.
- Catch up with or re-watch video talks from Francis Bickmore, William Letford, Adrian Turpin, Pamela Tulloch and Louise Welsh, at our This Is It! Literary Cabaret.
Moniack Mhor Writing Centre:
- The Moniack Mhor Podcast: chats with tutors from the Creative Writing Centre’s courses.
- Life in the Times of Coronavirus blog: the Centre’s writing group, led by writer Cynthia Rogerson, met remotely during lockdown. Read their pieces inspired by the situation.
- Moniack Mhor Tea Break: A new series (starting in July 2020) of online live and pre-recorded talks with leading writers, each episode will focus on a different aspect of the writing process.
National Library of Scotland:
- Digital Resources: view free digitised items from their collections as well as thousands of maps online, access to books, journals, newspapers and databases, and films from the Moving Image Archive.
- Watch a selection of NLS’ previous events on the NLS Player
- New programme of free online talks by NLS curators, starting Tue 5 May
- The first of a series of family activities pages is now available, featuring stories, crafts, and things to make and do, all inspired by NLS’ collections.
Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust
Moat Brae launched a new podcast in June – 101 George Street – available on Spotify, focusing on Children’s Literature, Storytelling and Creative Learning.
Read the back catalogue of the Saltire Series with a new one available for download each Thursday from 2 July 2020. The Saltire Series invited individuals to spark fresh thinking, ignite debate and challenge our orthodoxies, through the publication of short commissioned essays.
Scottish Book Trust:
- Explore free book lists, resources for writers, Authors Live on Demand (videos), and learning resources on the website
- Access the Bookbug Song and Rhyme Library (or download the app)
- SBT’s Bookzilla App encourages early secondary school pupils to read for pleasure.
- #BBCAuthorsLive virtual watch-alongs: Tune into Authors Live events together from home and join the conversation using #BBCAuthorsLive on Twitter every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am (from 31 March for 6 weeks). SBT ask everyone to hit play and tweet the show as if it’s live. Viewers can post their questions for the author.
- Join their #ReadingLunch every Thursday (until 25 June) between 12-2 pm by sharing a photo of your book/food combo on social media with the hashtag.
Scottish Libraries and Information Council (SLIC):
- SLIC and Fun Palaces Scotland have created an online peer network and training group on Facebook to help cultural organisations connect during the Coronavirus pandemic. The first live session is on Tue 7 Apr, 11-12.30pm and runs weekly thereafter focusing on different themes. To take part, join the Culture and Wellbeing Community Group on Facebook.
- Digital Resources for Libraries: a comprehensive database of digital resources covering everything from Early Years development to Culture & Creativity.
PENning magazine: current and back issues of this biannual online journal presenting work by Scottish PEN’s member-writers alongside writing from people who now call Scotland their home.
Scottish Poetry Library:
- The SPL website hosts an online library of 3000+ poems and a wealth of podcasts
- Their Learning Resources page is full of teaching resources to help you study or teach poetry.
- Read the new blog series, Poetry on Lockdown, in which writers and SPL staff reflect on poems chosen from the website.
- From the Front Lines is a blog series from poets writing about what they have been doing since the lockdown began.
- Poetry in Quarantine: this blog brings news of and links to an array of interesting things we’ve found online
- Tuck Shop Tales: come and get your sweet delights of story, song and more every Tues at 11am on SSC’s Facebook
- The Story Kist: inclusive online story and song session from Sat 23 May to Sat 6 June.
Society of Authors
- Free access to a range of blogs, and interviews covering both the creative and business side of writing.
- Book launches: Starting on 15 Apr with Sally Magnusson talking about her new book ‘The Ninth Child.’ #WigtownWednesdays
- WBF book club started on 22 April and aims to recreate the classic book club experience online. #WigtownWednesdays
- The Bookshop Band weekly lockdown concert at 8pm on Friday on WBF’s Facebook page as co-host. The 21st and final event took place on 28 Aug.
- Wigtown Book Festival Podcast: looks at the world of books from the distinctive perspective of Scotland’s National Book Town and the people who love it. Started 28 Apr. Chaired by Peggy Hughes.
Glasgow Women’s Library
Every Wednesday between 12.30-1 pm GWL is sharing an online exhibition of work by a woman artist on social media.
Open the Door 2020: catch up with the digital festival which took place 18-22 May on Facebook.
Explore the GWL in this 8-bit style game developed by GWL placement student Paige.
Readers of Colour continues to meet on the last Wednesday of every month from 6pm -7.15pm via Zoom to discuss poetry, fiction, graphic novels, essays and narrative non-fiction by women and non-binary writers of colour. While what the group are reading might be at the heart of the conversation, often it’s a jumping-off point to discuss wider thoughts and ideas about the theme.
Open Book’s virtual home during lockdown includes a package of on-line shared reading and creative writing sessions, podcasts, a weekly newsletter including new writing from Jan Carson their Writer in Lockdown.
Articles and blog posts about children’s literature from Scotland’s Early Literature for Children Initiative based at The University of Edinburgh in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.
Scottish Book Trust has partnered with BookTrust, Authorfy and Coram Beanstalk to launch #UnitedByBooks, a new hashtag that helps parents and carers to find the great content authors and illustrators are sharing online. Search for #UnitedByBooks on social media.
Book Clubs and Groups
Hosted by Peirene Press in collaboration with Charco Press, Comma Press, Istros Books, Nordisk Books and Tilted Axis Press, this book club is held every Thursday at 8pm (from 26 March) via Zoom. Each week, a different press will take over to discuss one of their books. Follow on Twitter @borderlessbooks #borderlessbookclub
#CoReadingVirus Global Book Group
Rob Macfarlane led a Twitter read-along in April of The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd.
Bookshops & Booksellers
A regularly updated one-stop page on what your local bookshop in Scotland is doing during to serve their communities during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Bookseller’s series of weekly Twitter conversations (starting 31 Mar) with people caught up in the coronavirus crisis, helping to shed light on how the sector is responding professionally and emotionally to the UK lockdown. Questions can be posted using the hashtag ahead of time. Every Tuesday at 4pm on Twitter.
A virtual space from Edinburgh’s radical bookshop, offering author videos, interviews, reviews, blog pieces, bookseller chats, recommendations, & more! #LighthouseLifeRaft
Jacques: Master Thief by Chris Baldie Illustration
Gummy Wizard saga by Dominique Dee
The Life of Nill ~ A Tale by Candelight by Helen and Jamie Boyle
Elf Blood by Chris Manson
Smithers & Wing by Kirsty Hunter (Artist) and Heather Palmer (Writer). Weekly sneak preview page of this magical mystery every Wednesday from 3 July.
Sarararara: All American Girl by Olivia Hicks
While our Scottish libraries start to re-open you can still access their online service for eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks and eMusic using your library card. Visit your library service website.
Listen / Podcasts
For Glasgow Women’s Library’s 21st anniversary, 21 women writers read their commissioned work inspired by items and artefacts in GWL’s collections and talk about the inspiration behind each new piece.
A new podcast from Moat Brae, the National Centre for Children’s Literature in Dumfries.
Ian Rankin in conversation with Paul Blezard.
A place to share stories, spread calm and hopefully a little bit of joy in these dark, strange times.
Listen to a mixture of traditional, historical and humorous stories in Gaelic from some of the best storytellers in Scotland. Released monthly.
The podcast from Kirsty Logan and Heather Parry that lovingly dissects the best (and worst) of 90s teen horror.
Join spoken word artist and I Am Loud Creative Director Kevin Mclean as he chats with spoken word poets and others in the live literary field, focused on Scottish writers. Biweekly.
Chats with tutors from the Creative Writing Centre’s courses.
A new literary podcast hosted by author and broadcaster Theresa Talbot that celebrates the world’s best crime writing and storytelling. Weekly, starting Wed 1 Apr. #TTNS
Looking at the world of books from the distinctive perspective of Scotland’s National Book Town and the people who love it. Started 28 Apr. Chaired by Peggy Hughes.
A weekly Open Book discussion as a podcast.
Search for #Cateran100 on social media from the Cateran Ecomuseum which is creating a collection of 100 recorded poems online.
Search for #islandreadings on see and hear great island writers read their work. From online magazine The Island Review.
Search for #poetryreading on Twitter.
#ASonnetADay read by Sir Patrick Stewart on Twitter @SirPatStew
Makar To Makar: created and curated by Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay in collaboration with National Theatre of Scotland, this weekly online show mixes poetry, music and chat. Starting 14 May, events will stream every Thursday at 7-7.45pm on YouTube for 16 weeks.
The Sunday Post: For 16 weeks (from 22 March – 12 July 2020) the Sunday post published a new poem from Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, with the aim of providing solace and hope in these dark and uncertain times.
Pestilence Poems – Poems from the Back Room: poet Hugh McMillan brings together Scotland’s poets to perform their work on his blog.
Great selection of Gaelic audiobooks, many of which are free.
See their page of free resources, from reading guides to colouring-in sheets, their Young Editors Scheme to author videos. And they’ve launched a free digital pack of advice, information and resources to help parents, carers and educators to support dyslexic children while in lockdown.
Their Digital Zone is a fully interactive online resource for teachers and students.
Free school resources.
Free resources to help support your child’s learning at home while schools are closed.
Textbooks and resources for the Scottish Curriculum.
Indie Authors’ World
ISOWRIMO (isolation writing month) begins on 1 April on Facebook for a month of fun writing prompts, challenges and creative challenges for free.
Little Door Books
The Common Breath
Join Publishing Director Moira Forsyth on Twitter every Tues for #writersclub
A free new Scots language online resource for pupils, teachers and parents.
A round-up of online resources from Scots Language Centre.
The Tale o Tod Lapraik: Scots Hoose is delighted to offer this free download of Gary Welsh’s world-class artwork in this new graphic novel version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story of suspense and cruelty set in the Firth of Forth on the mysterious Bass Rock.
Free one-take stories of favourite folk tales for young and old from Tom Muir, the only native Orkney Island’s traditional storyteller on Orkneyology.com
Join Erin Farley from Dundee Libraries on YouTube for stories from Dundee’s past including sunken ships, fairies, smugglers & more!
A History of Scottish Literature with Billy Kay: available to re-watch on YouTube
Big Book Weekend: Watch on with MyVLF.com. Go to Theatre>Past Interviews/Festivals to watch this great Scotland contingency, listed on the site in the following order:
- A L Kennedy in conversation with Ailsa Cox
- Alexander McCall Smith
- Bernardine Evaristo with Mairi Kidd for Aye Write
- Jackie Kay, Adjoa Andoh and Isabel Greenberg with Cathy Newman
- Kate Williams in conversation with Jenni Calder
- Kia Abdullah and Abir Mukherjee
- Laura Lam and Temi Oh with Nicole Brandon and Charlotte Platt for Cymera Festival
- Maggie O’Farrell and Damian Barr.
Noteworthy: Writer Chris McQueer hosts this BBC Scotland documentary that explores the lives of some of the great Scots who have featured on Scottish banknotes. Watch on iPlayer.
Rebel Tongue: Discover the history of Scots with Alistair Heather. Watch on iPlayer.
Scotland: Contains Strong Language: Cora Bissett explores the history and culture of swearing in Scotland. Watch on iPlayer.
SBWN Live: At Home: Catch up with the first online reading event from Scottish BAME Writers’ Network.
Shelf Isolation: Damian Barr chats remotely with Mark Bonnar, Denise Mina, Greg Hemphill, Kirsty Wark and Alan Cumming about what they’re watching, reading and listening to during lockdown. Catch up on iPlayer. #ShelfIsolation
Bringing you some of Scotland’s best music, comedy and poetry every Saturday from 7.30pm live on Instagram to help support performers who have lost income through cancelled gigs.
Free reviews, podcasts and playlists celebrating Scottish books, music, theatre, opera, film etc.
Links to shows from Scottish Theatre and Dance collated by Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST).
#ScenesforSurvival brings 120+ Scottish theatre-makers together to share 40+ digital artworks, created in isolation. Launched on 27 May, the films are on BBC iPlayer and distributed by NTS’ social media platforms.
Enjoy the seasonal highlights of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and its three regional gardens in bloom from your home.
Free daily classes from Scottish Ballet livestreamed on Facebook for people living with Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and dementia, as well as Regenerate classes for people aged 60+ to exercise body and mind, but everyone is welcome to join in with any class. Monday to Friday at 11.30 am.
Twitter users take a picture of a view from their property and post it on social media using the hashtag #AWindowOnScotland and their location (i.e #Stirling, #Aberdeen, #Glasgow etc). The aim is to create a virtual vision of Scotland’s towns, villages and cities, reminding everyone of what is waiting across Scotland when travel restrictions are lifted.
Enjoy world-class theatre streamed for free on YouTube (from 2 Apr) while the National Theatre is closed.
- How to host a virtual book launch: written by Scottish Book Trust’s Lynsey May.
- How to start vlogging: A three-part video by Jean Menzies for Scottish Book Trust.
- Five tips on livestreaming: from Chamber Music Scotland via Creative Scotland.
- How to film with a phone: from National Theatre of Scotland incl framing, audio & focus.