A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

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

PS/EIBF: Scottish Books International Manager

Books, writing, publishing and festivals

Publishing Scotland (PS) in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) is seeking an exceptional Manager who can drive forward an innovative programme, developing the international ambition and impact of the books and literature sector in Scotland. The new role will be for a fixed-term contract of eighteen months with the potential to extend.

The successful applicant will be an excellent and persuasive communicator with significant experience of strategic development and partnership working. The Manager will join passionate and dynamic teams across the literature and books sector, committed to bringing the best of literature, writing, publishing and events to an international audience.

This role will include scoping and developing a strategic plan for international activity, identifying and developing opportunities for increased visibility, co-ordinating marketing work from the sector, identifying and implementing potential income sources, preparing funding applications, and building relationships with key partners here and overseas.

Job Title: Scottish Books International Manager

Reports to: Publishing Scotland CEO and steering group

Fee: £21,000 per annum (equivalent to £35,000 per annum, pro-rata to 3 days per week)

Working hours: 24 hours per week

Terms: Freelance 18 months’ fixed-term contract, with potential to extend

Location: Central Edinburgh at the offices of PS

Main purpose of role: Developing, co-ordinating and communicating a new joint service on behalf of the books and literature sector

 

Background

Following a Review of the Literature and Publishing sector undertaken by consultants on behalf of Creative Scotland, which recommended that “Creative Scotland and leading literature institutions and publishers convene a summit for laying the groundwork for a strategic and co-ordinated international presence”, a number of bodies in the sector, working closely with Literature Alliance Scotland, have decided to set up a post dedicated to the international promotion of books, writers, festivals and organisations. PS and EIBF have brought together a steering group, who will advise and oversee the service.

About the organisations

Publishing Scotland is the network, trade and development body for the book publishing sector in Scotland. Formed in 1974, it is a membership body with over 100 members, in two categories, publisher and network. It aims to support publishers and the wider sector on a national and international level.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival, a non-profit making organisation, is a distinctive international showcase celebrating the written word, literature and ideas. It brings around 950 leading and emerging international, British and Scottish authors and thinkers together each August to inspire each other and audiences in an extensive programme of over 900 public events for people of all ages.

 

Key duties and responsibilities

Work with partners on the development and delivery of a co-ordinated, international presence for Scottish writing, publishing, festivals and organisations, and more specifically –

  1. Develop a strategy for the Scottish book sector’s international profile, working closely with senior management of both host organisations and the steering group
  2. Research and develop new income streams and identify overseas partners opportunities
  3. Work with a range of partners, organisations and bodies in Scotland and overseas to enhance the current work being done in the sector
  4. Event delivery, including attendance and participation at national and international events
  5. Communicate, using a variety of methods, to raise the international profile of the sector
  6. Work closely with the teams of PS and EIBF to help ensure successful delivery of an overall programme
  7. Maintain records and produce reports indicating work in progress, planned work and reporting on the financial status of projects

Person specification

Successful candidates will possess the following:

  1. Considerable experience of strategic planning and development
  2. Demonstrable knowledge and passion for the literature or arts sector, including the Scottish literature and publishing scene
  3. Experience developing and maximizing international partnerships
  4. Significant experience of managing relationships with diverse stakeholders
  5. Experience of developing and delivering marketing activity
  6. Event management experience
  7. Experience of project/programme evaluation and reporting to stakeholders

 

Additional qualities will include:
  1. Influencing and negotiation skills
  2. Clear, confident and persuasive oral communication skills, including public presentation, and the ability to adapt to the needs of different audiences
  3. Clear, concise and persuasive written communication skills, able to adapt to needs of different stakeholders
  4. Commercial acumen
  5. Strong organizational skills

 

Terms and conditions

The post will have access to a desk at the central Edinburgh office of Publishing Scotland and the possibility of hot desking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival offices during the autumn and winter months. The role is offered as a freelance contract and the post holder will be fully responsible for their own tax including any National Insurance contributions.

Publishing Scotland and Edinburgh International Book Festival are committed to being as accessible as possible to customers, participants and staff. If you have any specific access requirements or concerns, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Edinburgh International Book Festival and Publishing Scotland are equal opportunities employers and Edinburgh International Book Festival is an Investor in People.

This job description is also available as a PDF document to download.

 

How to apply

Please send a copy of your CV and an application letter outlining your suitability for the post to marion.sinclair@publishingscotland.org. You may include any other information to support your application.

 

Closing date for applications: Thursday 12th July 2018

Interviews: Monday 30th July 2018

This post is supported by funding from Creative Scotland. 

June 26, 2018

Notes on Visions of the Future: Libraries @ Edinburgh International Book Festival

Sunday 27 August 2017, 7.30-9pm, Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Featuring: Julia Donaldson, Pete White, Dr Jenny Peachey, chair: David Chipakupaku

Format: short presentation by each guest, followed by group discussion, then audience questions.

Julia Donaldson, children’s author and Children’s Laureate 2011-2013

Read out two examples of letters from parents who use the libraries in different ways, including the difficulties in accessing ‘hubs’ – rather than smaller local libraries – for some parents. She had heard comments that some librarians didn’t dare speak out: “librarians are not allowed to say, ‘our libraries are doing well'”. Emphasised that although understandable some cuts need to be made in times of financial difficulty, it would be disastrous if buildings were sold and we couldn’t get them back.

Jenny Peachey, Senior Policy and Development Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

Shared stats from Carnegie Trust report ‘Shining a Light: The future of public libraries across the UK and Ireland.’ Showed that although library membership is doing well, frequency of use is down (from 2011-2016), and that there’s a value action gap (i.e.libraries are seen as crucial but are not necessarily being used). Issue of two very different user groups, who need two different messages. There’s an appetite for change amongst the public, including increased council services available in libraries, more events and more cafes). Increased range of books was not seen as a priority for many people. Potential improvements: digital offer, a more tailored offer, which recognises that it’s not a universal/broad service? Also: Create a workplace culture of innovation which empowers library staff and share learning across the jurisdictions, which all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Pete White, Chief Executive of Positive Prison

Pete talked about his experience in the prison system, including being allocated to work in the library during his sentence. Shared key stats including: 80% of prisoners are from the top 5% more impoverished areas. Two thirds of prisoners have a reading age of less than 11, two thirds have mental health issues and two thirds have issues with addiction. Each year 250,000 people have a court report written about them. The prison population remains about steady with approx 19,000 in and out each year. He explained how libraries are the “opportunity to take something forward”, emphasising that they are linked to communication as a whole. The average middle-class household will use around 32,000 words per day, whereas a family with two children and one parent with an addiction is likely to use around 600. “That’s a lot of missing words by the time they grow up”. He ended with “libraries are vital, simple as.”

Further discussion points and key quotations

– importance of recognising that it’s not patronising to teach reading or stories to adults

– discussion of important of libraries to people once released from prison – JP pointed out we could connect the dots.

– JP: Explained that something is being lost in communication, for example many people surveyed said they wanted to be able to reserve books online, which they already can. Also: think about the ‘why’ of libraries when spreading the message, and recognise it’s not a universal message.

– PW: Libraries could “step sideways from tradition” and become more fearless, with more involvement from young people. Can be intimidating to some people.

– JD: Libraries as a physical place v. important – vital role as a community centre.

– JP: “Libraries are the last free, safe, civic space we have.”

– Discussion of the social return on investment, e.g. training volunteers, which means they’re seen as people with the ability to contribute. Importance of quantifying long-term value and preventative spend, e.g. libraries save the NHS millions each year.

– Questions raised about who do we expect to invest in libraries? (US model of philanthropy mentioned). How can they generate money? How to change the social mindset about libraries?

Describe your dream library!

DC: Birmingham! But with all local services still intact.

JD: I love the variety, and how each one is so different.

JP: A library which is immediately welcoming and full of people

PW: Wee free libraries, available to all.

Points from audience discussion

  • Pamela Tulloch (CEO of Scottish Library and Information Council) pointed out that the situation in Scotland is not as dire as often portrayed: new libraries are opening around the country, and it’s important to celebrate the positives.
  • importance of communicating with your local library about what you want
  • use your library, and encourage others, to help the stats.
  • celebrate the diversity of library users, without judgment
  • make sure communicate the contemporary offer to those who don’t value their libraries.

Notes courtesy of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust.

 

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September 6, 2017