A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Want to make connections? Sign up to Here’s a Haun!

Here’s a Haun is a pilot project that randomly pairs people working in the literature, languages and publishing sector to give them a helping hand in making connections and informally learning from one another, thereby building resilience and boosting health and wellbeing.


The randomised pairing aims to recreate the serendipitous connections we make by bumping into people in line for a cuppa at in-person events. It also avoids any notions of gatekeeping as there is no matching process.

This second phase of the pilot is open to literary freelancers and/or writers and people working at all levels in the literature, languages and publishing sector in Scotland, including LAS members.

If you’re a salaried employee, this is a voluntary opportunity.

If you’re a literary freelancer and/or a writer, it’s a paid opportunity at £10 per session (for up to three) and we have 34 paid places available.

Participants will be randomly paired to connect informally via Zoom (or another video call platform) or on the phone, for up to three sessions of 50 minutes each from mid Dec 2021 to end of Feb 2022.

How to apply

 If you’re interested in taking part, please apply using this Google Form before midnight on Mon 13 Dec 2021.

This opportunity is now closed

If for any reason you’re unable to complete the Google Form, please email Jenny on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk

The form includes questions on what you want to get out of the experience, as well as what you’ve been reading, watching and listening to.

If you’re randomly paired to take part in the pilot, these four responses will be shared with your paired participant as a helpful conversation prompt for your first meeting.

How it works

Google Forms automatically populates the information from your application form into a spreadsheet. Then we’ll draw lots like a raffle by writing each row number on a piece of paper, folding it up and putting them all in a bowl before drawing two at a time to pair participants.

We’ll notify each paired participant by emailing them an information sheet to share contact details and the responses to the four questions in the Google Form. Then it’s over to each pair to schedule their meetings dates (up to three) within the timeframe.

To get the most out of the project, we recommend that you chat for 50mins. This will give you each, separately, five minutes before you start to consider what you’d like to talk about and five minutes at the end to reflect on what was discussed.

We’d encourage you to make notes during this reflection time to help you complete a short feedback form, which we’ll send towards the end of Feb. The LAS Zoom account can be available for your meetings.

Please be mindful that:

  • The informal sessions are about having a conversation and creating a meaningful human connection by listening to and sharing your personal and/or professional experiences (as you see fit) in a respectful, honest and non-judgemental space
  • This is NOT a mentoring or a coaching programme, the meetings are not to fix people’s problems, nor are they an opportunity for writers to get editorial feedback
  • The pairings are randomised so there is no matching involved, therefore you may already know the person you’re paired with.
  • We suggest meeting up to three times over the timeframe, but it’s flexible if you end up meeting once or twice.
  • Meetings are confidential. If they’re held on Zoom or another video call platform, they should not be recorded
  • Once meetings are scheduled they must be kept, except in an emergency. Please respect each other’s time.
  • Some topics may not be open for discussion. We suggest you agree to use the word ‘veto’ as a safe word for any topics you’re not comfortable discussing. If your paired participant says ‘veto’ at any point during the conversation, you should immediately change the subject.
  • If you live close by to your paired participant and want to meet in-person (and if it is safe and in line with government guidance to do so) each participant is responsible for buying their own food and drink. We can, however, help with travel and other costs. See the Access Fund section below.
  • You can contact Jenny Kumar at any point if you feel that the pairing isn’t working, or that work/life commitments no longer allow them to continue. Please email Jenny on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk


Access Fund

We want to make this project as accessible as possible. To help ensure that writers and freelancers can take part in the project, we will fund up to three meetings at a rate of £10 per meeting. You’re eligible for this if the majority of your income comes from freelance work or writing.

Our Access Fund is open to all participants, and we can help you set up Zoom auto captions. Please add any accessibility requirements (for example captions, BSL interpretation, childcare and other caring or respite costs, and local travel costs) in the application form and Jenny will be in touch.




November 29, 2021

Introducing the Next Level 2021 Awardees

We’re thrilled to introduce the Next Level Awardees for 2021: Keira Brown and Heather McDaid.

Next Level is LAS’ 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 the literature, languages and publishing sector. The free Programme includes training, mentoring and facilitated industry connections tailored to each Awardee’s career goals. As both Awardees are freelancers, they will each receive a Living Wage stipend to cover their time participating in the Programme. This is supported by our funding from Creative Scotland.

Peggy Hughes, LAS Chair, said: “We’re thrilled to appoint Keira and Heather who both have the ambition to make positive change in the literature, languages and publishing sector. We’ve seen the impact that Next Level has had on awardees’ mindsets and driving forward their career goals and we can’t wait to work with Keira and Heather and see the positive outcomes from their journey. Both Awardees are freelancers and we appreciate how important this time and space is to allow for reflection on career development while having a dedicated support to take the steps towards future goals and aspirations.”

Keira Brown said: “I am excited to be chosen for the Next Level programme and to see what opportunities for development stem from the programme. Whilst working on Paisley Book Festival I have been keen to learn and grow in areas of accessibility, outreach and engagement, as it feels like a festival in which we can really expand and offer a great deal in these fields. As an industry freelancer, I am enormously grateful for the time and insight offered from others in the literature sector and look forward to the valuable knowledge and learning that will come from Next Level. It’s fantastic that Literature Alliance offer such a space for professional development.”

Heather McDaid said: I’m delighted to have been selected for the Next Level programme. As a freelancer, I have been able to work with a number of organisations I admire these last few years, and through my own publisher 404 Ink have been able to undertake a lot of work and projects on what matters most personally, including strides to demystify and make the publishing industry more accessible for those looking to enter it, as writers or behind the scenes. The opportunity to focus on these ideas and longer-term goals, and work towards making that a reality, is something I’m really excited about. I’ve found great support within Scotland’s thriving literature sector in my own career, and hope that as my work progresses, particularly with the amazing support of Literature Alliance Scotland now, I can continue to pay that forward for those to come.”


Keira Brown has an in depth understanding of the commercial side within the book trade and the long-term impact of book events. She has a local knowledge of the writing and spoken word scene in Scotland having co-produced Paisley Book Festival two years running. As well as the work she does for the literature sector she is also Editor of cultural review site, The Fountain, and Board Trustee for Scottish PEN.



Heather McDaid is an award-winning publisher and freelancer. She is currently co-founder of indie publisher 404 Ink, Books Editor at The Skinny magazine, and Events and Programme Support Officer at Publishing Scotland. Previous roles have included Coordinator of The Saltire Society’s virtual book festival #ScotLitFest, and Co-Chair of the Society of Young Publishers Scotland; she has worked in a freelance capacity with organisations including Scottish Book Trust, BHP Comics, Canongate, Girlguiding Scotland, and many more. She received the London Book Fair Trailblazers award for those ‘blazing a trail through their 20s’, was jointly awarded the Saltire Society Emerging Publisher of the Year, shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for the professional achievements and promise of women in publishing, and was named by Margaret Atwood as ‘a woman shaping the future’ based on her work within publishing.

June 14, 2021

Next Level 2021 now open for arts professionals

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

Apply to Next Level 2021 for 1:1 online mentoring, training & networking opportunities tailored to your career goals.

The Next Level Programme 2021 is a career development programme that aims to equip two arts professionals on the path to a senior position with the intended outcome of increasing diversity within our sector.

It’s designed for two arts professionals (sometimes called arts admin or literature professionals in roles such as Assistant, Coordinator, Officer, Executive, Manager) who are either employed by or work as a freelancer with an organisation in Scotland’s literature, languages and publishing sector.

The 2021 programme is for people with 4 to 6 years’ experience of working in the sector and who would not define themselves as working at senior management level. It includes up to 80 contact hours (10 days), delivered digitally due to Covid-19, over six months from May 2021.

We particularly welcome applications from candidates who are from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities and those who identify as working-class and/or disabled and their intersections.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Wed 12 May 2021.

The two Awardees will each receive:

  • 4 x 60-minute, one-to-one online mentoring sessions with an industry professional working in, for example, publishing, bookselling, programming, libraries
  • Training in presentation skills and how to make an impact (delivered virtually)
  • Conversations with industry professionals (via telephone/video call).

We’ll cover the costs of:

  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • A living wage stipend can be available where the successful applicant would not be paid for their time participating in the programme.

How to apply:

Download our application pack from the website and email the completed application form and nomination form to Jenny Kumar, LAS Projects & Comms Manager, on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk with a short covering letter by midnight on Wed 12 May 2021.

Informal interviews will be held on Zoom on Wed 19 May 2021.

Not sure if it’s for you? Email Jenny on admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk


April 14, 2021