A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

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