A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

Classic tales and Chinese poetry to be translated in Scots

Ten new books in Scots have been awarded funding by the Scots Language Publication Grant.

Now in its third year, the Scots Language Publication Grant was created by the Scots Language Resource Network to support Scots publishers and to encourage Scots writers. It is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing.

This year’s successful awardees include translations of well-loved stories such as Aesop’s Fables by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson, and Lemony Snicket by Thomas Clark. Brian Holton will also reimagine poetry of Li Bai and Du Fu (two of the most renowned poets of Ancient China) to new audiences.

Applications were assessed by a panel with expertise in Scots and publishing, including a representative of the Scots Language Centre, Scottish Book Trust and Waterstones.

The successful titles are:

  • A Series o Scunnersome Events, Book the First: The Boggin Beginnin (Itchy Coo) by Thomas Clark and illustrated by Brett Helquist
  • A Working Class State of Mind (Leamington Books) by Colin Burnett
  • Berries Fae Banes (Tippermuir) by Jim Macintosh
  • Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds: Li Bai an Du Fu in Scots (Taproot Press) by Brian Holton
  • Laird Graham an the Kelpie (Giglets Education) by Jax McGhee
  • Norlan Lichts (Rymour Books) by Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Lesley Benzie
  • Phantom the Ginger Mog (Wee Stoorie Press) by Kirsty Johnson and illustrated by Mandy Sinclair
  • The Day It Never Got Dark In Dundee (Rymour Books) by Ian Spring
  • The Itchy Coo Book o Aesop’s Fables in Scots (Itchy Coo) by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
  • Wheesht (Foggie Toddle Books) by Susi Briggs and illustrated by William Gorman

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.

Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The Scottish Government is pleased to continue to support the Scots Publication Grant for a third year. We have seen how this funding can develop talent while widening accessibility of a variety of genres, with titles both new and old, to the Scots speaking community. My congratulations to those who have been successful this year.”

Rhona Alcorn, CEO of Dictionaries of the Scots Language and Chair of The Scots Language Resource Network, said:

“The Scots Language Publication Grant plays a hugely important role in supporting Scots as a contemporary literary medium. This year’s winning titles illustrate the breadth of creative work in Scots today and truly include something for everyone.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Scottish Book Trust is pleased to offer Scots Publication Grants to these nine new titles. The diversity in genre and subject matter of the successful awardees is fascinating: from children’s stories to poetry; from classic tales we grew up with, to ancient Chinese poetry. Our thanks to the Scottish Government and the Scots Language Resource Network for making this grant possible.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For all press queries, please contact Keara Donnachie, PR & Marketing Manager:
keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com or 07956 773 749

Additional information:

  • A Series o Scunnersome Events, Book the First: The Boggin Beginnin (Itchy Coo) by Thomas Clark and illustrated by Brett Helquist

The Boggin Beginnin (The Bad Beginning) is the first in the hugely successful 13-book Lemony Snicket series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Dickensian parody and cynical tone of the narrator’s voice strike a real chord with many young readers, especially those who suspect ‘books for children’ of patronising them. The books are very dark and very funny, and of course they are already well known in their English editions, which has proved to be an excellent route for encouraging young readers to start reading in Scots.

This high-quality edition with fantastic illustrations by Brett Helquist is a brilliant addition to the Itchy Coo list. With its ironic Dickensian tone, the nature of the story is perfect for translation into Scots, which has a huge vocabulary for the clattie events and scunnersome characters that the book contains.

Itchy Coo said: “We are hugely delighted to be able to publish the amazing The Boggin Beginnin on the Itchy Coo list of translations. The unsettling macabre tone of the novel is a perfect match for a rich Scots vocabulary, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this addition.” 

Thomas Clark said: “I’m fair-trickit – a word which here means “absolutely delighted” – that The Boggin Beginnin is being supported into print by the Scots Publication Grant. The opportunity to make this fantastic book available to young people in their ain leid is a real dream come true.”

 

  • A Working Class State of Mind (Leamington Books) by Colin Burnett

Written entirely in East coast Scots A Working Class State of Mind, the debut book by Colin Burnett, brings the everyday reality and language of life in Scotland to the surface. Colin’s fiction takes themes in the social sciences and animates them in vivid ethnographic portrayals of what it means to be working class in Scotland today.

Delving into the tragic exploits of Aldo as well as his long time suffering best friends Dougie and Craig, the book follows these and other characters as they make their way in a city more divided along class lines than ever before.

Leamington Books said: “Scots and Doric have always been important to us, especially coming from a generation in which both were discouraged. We continue to work with writers of Scots and this is award is a great acknowledgement of that. We also welcome this award as it allows us as a new company to record an audio version of a book that is proving increasingly popular with the public, as well as compete on a more level basis with other publicly funded titles.”

Colin Burnett said: “I cannot thank the panel enough for awarding my debut book A Working Class State of Mind the Scots publication grant. I have developed a keen interest in promoting the Scots language through my work ever since I began writing creatively these past few years. Something that I was inspired to do through reading the works of James Kelman and Irvine Welsh. And through my brother Michael Burnett’s work, who is a Scottish playwright and who writes in Scots.

This is truly an exciting time for me and my publisher Leamington Books.”

 

  • Berries Fae Banes (Tippermuir) by Jim Macintosh

The book is a poetical translation of a book of poetry by Italian poet, scholar and musician Pino Mereu. Pino is the president of the Hamish Henderson folk club di Roma and a contributor to A Hame Wi’ Freedom: Essays on Hamish Henderson and the Scottish Folk Revival (2002). Alongside four volumes of published poetry, Pino has written numerous
articles on folk music. His Anzio Pipe Band (2012) has been translated into English by the poet Tom Hubbard, former librarian of the Scottish Poetry Library.

Tippermuir said: “We are delighted that Scottish Book Trust have once again put their faith in Tippermuir to produce new work in Scots. Berrie Fae Banes is not only new work, it is part of that carrying stream of the cultural contribution of Hamish Henderson.”

Jim Macintosh said: “Fair chuffed tae hae the honour o owersettin Pino’s fine words intae the Scots Leid. Aiblins noo the precious thrums o freendship between Hamish Henderson and Pino will grace the lugs o mair fowk.”

 

  • Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds: Li Bai an Du Fu in Scots (Taproot Press) by Brian Holton

The latest book by the Sarah Maguire Prize winning poet and translator Brian Holton, Hard Roads an Cauld Hairst Winds is a collection of Scots translations of poetry by Li Bai and Du Fu, two of the most renowned poets of Ancient China. By bringing two of the world’s great poets – from the oldest continuous literary tradition in the world – into the library of Scots writing, Brian Holton creates a text as valuable in its own way to the literary tradition as Lorimer’s wonderful New Testament in Scots.

Holton’s skilfully supple verse is composed in a literary Scots inflected by his local Borders dialect, giving rise to a natural phrasing that draws on his intimate knowledge of the Border Ballads. Complemented by a collaboration with Edinburgh-based calligrapher Chi Zhang, these finely wrought translations create a strikingly beautiful book – inclusive of introductory essays on the poets, notes on the texts, and a reflective postscript.

Taproot Press said: “It’s a real privilege to be awarded a Scots Language Publication Grant, which will allow us to create a beautiful book befitting of Brian’s poetry. With extra

calligraphy from the exceptional Chi Zhang, we can now make Hard Roads into a real collector’s item worthy of any bookshelf.”

Brian Holton said: “I am delighted that Taproot Press has been awarded a Scots Publication grant. All such support turns public attention to this ancient and beautiful language, which helps give Scots speakers still greater confidence in the active use of the Mither Tongue, in both speech and writing.”

  • Laird Graham an the Kelpie (Giglets Education) by Jax McGhee

This is a new addition to the Giglets library – an online literacy resource used by thousands of teachers and pupils to share texts and activities that pupils love to work on in school or at home. Laird Graham an the Kelpie is a translation of a story based on an old Scottish legend about the cruel and miserly Laird Graham of Morphie and how he caught a kelpie (water horse) from the loch and made it build a castle for him.

Awareness of, and interest in, legends about kelpies has increased since the development of the Kelpies in Falkirk. Within Giglets, Scottish legends are well-liked by teachers and pupils in schools across the UK. Almost 2,000 pupils have access to this story in English at the moment, and the Scots translation will allow many pupils to tackle Scots prose in an accessible way.

 Giglets Education said: “We’re delighted to have received this grant support from Scottish Book Trust which will enable us to publish our ninth book in Scots. We hope that this project can serve as a catalyst for more to follow as we grow and develop our library of texts to support children in Scottish classrooms and beyond. Thank you to Scottish Book Trust for making this opportunity available and we look forward to working with them going forward.”

Jax McGhee said: “I’m thrilled that we have received the Scots Publication Grant from Scottish Book Trust to support the publication of Laird Graham an the Kelpie. It promises to be a colourful and engaging retelling of a Scottish legend. I hope teachers, pupils and parents across Scotland enjoy the story.”

 

  • Norlan Lichts (Rymour Books) by Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Lesley Benzie

A selection of new poems by three of the most prominent writers from the North-east writing in Scots today. All written in North-east Scots or ‘Doric’.

Rymour Books said: “We have championed the traditional Scots of the North-east through neglected authors, folk song and, in this case, active contemporary authors writing in their native Scots, and are delighted to receive this grant.”

Sheena Blackhall, Sheila Templeton and Lesley Benzie said:

“We are extremely pleased to receive this support which rewards our new work in the Scots of the North-east and hope that our work will encourage others to write in their local tongue.”

 

  • Phantom the Ginger Mog (Wee Stoorie Press) by Kirsty Johnson and illustrated by Mandy Sinclair

A series of rhyming, picture story books for children ages 4 to 7, written in Scots.  Each book will include glossary of Scots words and phrases. The stories are full of fun, based around
season, nature, the supernatural, and are all brought to life by beautiful, vibrant illustrations. We are also producing audio books for this series, incorporating original music composed specifically for each individual book, and aim to create a uniquely Scottish, sound picture, story book.

Wee Stoorie Press said: “To say we are absolutely delighted to receive this grant, is a huge understatement. This grant gives us, Kirsty Johnson and Mandy Sinclair, of Wee Stoorie Pess, the opportunity to offer our work to very important people – bairns.”

 

  • The Day It Never Got Dark In Dundee (Rymour Books) by Ian Spring

The work is a collection of short fictions written entirely in Glaswegian Scots. There is humour, but the author also deals with issues of poverty, violence, sectarianism, etc set in the background of working-class Glasgow over the last 50 years.

Rymour Books said: “We have championed the Scots language and we are delighted to have received a generous grant towards the publication of The Day It Never Got Dark In Dundee, written entirely in Glaswegian Scots.

Ian Spring said: “‘I’m chuffed at receiving a Scots publication grant for my collection of short stories written in Glaswegian. Ya dancer!”

 

  • The Itchy Coo Book o Aesop’s Fables in Scots (Itchy Coo) by Matthew Fitt and James Robertson, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

The Itchy Coo Book of Aesop’s Fables in Scots is a translation of the Orchard edition, published by Hachette in 2004. Presented in a highly durable, quality production, featuring glowing illustrations from Emma Chichester Clark, and translated from Michael Morpurgo’s lively retellings, these classic fables will now be published in Scots for the first time, translated by a select group of well-known Scottish writers.

One of Itchy Coo’s long-term aims is to embed reading in Scots for pleasure into the reading habits of a large section of the population. Itchy Coo’s foundation was based on the premise that there was a great but neglected demand for quality prose and poetry in Scots for young readers. To help meet this demand, we are building a small Scots library of classic children’s literature that can sit comfortably and permanently on any bookshelf, to be read by children themselves or shared with parents, teachers, librarians and others.

Itchy Coo said: “We are incredibly delighted to be able to continue publishing classic children’s literature in Scots. Aesop’s Fables are not only highly entertaining but also provide important life lessons, and we are thrilled that we can now add them to the Itchy Coo list.”

Matthew Fitt and James Robertson said: “Aesop’s fables, ower the centuries translatit fae the original Greek intae hunners o ither leids, belang tae the warld. And noo wi this excitin
new translation, they’ll belang tae oor wunnerfu Scots speakin bairns and weans and awbody wi a love o readin great stories in Scots.”

 

  • Wheesht (Foggie Toddle Books) by Susi Briggs and illustrated by William Gorman

Wheesht is a picture book by Susi Briggs. It’s a story about a dog who loves to sing but who has been sent outside to the garden by his family who don’t always appreciate the noise. They’ve told him to “Haud yer wheesht” but he has no idea what this means and asks other animals if they know. In the end he works it out for himself!

Foggie Toddle Books said: “I am absolutely delighted to be receiving the Scots Publication Grant as it enables my new company, Foggie Toddle Books to work with the wonderful Scots writer and storyteller Susi Briggs and talented illustrator William Gorman.”

Susi Briggs said: “I’m ower the muin tae get an opportunity tae see anither yin o my Scots stories fer weans published. I am looking forrit tae working wi Foggie Toddle Books and seeing the character Shug the Dug come tae life in the talented hands o illustrator Will Gorman. Wheesht was a joy tae scrieve and I’m delichted wi the award.”

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
  • Dictionaries of the Scottish Language
  • Education Scotland
  • Glasgow Women’s Library
  • Hands up for Trad
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Literature Alliance Scotland
  • National Library of Scotland
  • Oor Vyce
  • Publishing Scotland
  • Scots Hoose
  • Scots Language Centre
  • Scots Language Society/Scots Leid Associe
  • Scots Radio
  • Scottish Book Trust
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Poetry Library
  • SQA
  • Ulster Scots Agency
  • University of Glasgow
  • Wigtown Book Festival
August 4, 2021

Urgent Children’s Book Appeal

Scottish Book Trust (SBT) has launched an urgent #ChildrensBookAppeal asking the public to donate to help them give books to children and vulnerable families.

At least 13,000 children and families in Scotland have no books at home or access to books at this challenging time. With nurseries, schools and libraries closed, this situation is bleak for many and unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

From scottishbooktrust.com

Books fire their imaginations and provide a place to escape from challenging circumstances. Reading together helps families bond. Books are also crucial to children’s learning, and reading for fun supports development across all school subjects.

Without books, these children and families are missing out.

SBT is working with local authorities across Scotland, and other charities, including Social Bite and Cyrenians, in a bid to reach as many children and families in need as possible.

They have books, notepads, pencils and learning resources in their warehouse but need your urgent support to help distribute them to those who need them most.

Please support the appeal if you can, by making a donation.

£5 will ensure that a child in Scotland receives books and fun reading and writing activities. And an existing supporter of Scottish Book Trust has pledged to double every single pound you donate up to a total of £10,000.

How to donate:

 JustGiving

OR

Simply text BOOKS to 70460 to donate £5 and opt-in to hear more from SBT. Text BOOKSNOINFO to 70460 donate £5 only. Cost of text: £5 donation + a standard rate message.

Reproduced from the Scottish Book Trust’s website.

April 30, 2020

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

Call for book gifters for Book Week Scotland

Scottish Book Trust is looking for organisations to help them gift free copies of an exclusive book across Scotland during Book Week Scotland (19-15 Nov 2018).

 The book is filled with stories written by members of the public, on a particular theme. This year’s theme is Rebel. The collection of stories represents the variety of rebellion across Scotland. From standing up to a teacher for the first time or campaigning against a local library’s closure, these stories highlight how important rebellion, big and small, is to our everyday lives. It also contains commissioned pieces from well-known authors including Anna Stewart and Professor Sue Black.

Order your free copies here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YQPTGHL
The book is suitable for ages 14+ as it contains some strong language and mature content. The minimum order is 25 copies.

Book Week Scotland is an annual week-long celebration of books and reading, run by Scottish Book Trust. This year, it will take place from Monday 19th – Sunday 25th November with a packed programme of events and activities planned throughout the country.

September 19, 2018