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.

THIS OPPORTUNITY IS NOW CLOSED.

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

Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers opens on Mon 26 Oct

The Hardship Fund is to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s for freelance professionals in Scotland whose work has direct creative outcomes. This can include (but is not limited to) a writer or maker of poetry, prose or fiction, a playwright, a visual artist, actor or theatre-maker, a comedian, dancer, musician, craft-maker or designer. You will derive a significant proportion of your income from your role in creating or producing original artistic, creative or design material.

  • The fund offers a one-off monetary contribution of between £500 – £2000
  • If you have specific access needs, you can request more than this
  • No deadlines – the fund will only stay open for as long as the funds are available with each of the delivery partners
  • Applicants must first register on the Creative Scotland online application portal which opens at noon on Mon 26 Oct 2020 on the Hardship Fund page
  • Then you will be directed to the funding delivery partner to complete your application
  • The Society of Authors is the delivery partner distributing £600k for Scotland’s writers, illustrators and translators.

For more info & guidance – https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/hardship-fund-for-creative-freelancers

October 23, 2020

Landmark survey on perceptions & experiences of Scotland’s BAME writers

In spring 2020, Scottish BAME Writers Network (SBWN) partnered with EDI Scotland to gather the perceptions and experiences of BAME writers in and from Scotland. This survey aimed to assess gaps, absences, and barriers to participation in Scotland’s literary sector, and to help SBWN plan inclusive programming during their pilot programme and beyond. Following SBWN’s Call to Action to the literary sector in June, the SBWN survey results further highlight the need for lasting change.

Key findings from respondents include:

  • 62.5% felt that their ethnic identity or race had been a barrier to success in Scotland’s literary sector (within the past 12 months).
  • 26.7% had experienced a racist incident at a literary event or activity in the past 12 months.
  • 68.8% disagreed or strongly disagreed that Scottish books, journals, and literary publications reflect the diversity of Scotland.
  • 71.9% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, ‘I am aware of the diversity of BAME writers that exist in Scotland’.
  • 84.8% overwhelmingly disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, ‘White Scottish audiences are aware of the diversity of BAME writers that exist in Scotland’.
  • 78.2% disagreed or strongly disagreed that BAME and white Scottish people have equal opportunities to succeed in Scotland’s literary sector.

Several respondents commented on the issues of organisations excluding local BAME artists, saying it risked a “systemic erasure of this history in Scotland” and “institutions and festivals do not pay enough attention to BAME artists from working-class communities in Scotland.”

For those who had experienced racist incidents and microaggressions at literary events, several respondents noted the failure of event chairs or facilitators to adequately address the situation when it occurred. Further comments highlighted the additional emotional labour often involved when performing or talking about their work.

Three respondents mentioned that literary opportunities were improving for BAME people. However, the results highlight there are still significant and systematic barriers in place.

The full survey report includes recommendations to the sector. Click here to read it. A few select responses are shown below.

  • Provide more developmental support to emerging BAME writers.
  • “Ensure a diversity of BAME writers, including local and working-class BAME writers, are represented through events and activities” and avoid recreating the “same cliques or gated spaces that BAME writers might experience in the wider literary sector”.
  • “Challenge views that suggest diversity and quality are incompatible.”
  • “Upskill literary event chairs and facilitators to challenge microaggressions, inappropriate questions and abuse directed at panellist and performers.”
  • “For white senior figures in Scotland’s literary sector, take responsibility to address inequalities in the literary sector and do not place this onus on BAME people.”

The survey results may be read in tandem with the recent Rethinking Diversity in Publishing report (The Bookseller, Goldsmiths, University of London, Spread the Word), also published this month.

Read the full report here. 

Information reproduced from the Scottish BAME Writers’ Network press release. 

July 9, 2020

Writers wanted for new LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

LAS is looking to appoint five published writers living and working in Scotland to sit on our new Writers’ Advisory Group.

Please note applications are now closed. 

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to further strengthen the advice to our Board from a diverse and inclusive writing community. More details about the Group’s purpose and role are below.

We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre and form, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability and religion – and their intersections – and we particularly encourage writers from under-represented groups to apply.

Members of the Advisory Group will be paid in line with the Live Literature Funding rate of £175 per session, plus travel expenses.

Please email your writing CV (2 pages maximum) and a short covering letter to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to be involved and outlining up to three of the main concerns and/ or opportunities that you would like the Advisory Group to address in no more than 200 words.

DEADLINE: midnight on Monday 27 May 2019.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

About LAS

Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) is a membership organisation committed to advancing the interests of Scotland’s literature and languages at home and abroad. We are Scotland’s largest literary network of more than 30 member organisations, bringing together writers, publishers, educators, librarians, literature organisations and national cultural bodies. LAS provides a collective voice for Scotland’s literature and languages, which are celebrated locally, nationally and internationally.

LAS was formed in spring 2015 as a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland, which was first set up in 2001, at the invitation of the then Literature Committee of the Scottish Arts Council. In 2006, following a review of its remit by the Scottish Arts Council, the Literature Forum was formally recognised as a national Advisory Council for Literature and acted in this capacity. In mid-2014, Literature Forum members decided to review the organisation’s future role and to consider how it should develop to become a stronger and more inclusive voice for literature and languages in Scotland and abroad, leading to the transition in spring 2015 to Literature Alliance Scotland and a period of development work from 2016-2018. In our exciting new two-year programme of work, Turning the Next Page: future proofing the sector to 2020 and beyond, we aim to raise the volume of the sector louder than ever before.

Our income comes from membership fees and we are funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. LAS became a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Institution (SCIO) in March 2016. Under our Constitution, we have a Board of Trustees elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting, headed by a Chair and two co-Vice-Chairs.

 

About the LAS Writers’ Advisory Group

Our Writers’ Advisory Group will enable a direct and formalised channel of communication between writers, our Board, and the LAS membership network, providing expert knowledge to help ensure that writers’ concerns are at the heart of the LAS mission and strategy and are reflected in our activities and advocacy work. The members of the Advisory Group will together represent the broader writing community and will perform an advocacy role on the key issues that affect writers.

With writer organisations already active in our membership, the aim is to enhance the advice from a diverse and inclusive writing community to our Board. We want the Advisory Group to reflect Scottish literature in its diversity of language, genre and form, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability and religion – and their intersections – and we particularly encourage writers from under-represented groups to apply. We reserve the right to supplement the shortlist with invited candidates.

The Advisory Group will meet twice a year, likely in the summer and the winter, of 2019 and 2020 where you will work in collaboration with Jenny Kumar, LAS’ Communications Officer, to discuss key issues and share your advice and recommendations that will help shape our activities.

Each member of the Advisory Group will be paid the Live Literature Funding recommended rate of £175 per session, plus travel expenses, and covering reasonable expenses, to be discussed.

The first meeting of this newly formed Writers’ Advisory Group will take place on Wednesday 26 June 2019, 2pm-3.30pm at Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR.

 

How to apply

Please email your writing CV (2 pages maximum) and a short letter addressed to LAS Chair Peggy Hughes via admin@literaturealliancescotland.co.uk telling us why you’d like to be involved and outlining up to three of the main concerns and/ or opportunities that you would like the Advisory Group to address in no more than 200 words.

DEADLINE: midnight on Monday 27 May 2019

First meeting: Wednesday 26 June 2019, 2pm-3.30pm at Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR.

 

 

 

April 26, 2019

Jessie Kesson Fellowship: apply by 19 Oct

Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre is inviting established writers to apply for the Jessie Kesson Fellowship in 2019. This award was established in 2009 by Moniack Mhor to honour Jessie Kesson’s inspirational life and work.

The successful candidate will receive time and space to develop their work, as well as opportunities to expand their practice. This includes a stipend of £350 per week, plus accommodation. The successful applicant will:

  • Live on-site in the cottage at Moniack Mhor from Monday March 4thto 26th, 2019.
  • Have the opportunity to deliver three or four creative writing workshops based on or inspired by Jessie Kesson’s life and work in local schools, libraries or community centres.
  • Take a role in hosting a public evening event in the form of a reading or lecture.
  • Have the option to contribute one piece of work to Moniack Mhor at the end of the residency.

The final terms of the Fellowship will be agreed by the successful candidate and Moniack Mhor.

Apply by 12noon on Friday 19 October 2018.

Eligibility
The fellowship is open to established writers (fiction and non-fiction). To be eligible for the fellowship applicants must have published at least one novel, one short story collection, one poetry pamphlet or had one professional production of their work staged. It is also essential that applicants have experience of delivering workshops or working with children and young people and/or community groups. The Fellowship is open to UK based writers and international writers. Only travel costs within the UK will be covered by the Fellowship.

Application
Please apply by sending:

  • A CV which includes previous experience of work with young people and/or community groups
  • A covering letter demonstrating your qualifications for the fellowship and how it would benefit you
  • A sample of your work (maximum 2000 words, or 6 poems, doubled spaced and single sided)

Applications should be sent by 12 noon on Friday 19 October 2018 via email to: residencies@moniackmhor.org.uk with the subject line Jessie Kesson Fellowship or by post to Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre, Teavarran, Kiltarlity, IV4 7HT.

Interviews will be held week commencing 19 November 2018 at Moniack Mhor Writers’ Centre or by skype.

For any enquiries relating to the fellowship please contact Eilidh Smith, Programme Manager eilidh@moniackmhor.org.uk  or telephone 01463 741 675.

September 12, 2018

This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event

Author Louise Welsh, poet William Letford (l) and Francis Bickmore of Canongate Books.

Best-selling author Louise Welsh and award-winning poet William Letford are set to headline an inaugural literary cabaret taking place this month, which shines a light on the nation’s literary scene in 2017.

The fast-paced, 90-minute show – called This Is It! –  will highlight the year’s literary happenings across five strands – publishing, book festivals, school and public libraries, writers, and the international perspective.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will open this first public event from Literature Alliance Scotland (LAS) – the nation’s largest network of literature and languages organisations – on Wednesday 23 November from 7pm at Central Hall, Edinburgh.

Speakers include, respectively, Canongate Books’ Publishing Director Francis Bickmore, Adrian Turpin, Artistic Director of Wigtown Book Festival, and Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of Scottish Libraries Information Council (SLIC).

Poet William Letford, who hails from Stirling, will cover writer development and perform a reading of his poem This Is It from which the event takes its name.

Closing the show will be Glasgow-based author, Louise Welsh, who will speak about Scotland’s books and literature on the international stage as well as the importance of literary exchange between nations.

In addition, attendees will be able to browse and buy books from Scotland’s writers and publishers courtesy of Blackwell’s Bookshop, Edinburgh while librarians from South Lanarkshire’s digital library programme ‘ACTIVEe’ will be on hand to demonstrate 3D printers which are now available in all of Scotland’s public libraries.

Peggy Hughes, Chair of LAS said:

“With over 40 book festivals a year, ambitious new publishing houses such as 404ink emerging, stalwarts such as Birlinn celebrating 25 years, another Man Booker shortlisting for Ali Smith, Muriel Spark’s centenary on the horizon, not to mention the many, many Scottish books and authors that are going into the world every day and taking our stories and voices with them, it seemed high time that we take a moment to celebrate the wealth of our literature sector and shout about its cultural and social value.”

“At a time when Scotland’s Culture Strategy is being developed, it’s vital that we champion our sector and all the talented people working within and for it. Our literary cabaret is a chance for everyone with an interest in Scotland’s literature and book community to gather together and say, ‘This is it, this is a snapshot of what’s been happening this year’. It’s about carving out a space to celebrate the wonderful success, highlight the exciting potential and address the challenges. That’s why we’re so delighted that Fiona Hyslop is officially opening the event and giving this rich and vibrant sector the recognition it deserves.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scotland’s distinguished literary culture is a notable part of our national identity. It also attracts visitors to Scotland and raises our cultural profile around the world.

“I am pleased that the Literature Alliance Scotland is extending its reach beyond its membership of key individuals and agencies which promote writers and publishers to engage with the public.

“We are doing all we can to support the literary sector to ensure this rich legacy is maintained and strengthened in future years. We do this through for example our support for Creative Scotland, literacy, libraries, festivals, Book Week Scotland, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and the post of Makar.”

Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said:

“We have a unique, distinctive and rich cultural asset in literature that not only makes an enormous impact to people’s lives in Scotland but also enhances our reputation internationally.  From poets to storytellers, screenwriters and playwrights the quantity and quality of writing being published here is truly inspiring. This is It! and Literature Alliance Scotland creates an important opportunity to bring together authors, publishers, libraries, festivals and literary organisations, and champion the work being done to make literature more visible to a greater number of people. We look forward to continuing this work with Scottish Government, partner agencies and individuals to create the best conditions to support a thriving literature and publishing sector in Scotland and internationally.”

This Is It! is hosted by Siân Bevan and tickets are £7 /£6 – https://this-is-it-literary-cabaret-2017.eventbrite.com/

-Ends-

Issued by JK Consultancy on behalf of Literature Alliance Scotland. For further information, please contact LAS Communications Officer Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com

Notes to Editor

Literature Alliance Scotland, a membership organisation, represents the principal literature and languages organisations in Scotland, and is committed to advancing their interests at home and abroad. We exist to provide a strong, trusted collective voice on their behalf. Formed in Spring 2015, LAS is a successor to the Literature Forum for Scotland. For further information visit www.literaturealliancescotland.co.uk or follow us on Twitter: @LitScotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland, please visit www.creativescotland.com Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

November 6, 2017
This is it! Scotland’s literary talent in the spotlight at cabaret event