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Creative Scotland's support for literature, languages and publishing

Creative Scotland's support for literature, languages and publishing

Here we share a short overview of our recent support for literature, languages and publishing...

Scotland has a long, distinctive and rich literary heritage and a contemporary energy that makes an enormous impact on our lives and resonates around the world. 

Literature in Scotland is highly regarded and highly accomplished. We know from independent research that books and reading are important to the people of Scotland with almost 70% of the population reading books for pleasure on a regular basis.

Creative Scotland's support for literature, languages and publishing is extensive through all of our main routes to funding: Regular, Open and Targeted.

In the last financial year, 2015-16, we awarded more than £4m to writers, poets, book festivals, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations to support their work in Scotland and internationally.

The Literature and Publishing Sector Review

In 2015 Creative Scotland published an independent review of Literature and Publishing. Its aim was to provide an up to date portrait of literature in Scotland, developed with writers, poets, storytellers, publishers and literary organisations.

The review aimed to capture key opportunities, challenges and needs from a variety of perspectives, such as writers, festivals, development organisations, readership development and publishers. It created a starting point that is encouraging debate and discussion that is informing how we support literature, languages and publishing. Along with the other art form sector reviews it will directly inform the Arts Strategy. The Arts Strategy will be published in early summer 2016 and it will set out our strategic approach to the arts, of which literature and publishing will be a part. The strategy will be based on a resolute understanding of the reach, relevance and the wide-ranging contribution that artists and the arts make to society and will set out how we plan to support that in the future.

The Review set out 38 recommendations and, while progress has been made against all of these, the following are current priorities:

  • Providing writers with advice on how to access support to write and publish work across a range of genres and formats.
  • Working in partnership with the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities and the Scottish Review of Books to develop a new training programme for literary critics.
  • Working with the Scottish Libraries Information Council to help book festivals and libraries to align their work.

Glasgow Women's Library 

Regular Funding

In our portfolio of Regularly Funded Organisations for 2015-18, we support a range of organisations that play a critical role in Scotland’s literary sector. These include:

  • The Scottish Book Trust, working to promote literature, reading and writing across Scotland through initiatives such as Book Week Scotland, the New Writers Awards and Book Bugs, aimed at younger readers.
  • Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre, provides a retreat in the Highlands where writers can enjoy the space and time to develop their work and find their voice.
  • Publishing Scotland and the Gaelic Book Council are both membership organisations supporting and representing the interests of Scottish writers and publishers in Scotland and internationally.

Other literary organisations supported through Regular Funding include the Glasgow Women’s Library, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and the Scottish Storytelling Centre (TRACS).

Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun 

Open Project Funding

In the past year, we have supported many writers and poets through Open Project Funding, a funding route that is designed to enable ideas to be both developed and brought to life.

Individual writers, poets and storytellers are also supported through the literary festivals, projects and organisations who received Open Project Funding in 2015-16.

Writers we have supported in 2015-16, either directly or through partner organisations, include Ewan Morrison, Merryn Glover, Malachy Tallack, Amy Liptrot and Peter Arnott amongst a host of others.

Literary organisations we have supported include the Saltire Society and their 80th anniversary programme of events and commissions; Neu! Reekie!; Word Power Arts and the Edinburgh Independent and Radical Book Fair; Northwords and the Scottish Review of Books for the platform they provide for writers, debate and literary criticism; and the Ullapool and Borders Books Festivals, just two examples of Scotland’s vibrant literary festival scene.

Open Project Funding has also provided support for a range of independent publishers throughout the year such as Freight, Birlinn, Floris, Black & White Publishing, and Sandstone Press, all of whom support writers to reach new and established readers.  

Dr. Gavin Wallace Fellow 2013-14 Kirsty Logan at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 

Targeted Funding

Support for writers and writing was also provided last year through several of our Targeted Funding routes. 

For example:

  • The Dr. Gavin Wallace Fellowship was established in 2014 in memory of our much missed colleague, who dedicated his entire professional life to helping writers and literature organisations in Scotland. The 2015-16 Fellow is Aonghas Phadraig Caimbeul, writer and poet, with the fellowship being hosted by the National Library of Scotland.
  • The Publishing Scotland Translation Fund encouraged and funded publishers outside the UK to translate works by Scottish contemporary writers with recent examples including James Robertson’s The Testament of Gideon Mack in Norwegian and Louise Welsh's A Lovely Way to Burn in German.
  • We also support Hamish MacDonald, who was announced as the first Scots Scriever in August 2015, in his two-year role producing creative writing in Scots and promoting use of the language through literature across Scotland. This complements other support we provide for writing in both Scots and Gaelic.
  • Young writers have also been supported over the past year through Scotland’s youth arts strategy, Time to Shine, and through the Nurturing Talent fund, delivered in partnership with Young Scot.

Creative Scotland is committed to supporting and developing literature and we will continue to work with the extensive, vibrant literature community in Scotland in the best interests of writing and writers.

This article was published on 21 Apr 2016