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Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship 2018 open for applications

Published: 13 Nov 2017

Grez sur Loing

As part of the 2017 Robert Louis Stevenson Day celebrations, Scottish Book Trust is delighted to announce that the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship for professional writers is now open for applications.

Scotland-based writers, who would benefit from time away from their usual environment to develop their work, are encouraged to apply.

The Fellowship was initiated in 1994 by Franki Fewkes, a Scottish Robert Louis Stevenson enthusiast then living in France, and is supported by Creative Scotland. It provides residencies for four ‘Fellows’, for one month each, in a self-catering studio apartment at the Hôtel Chevillon International Arts Centre at Grez-sur-Loing in France. Travel and accommodation are paid for, and there is a grant of £300 per week to cover living expenses.

Grez-sur-Loing is situated at the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, and was chosen because of its connections with Robert Louis Stevenson who first visited in 1875. It was there, at the Hôtel Chevillon, that he met his future wife Fanny Osbourne. Stevenson found both the place, and its well-established community of writers and artists, highly attractive and he returned to Grez-sur-Loing for three successive summers.

The Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship offers essential support for writers, providing them with time and space to consider and create bold and exciting new work without distraction- Alan Bett, Creative Scotland

The Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship has helped sixty writers since its creation, and Scottish Book Trust has supported sixteen writers since taking over the fellowship in 2014. Works produced during the retreat include Janice Galloway’s award winning memoir, All About Me, and some of Michael Pedersen’s collection, Oyster.

Former Makar and poet Liz Lochhead, a 2017 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow, said: "I spent the first part of last summer at Grez-sur-Loing, in the fine, very foreign to me, French sunshine, living at the little apartment dedicated to RLS in the Hotel Chevillon. This was the site of a fairly new artists' commune back then in 1876 when Robert Louis Stevenson met his future wife, the older, married-and-not-yet divorced, American, Fanny Osbourne. Day in, day out, I drew and painted among the merry ghosts, or read about them in the many conflicting accounts of various biographers and tried to listen in and summon up in my imagination and put down on paper the voices of that time."

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for established writers to gain some time away in a beautiful location to focus on their writing. The roll call of Fellows is a prestigious list and shows the variety of work we have supported. In marking Robert Louis Stevenson Day, we hope many more Scotland-based writers will apply for the chance to write at this iconic and inspirational place, which had such an impact on his own life.”

Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “The Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship offers essential support for writers, providing them with time and space to consider and create bold and exciting new work without distraction. Creative Scotland is pleased to be able to support the initiative, born from a link with one of Scotland’s greatest and best-loved authors, and a part of the world he used as refuge and muse.”

For details of how to apply for the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, and for full eligibility criteria, please visit scottishbooktrust.com. The closing date for Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship 2018 applications is Wednesday 31 January 2018.

Five reasons to go on a writing retreat

  1. Escape the demands of everyday life
  2. Refresh your creativity with new experiences and new scenery
  3. Meet other artists and exchange ideas
  4. Remind yourself why you started writing in the first place
  5. Renew your enthusiasm for the art and process of writing

Notes to editors: For all media enquiries including photos of Fellows and the writing retreat, please contact Keara Donnachie on keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com or 0131 524 0184 / 07956 773 749.

About Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.

About RLS Day

Since 2011, Edinburgh has celebrated Robert Louis Stevenson’s birth on the 13 Nov. The joint efforts of Professor Linda Dryden at Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh City of Literature Trust have meant that every year the people of Edinburgh have been able to engage with RLS in a diverse range of ways in the city.

This year, RLS Day is being curated and run by the RLS Club, and a new website has been set up to provide those interested in getting involved with more information.

About Robert Louis Stevenson

Born at 8 Howard Place on 13 November 1850, Robert Louis Stevenson is one of Edinburgh’s great writers. He spent much of his life in his native city of Edinburgh whose striking setting and distinctively split character –half ordered, Neo-classical avenues, half shadowed, medieval wynds – inspired many of his best-loved works such as Treasure Island (1883), Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde (1886) and Kidnapped! (1886).

Stevenson was also a travel writer and essayist, and moved around the world extensively, eventually coming to a rest in Upolu, Samoa, where he died. He was nicknamed ‘Tuisitala’ or ‘Teller of Tales’ and is beloved in Samoa to this day. His Requiem is inscribed on his tomb on Mount Vaea.