Our website uses cookies. See our cookies page for information about them and how you can remove or block them. Click here to opt in to our cookies

Scottish Books International’s new fund books its first writers

Published: 07 Feb 2020

A woman sits in front of an audience doing a reading from a book

Image: Chrys Salt at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival. Photo credit: Richard Macfarlane.

18 Scottish writers have been awarded grants to promote Scottish writing and culture worldwide by the Author International Travel Fund, a cornerstone pilot initiative of new international promotion service, Scottish Books International.

Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland said:

“It is increasingly important for authors and poets to take their work to international readers. The Author International Travel Fund has put Scottish writers in front of live audiences at festivals and events from Dublin to Australia, allowing their books to be read and discussed while opening up a variety of professional opportunities. Crucially, the Fund helps to remove the financial barriers in the way of writers from all backgrounds being able to exchange ideas and share their work more widely across the globe.”

Scottish Books International began life late November 2018 as a scoping project supported by Publishing Scotland, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Creative Scotland to create a key point of contact for the Scottish sector, one acting as a connecting force for Scottish literature overseas.

Marion Sinclair of Publishing Scotland said:

“Scottish Books International is in its first year and aims to bring together all parts of the literary/book ecology in Scotland for the overseas promotion of Scottish writing, publishing and festivals. Through activities such as the Author Fund and the linkages with our other international activities and organisations, it is more vital than ever that we engage in a co-ordinated way to highlight and showcase the work of the sector.”

SBI launched internationally last year at the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair, celebrating its primary purpose: to support the development of international links for Scotland’s writers, festivals, publishers and organisations in other territories.

The Author International Travel Fund was set up as a grants scheme supporting authors invited to festivals and events overseas to promote their work. Aiding the facilitation of cultural exchange, the fund aims to:

  • Increase opportunities for Scottish writers to attend festivals and other promotion or exchange events overseas.
  • To remove barriers for Scottish writers from all backgrounds to take up these opportunities.
  • To develop relationships between Scottish writers and festivals, publishers and organisations overseas.

In its first year of operation the fund has supported 18 Scottish writers and Scottish Books International is looking forward to growing this support in the coming year. The panel is drawn from Creative Scotland and the Edinburgh International Book Festival as well as the SBI manager.

Chrys Salt MBE, Writer and recipient of the award, said:

“I can’t thank the SBI enough for last year’s award from the Author International Travel Fund enabling me to accept the prestigious invitation to be International Poet at the Tasmanian Poetry Festival 2019. A subsequent tour of my work up the East Coast of Australia attracted wide audiences – both live and ‘on air’. Feedback was terrific; I made valuable contacts, sold £500 worth of books, and enhanced my reputation as a writer. My sequence about Scottish outsider artist Angus MacPhee from Uist was particularly well received, making folk aware of an important Scottish story.”

Details of grants awarded are listed below:

  • The Verb Festival, £1000, to bring Michael Pedersen to The Verb Festival 2019, New Zealand
  • Hugh McMillan, £200, The Blash o God, France
  • Brian Holton, £203.50, the Emily Harvey Foundation, Venice and the Festival Internazionale di Poesia di Genova, Italy
  • Laura Lam, £80, Worldcon Dublin, Ireland
  • Chrys Salt MBE, £1000, Tasmanian Poetry Festival, Australia
  • Wendy H. Jones, £500, Manuscript to Marketplace Writers Conference, USA
  • Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, £1000, to bring Irvine Welsh to Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2019, Indonesia
  • Christine De Luca, £400, Partilha Alternativa Association, Portugal
  • Gerry Loose, £175, 3rd Chengdu International Poetry Week, the Round Table Conference of the World Poetry in Chengdu, China
  • Kevin MacNeil, £1000, Yamanashi University, Japan
  • Christie Williamson, £350, Festa dos Anos de Ã’Lvaro de Campos, Portugal
  • Helen McClory, £1000, Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters, India
  • Clare Hunter, £900, Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters, India
  • David Keenan, £300, Primera Persona festival at the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), Spain
  • Damian Barr, £630, Events at literature festivals in India, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
  • Alycia Pirmohamed, £475, Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (In Exile), Belgium
  • Hugh McMillan, £382, Limerick Poetry Month Reading, Ireland
  • Sha Nazir, £543, Rumia Comic Con, Poland

Find out more about Scottish Books International on their website