Priorities for literature
The Scottish Arts Council Business Plan identifies priorities for 2009/10 and we will work within these priorities to achieve a vibrant and sustainable literature sector.
Through Writers and Storytellers Bursaries, we will support published writers of literary or children’s work, and storytellers based in Scotland, who require finance for a period of concentrated work on their next book.
In 2008, we transferred responsibility for the Scottish Arts Council's New Writers' Bursaries fund to Scottish Book Trust, as part of its programmes of training and mentoring for writers. The fund has been re-named 'New Writers' Awards'. The Scottish Arts Council’s Literature department continues to be involved in assessing and deciding funding, but all aspects of the administration and application procedures, including dealing with enquires from potential applicants, are the responsibility of Scottish Book Trust.
We will work in partnership with our new sponsor, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, to ensure the continuing success the Scottish Arts Council Book Awards, now the largest literary prize of their kind in Scotland.
International Fellowships remain a high priority, and we will continue to fund the Robert Louis Stevenson International Fellowship in France. The prestigious Muriel Spark International Fellowship is on its bi-annual ‘gap year’ in 2009, but we will continue to seek a prestigious author of global and literary renown to take up the third Fellowship in 2010.
Enabling professional development is a vital part of our investment in a vibrant literary landscape, and we will support individuals working at a professional level in Literature in Scotland to undertake activities relevant to their artistic practice.
We will provide funding to six literature Foundation organisations. They have a key role to play in supporting artists and developing audiences. We will use our Quality Framework to help them to develop best practice in all areas.
As a result of our Strategic Review in 2005/06, we agreed funding in principle on a five year cycle (2007/08 – 2011/12) for six literature Foundation Organisations whose reach and role have a national or international impact.
- Scottish Book Trust operates strategically as Scotland’s national agency for reading and writing delivering programmes for readers, writers and educationalists which promote a love of reading and knowledge of books, writing and writers to people of all ages and backgrounds in Scotland, and to nurture Scotland’s writing talent and promote Scottish writers and books nationally and internationally.
- Scottish Poetry Library is a unique national resource and advocate for the enriching art of poetry. It aims to enhance the appreciation of poetry in society at large and particularly in education, and to promote its value among the practised arts; to provide an information and resource centre for poetry, based on the collections, catalogue and library website; to promote and encourage international contacts, including translation from, as well as into, Scotland’s languages; to support contemporary poets, and poetry organisations/groups through commissions, publications/resources, engagements and building use; to manage, sustain and develop the organisation in order to deliver these aims, encouraging investment in its activities through partnerships, membership and public interaction.
- The Edinburgh International Book Festival performs a unique role - as the largest festival of its kind in the world - in celebrating and promoting books and the written word. It offers writers nationally and internationally a major public platform to present their work in an exciting and stimulating environment, accessible to readers and non-readers of all ages and backgrounds. It further seeks to provide a Scottish platform for international writing, and an international platform for Scottish writing.
- The Gaelic Books Council acts as the only national agency providing consistent professional input and support to the Gaelic publishing industry through grants, back-up services, and professional advice. In addition to responding to requests for advice and assistance, it also seeks to innovate imaginatively. It also acts as a supplier to the public through its bookselling operation and its website.
- The Scottish Storytelling Forum is the lead national organisation for promoting the study, practice, appreciation and knowledge of storytelling in Scotland through the preservation of traditional storytelling, and the development of storytelling as a live contemporary art.
- The Association for Scottish Literary Studies aims to set literature and language within the wider context of Scottish cultural studies, to contribute to national cultural and educational developments and debate, and to cooperate closely with other cultural, literary and linguistic agencies within these debates. This includes its continued publication programme, attendance at the Modern Language Association of North American conference, and its own educational and member conferences in Scotland.
We wish to support organisations to innovate, flourish and bring new audiences to Scotland’s literature. To these ends, we will support four Flexibly funded organisations:
- Moniack Mhor is the only dedicated creative writing centre in Scotland and has a reputation not only nationally but internationally in the literature world. As Scotland's national writer's centre Moniack Mhor plays a key role in the training and development of Scotland's writers.
- Publishing Scotland aims to be the lead body for the publishing sector in Scotland by supporting and helping create an environment that allows publishers, writers and content producers to thrive; and to play a part in fostering excellence in the production and delivery of creative content in the 21st century.
- Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature's aim is to capitalise on the prestigious UNESCO designation awarded to the city, and to raise awareness of books and literature in everyday Edinburgh life. It is a collaborative organisation that works closely with partner organisations to promote book culture in Edinburgh, encourage involvement in Scotland's literature and develop literary partnerships around the world.
- Itchy Coo is a best-selling, award-winning imprint which specialises in Scots language books for children and young people. Established in January 2002, Itchy Coo is a collaboration of writers, illustrators, actors, schools, a publisher and marketing and design teams. With funding from the Scottish Arts Council and from local education authorities, the imprint continues to develop its range of high-quality well-written Scots language books. In addition to publishing, Itchy Coo also visits schools and libraries nationally, and provides in-service training for teachers within the framework of the 5-14 curriculum.
In September 2009, responsibility for funding our two national Scots Language organisations will transfer to the Scottish Government. However, we will continue to fund them through the transition period from April to August.
We are investing in three other major areas of development and innovation. We will continue to assist publishers based outside the UK with the costs of translating 20th century and contemporary Scottish writing, and we will fund Scottish-based publishers to publish books of cultural and/or literary merit that represent a financial risk. We will support commissioning, production or marketing costs, or any combination of the three. We will also fund literary magazines which demonstrate a strong, coherent editorial policy and a commitment to the presentation of new work.
Live Literature Funding: a national initiative to enable Scottish schoolchildren and citizens to meet and engage with writers, playwrights, poets, storytellers and illustrators. It is administered by the Scottish Book Trust with funding from the Scottish Arts Council.
Storytelling Live: support is available towards the costs of a variety of storytelling events and projects promoted within Scotland.
Writing Fellowships and Literature Development Officers: we will continue to support ten Writing Fellows and Literature Development Officers in a range of locations and contexts with various partner organisations across Scotland. The Literature, Nation strategy stated the aspiration to place one Literature Development Worker and one Writing Fellow in each of the 32 local authorities across Scotland, and we will continue to try to achieve this.
Literature Festivals: we currently support - and will continue to support - thirteen Literature and Book Festivals throughout Scotland. In order to build upon their significant success, we will also continue to support the new ‘Book Festival Scotland’ consortium to develop the festivals’ potential for strategic integrated working in audience development and promotion
We will continue to work in collaboration with the Literature Forum for Scotland to further the creative co-operation and robust consensus across the sector which has enabled a culture of expansion and innovation.
The formal process of merging our roles and responsibilities with those of Scottish Screen began in January 2007, with the formation of a new board, whose members were drawn from the two existing bodies. In January 2009, a new company, Creative Scotland 2009 Ltd, was established and, subject to legislation in 2009 (the Public Service Reform Bill), Creative Scotland will become the new lead body for arts and screen industries in Scotland in 2010, replacing the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.