A chance for Scots writers to fire up their career

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has announced that applications are open for the Ignite Fellowship.

Now in its second year, the Ignite Fellowship recognises the achievements of professional writers and will offer tailored, practical and financial support to help writers find time and space to fire up their careers.

There are three awards available and Scottish Book Trust is working in partnership with the Gaelic Books Council, who will fund one of these specifically for a writer working in Gaelic. They also strongly encourage applications from writers working in Scots.

The Ignite Fellowship was developed in consultation with Scottish Book Trust’s Writers Advisory Panel and is a renovation of the previous Mentoring programme. The panel concluded that professional writers needed a range of support for their career. The Ignite Fellowship provides a flexible programme to suit the individual needs of the selected awardees.

Ignite Fellows will receive a £2000 bursary and tailored creative support to suit their individual projects. The fellowship will run for one year, from December 2019 to December 2020.

The inaugural Ignite Fellows have used the award to focus on diverse projects. Annie George is currently developing a treatment for a screenplay with her mentor Producer Alby James. Marjorie Lotfi Gill is working on a first draft of her project exploring the process of assimilation into a new culture. Gaelic Fellow Ruairidh Maclean has been working with mentor George MacPherson to reinterpret a body of traditional Gaelic legends.

Writers based in Scotland are encouraged to apply for the Ignite Fellowship. Applicants must meet the criteria for Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Database, though do not need to be on the database to apply. Applications are welcome from writers, comic makers, poets, illustrators, storytellers, playwrights and spoken word artists.

The Ignite Fellowship will support writers who are embarking on a particular project including novels, poetry, screenplays and radio scripts. To apply, writers must have a project that still needs work. This project can be in the very early stages of development, such as an idea, outline or pitch, or already a work in progress.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘For the second year, the Ignite Fellowship will help writers develop their work and connect them with the help they need. Whether in English, Scots or Gaelic, we are looking forward to receiving submissions from writers across Scotland.”

Ruairidh Maclean, Gaelic Ignite Fellow 2019, said: ‘While my Ignite Project is multi-faceted, the most enjoyable part has been working with a mentor, George MacPherson, who has shared some of his traditional stories with me, happy that I shall be turning them back into the language – Gaelic – from which they originated.

‘It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to work with George. The Ignite Fellowship opened a door for me into a special world which I hope I can help to reveal to others. It’s an opportunity to learn and share.’

Alison Lang, director of the Gaelic Books Council, said: ‘The Gaelic Books Council is delighted that Làs/Ignite has given Ruairidh Maclean this excellent opportunity over the past year, and we hope that another established writer will find the same encouragement from the fellowship in the year to come. It is a pleasure to be working in partnership with the Scottish Books Trust once again to support Gaelic writers.

Gaelic entries will be assessed by the Gaelic Books Council.

Awardees will receive a £2000 bursary and tailored creative project support.

In addition to the tailored creative project support the following opportunities will also be available:

• A week-long writing retreat at Moniack Mhor (alongside writers from Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Awards programme)

• Optional training in Press, PR and Social Media and Performance and Presentation

• A showcase event (to be organised with the selected writers)

• Networking opportunities

• Other reasonable support (including marketing, promotion and press) as needed

• Reasonable travel expenses for all trips to attend programme commitments

The fellowship will run for one year from December 2019 to December 2020.

To apply for the Ignite Fellowship, visit: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/writing-and-authors/ignite-fellowship. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 6 November 2019 (midday).

If you have any specific questions about your application or eligibility send them to: applications@scottishbooktrust.com