The memorial plaque to Robert Louis Stevenson in Edinburgh
The memorial plaque to Robert Louis Stevenson in Edinburgh

Robert Louis Stevenson award seeks writers

To marking Robert Louis Stevenson Day, the Scottish Book Trust has announced that the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship for professional writers is now open for applications.

Previous fellows include novelist Jenni Fagan, Makar Liz Lochhead, and poet and performer Michael Pedersen.
Writers based in Scotland are encouraged to apply, and the Fellowship awards successful applicants with a retreat to Grez-sur-Loing in France, a village that Robert Louis Stevenson himself visited frequently.

The Fellowship was initiated in 1994 by Franki Fewkes, a Scottish RLS 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. 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, France, and was first visited by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1875. He also met his future wife, Fanny Osbourne, at the Hôtel Chevillon.

Grez-sur-Loing was attractive to Stevenson due to its well-established community of writers and artists, and he spent three happy summers there.

Shane Strachan, a 2018 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow, said: ‘The Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship has opened many doors for me to take my research to exciting and innovative places. It has also granted me the time and support to research archives across the northeast of Scotland and archives at Central Saint Martins in London where the Scottish fashion designer Bill Gibb studied.

‘All of this research will hopefully add to the authenticity and creativity of the final novel, which I’m looking forward to having focused time working on when I head to Grez-sur-Loing in November.’

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: ‘Scottish Book Trust is pleased to offer this opportunity for professional writers to follow in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson. The retreat at Grez-sur-Loing offers the time and space to work on creative projects, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Forest of Fontainebleau.’

Mairi Kidd, interim head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, added: ‘Writers are vital to our creative and social landscape here in Scotland. We know that many writers struggle to find and to fund time to write and the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship offers precisely that, in a peaceful and inspiring location linked to the life of one of our greatest literary talents.

‘We look forward to welcoming the new recipients of the Fellowship to the stellar list of previous writers.’

The memorial plaque to Robert Louis Stevenson in Edinburgh

For details of how to apply for the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, and for full eligibility criteria, visit

The closing date for Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship 2019 applications is Wednesday 30 January (noon).
Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing.

The award is named after the Treasure Island Writer, who was born at 8 Howard Place on 13 November 1850, and is one of Edinburgh’s great writers. He spent much of his life in his 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.

Each year his November 13 birthday is celebrated in his home city with a series of events viewable at