Marking Robert Louis Stevenson Day today (13 November), Scottish Book Trust is delighted to announce that the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship for professional writers is now open for applications.
Previous fellows include novelist Bernard MacLaverty, Makar Liz Lochhead, author and journalist Phil Miller, and poet and performer Michael Pedersen.
The national charity changing lives through reading and writing says 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.
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. 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 Robert Louis Stevenson’s own life.’
Bernard MacLaverty, a 2019 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow, said: ‘Grez-sur-Loing is a wonderful place to write. This year I spent the month of June there, thanks to the Fellowship from Scottish Book Trust, working on a book of short stories. John Lavery’s bridge and river are at the bottom of the garden.
‘The wonderful Fontainebleu forest is a bus ride away. I also found myself catching up on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, Kidnapped – what a superb writer he is. And what a great time I had.’
Mairi Kidd, head of literature, languages and publishing, commented: ‘Writers are vital to Scotland’s 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.’
For details of how to apply for the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, and for full eligibility criteria, visit HERE.
The closing date for Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship 2020 applications is Wednesday 29 January 2020 at noon.