Monthly Archives: June 2014


Acclaimed Canadian author receives Edinburgh honorary degree



Booker Prize winning  author Margaret Atwood has been awarded an honorary degree  from the University of Edinburgh. 

The award-winning  writer was one of four prominent Canadians from the fields of  literature, politics, law and business to be honoured by the University at a  ceremony in Toronto on Friday.  Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Beverley McLachlin; former Chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning,  General  John De Chastelain; and investment banker Garret Herman also received honorary  degrees. 

The ceremony was part  of a series of events being held to coincide with the  University of Edinburgh’s General Council Meeting in Toronto. The events have allowed graduates and friends from across Canada to reconnect with and  celebrate  their links to Edinburgh.  Other events have included a debate titled ‘Lessons for and from Canada’, which focused on the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum.

A formal  Memorandum of Understanding between the Universities of Edinburgh and Toronto has also been signed.  Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, University of Edinburgh Principal and  Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University of Edinburgh has very strong ties with Canada, and I am delighted that we have been able to celebrate these not  only by  holding the General Council meeting in Toronto, but also by recognising the work  of these honorary graduates.” 

The University of  Edinburgh is currently home to 450 Canadian students studying  a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Notable graduates include  Nova Scotian physician and Canadian parliamentarian William Johnston Almon; Sir  Charles Tupper, the sixth Prime Minister of Canada; and Andrew Fernando Holmes,  one of the founders of the Montreal Medical Institution. 

The General Council  Meeting has underlined Edinburgh’s commitment to North  America, which will be further strengthened in October when the University opens an office in New York.



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Scottish Book Trust Launches Search for New Writing Talent


Scottish Book Trust has announced that applications for the New Writers Awards 2015 are now open, providing a unique opportunity for 10 unpublished writers who live in Scotland to pursue a career as a published author.


The New Writers Awards are managed by Scottish Book Trust in association with Creative Scotland and each year they provide 10 unpublished writers with financial support to enable them to concentrate on developing their work, as well as professional guidance to help them move towards publication.


Each recipient will receive a £2000 cash award, as well as a tailored package including mentoring from writers and industry professionals, training in public relations, social media and performance and the opportunity to showcase their work to publishers and agents.


Applications for the New Writers Awards are open to Scotland-based writers who have not published a novel, short story or poetry collection and have a strong commitment to developing a career in writing. The deadline for applications is 5 September and the recipients will be announced in January 2015.

In order to provide the best possible support, the New Writers Awards are divided into three different categories. Writers may only apply for one category:


·       Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction in English and Scots

·       Poetry in English and Scots

·       Children’s and Young Adult Fiction in English and Scots


The two poetry awards will be run in association with the Scottish Poetry Library.


Caitrin Armstrong, Head of Writer Development at Scottish Book Trust, said:


“Getting a novel published – and publicised – is really tough. Writers often work in isolation and face financial insecurity and rejection, not to mention the daunting prospect of promoting themselves and their work.


“It’s not an easy journey, but for those talented enough to make their mark on Scotland’s writing scene, a publishing contract may be within reach. Our New Writers Awards attract an incredible quantity and diversity of new writing talent from across the country, and the eventual recipients are those who we believe are Scotland’s literary future. We offer a broad spectrum of support designed to smooth the path to publication, help them develop creatively and professionally, and prepare them for all the new challenges that come with being a published author.”


Emma Turnbull, Development Officer at Creative Scotland said:


The New Writers Awards provide much needed support for writers at the start of their careers, Scottish Book Trust offer an incredible package of mentoring and development opportunities through these awards. Creative Scotland is pleased to offer continued support for such an important programme.”

This is the seventh year that Scottish Book Trust has managed the New Writers Awards and so far the process has proved hugely successful in terms of developing the careers of more than 60 writers. Confirmed 2014 publications by previous New Writer Award recipients include Kirsty Logan, recipient of a 2009 award, whose short stories collection The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales was published by Salt Publishing in March, Roy Gill, a 2009 award recipient whose children’s novel Werewolf Parallel was published by Floris in March,  Marion McCready, recipient of a 2013 Award whose poetry collection, Tree Language, was published by Eyewear in May and Graeme MaCrae Burnet, a 2013 recipient, whose debut novel, The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau, will be published by Contraband in July.


2013 recipient Lucy Ribchester has signed a two book deal with Simon and Schuster, her novel The Hourglass Factory will be published in January 2015. 2010 recipient Wayne Price’s novel Mercy Seat will be published in January 2015 and 2008 recipient Kirstin Innes’ novel Fishnet will also be published by Freight in 2015.


Scottish Book Trust New Writers can also be found in the programmes of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aye Write, Stanza, Margins Book and Music Festival, the Dundee Literary Festival and the Wigtown Book Festival amongst others.


Graeme Macrae Burnet, recipient of a 2013New Writers Award, feels that the support he received had a hugely positive impact on his writing career:


“As an aspiring writer you get pretty inured to rejection, so to receive New Writers Award is a tremendous confidence boost, and confidence is a precious commodity. The award is about a lot more than the money, welcome though that is. It’s an invitation to an ongoing programme of support and (gentle) encouragement. During the year, the lovely people at Scottish Book Trust run numerous invaluable workshops on publishing, social media and performance, all of which provide a great chance to meet other writers and industry folk. But for me the best thing about the whole process was meeting my fellow awardees and sharing experiences of how to deal with publishers, agents and blank computer screens. It’s a fantastic scheme to be involved with.”

Scottish Book Trust is also currently working with the Gaelic Books Council on a project which supports two New Gaelic Writers.


Some facts about the New Writers Awards:

·       10 unpublished writers will be selected this year. Decisions will be announced in January 2015.  

·       There are 10 Awards available in total – 5 places to Fiction, 3 places to Poetry and 2 places to Children’s.

·       The selected New Writers will have three months to work on their material before meeting with Scottish Book Trust to discuss their professional development support.

·       Any writer over the age of 18 may apply as long as they fulfil the criteria.

Information about the 2015 New Writers Awards can be found at


Notes to Editors:


  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to people worldwide.
  • Creative Scotland is the national development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries.


For all Press queries, please contact Helen Croney, PR Manager: – 0131 524 0175 – 07751 69 58 54


Previous Awardees Quotes:


Lucy Ribchester, New Writers Award Recipient 2013


I will never forget the giddiness of finding out I’d received a New Writers Award. But had I known then what the award year would actually have in store, my excitement would have been off the scale. There’s the validation, the money, being mentored by award-winning successful writers and industry professionals, and the beautiful, inspiring trip to Cove Park. But on top of all that, one of the best things about the New Writers programme is the support you receive from SBT, from help with getting set up on Twitter to advice on working with agents and publishers, to the brilliant camaraderie that comes from meeting other writers and sharing your work. My New Writers Award was the springboard for most of the good things that have happened to me writing-wise; I even met the editor who is publishing my first novel at a Scottish Book Trust co-run event. There is really no reason not to apply – you’ll have a whale of a year and it might just be the path you’ve been looking for to marvellous things.


Roy Gill, New Writers Award Recipient 2010


Winning a New Writers Award felt like a huge vote of confidence in my writing, and came exactly when I needed it most. The mentor Scottish Book Trust found for me was able to pinpoint exactly what needed to be done to my work-in-progress manuscript, and help move my writing on. Now, nearly four years on from my Award, I’m the published author of two YA fantasy novels (Daemon Parallel and Werewolf Parallel), a number of short stories – and I’ve recently begun to write scripts as well (including ‘The Prime of Deacon Brodie’ for the audio series The Confessions of Dorian Gray). I still think about and make use of advice I received during my time on the scheme, and Scottish Book Trust maintain a lively, friendly interest in my developing career. I’d urge all new and emerging writers to apply – you absolutely won’t regret it.  


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