Engage in the future with Emerging Critics

Presented by Scottish Review of Books in partnership with Creative Scotland

The death of literary critics? Don’t write them off so easily.

Over the last 15 years over a third of Scots have stopped reading printed daily newspapers. Literary pages have been a casualty of cuts in many of these papers and yet book publishing is alive and well and healthy, with more books published than ever before.

At a time when we have never needed criticism more are our critics losing their voice? Look again. The literary pages that remain are robust and must be cherished. In Scotland we are fortunate with the pages in The Herald, The National and The Sunday Herald and The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday (fewer in number but still there). We have our own Scottish Review of Books, much loved by our readers, and other occasional literary reviews. Regional press including (but by no means only) the Press & Journal and the West Highland Free Press offer regular coverage.

New platforms for criticism are appearing and print media critics are enjoying a new audience. Critics with many years of experience of print and broadcast journalism are making the transition to online spaces – whether they be digital visitors or inhabitants, or indeed commissioners, writers or managers – with instant access to the public. Many of the online voices sharing in this vital exchange are new or newly liberated from more traditional platforms. They have something to share. Something fresh and fun in their approach. But online content is often unedited and unaccountable. Does that matter? Or will the intelligent reader seek out the criticism they want to read?

New and developing writers are engaging right now with some of the finest critics working in Scotland today. They are developing their skills and helping us to build a stronger future for literary criticism. LISTEN HERE to a Podcast recorded under the Emerging Critics programme.

If you are a book lover, you are among friends in a new programme run by Scottish Review of Books in association with Creative Scotland. During the summer, we held a public talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Many interested readers came along to hear a panel discuss the future of the critic and support the book coverage that is much required and matters to so many. And, almost 100 of you who are writing, or would like to write reviews, for print or online, applied for a place on the Emerging Critics mentoring programme.

Scottish Review of Books are currently delivering the Emerging Critics programme in partnership with Creative Scotland. We are grateful to the following for funding this ambitious pilot programme: Creative Scotland; The John S Cohen Foundation; The Edwin Morgan Trust;  New Park Educational TrustThe Northwood Charitable TrustThe Scottish Graduate School for Arts and HumanitiesDr David Summers Charitable Trust. And for their continuing support in kind, the Saltire Society. Without their support this would not happen.

In due course, we will report back on what the programme has achieved, let you read some of the new writing and look ahead to the future.

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