Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Donald S. Murray Awarded RLS Fellowship

Birlinn is delighted to announce that Donald S. Murray, author of The Guga Hunters and AndOn This Rock: The Italian Chapel, Orkney has been awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. 

Donald is one of three writers who will be able to spend a month in a self-catering studio apartment at the Hôtel Chevillon in Grez-sur-Loing, at the edge of France’s Forest of Fontainebleau. Robert Louis Stevenson first visited the area in 1875, delighting not only in the place and its community of writers but also meeting his future wife Fanny Osbourne there.

The Fellowship, designed to give writers time and space away from their usual environment, will allow Donald to develop several projects he has in mind both fiction and non-fiction, and we can’t wait to see the results. Well done Donald, from everyone at Birlinn!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Calling all Writers! Imagine The Seven Wonders of Scotland and Win £750

There's still time to enter The Seven Wonders of Scotland competition! And win £750.

Gerry Hassan, one of the judges of the project says, "The project imagines seven wonders of world-class significance in our country. Since none of the ‘wonders’ will exist, the essence of the project is fictional but it is important that they could potentially exist."

"The core idea is that these are physical creations, ones which illuminate what Scotland could be. It is about re-imagining Scotland, about exploring its possible future and creating different landscapes, mindsets and worlds for the reader and public to enter and be stimulated by. Such a rich terrain of different Scotlands aims to encourage people to think imaginatively and in new ways about their country and its future at this important juncture in its history."

Examples might include the idea in the 1990s that Fort William would be turned over to the Hong Kong Chinese to build a new Hong Kong in the Highlands. Or another, still active idea, is sculptor Sandy Stoddart’s huge Ossian project. The first illustrates an outward-looking economically dynamic Scotland, the second a project on a world-scale about a Scottish achievement (the Ossian tales) which changed the world. By looking therefore at physical creations we are exploring mental states, looking to tap into deeper realities, psyches and motivations about Scotland and its future.

If you'd like to enter the competition (winners receive £750 each), please submit one paragraph on your ‘wonder’ and one paragraph on the writing treatment emailed to alison@birlinn.co.uk by 15th April 2012. There is a strong creative-writing element here, so there is no point in describing a wonder in dry technical detail or in the way of a political policy pamphlet. The judges will be Gerry Hassan, Hugh Andrew Managing Director of Birlinn, political writer and journalist David Torrance and Alison Rae of Polygon.

The final pieces will be 5-7,000 words long and winners will be asked to submit their contributions by 14 July 2012. A book will be published in October 2012.