Society of Authors in Scotland (SoAiS)

The SoA in Scotland (SoAiS) is a nation group of the Society of Authors.

Members with a Scottish postcode are added to the group when they join the SoA. If you have not been added but would like to join the SoA in Scotland, please contact us.

We organise a varied calendar of activities through a committee of volunteers and we send out a quarterly newsletter to members.

SoAiS Newsletter

If you would like to share your news for inclusion in a newsletter, please note the submissions deadlines below:

  • Spring issue: 15 February (covering end February to end May)
  • Summer issue: 15 May (covering end May to end August)
  • Autumn issue: 31 July (covering end August to end November)
  • Winter issue: 31 October (covering end November to end February)

You can also join in with member discussion on our private Facebook group.

Group activities are reported in the SoA's quarterly magazine, The Author.

We have created a Google document containing details of writers' groups in Scotland that we know about. Please feel free to add directly to this list or email us with your suggestions.

Scotland News & Events

The Society of Authors in Scotland Spring Social

By Tita Berredo

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I am a Brazilian in my early thirties and I write and illustrate for children. One way of settling myself into the publishing industry after moving to the UK was joining the SoA, which has been utterly helpful in many ways. However, when it came to social events, being surrounded by so many – and more mature – established authors could be a little intimidating. So I was happily surprised by how this year’s Spring Social was organised in a dynamic and personal way.

First of all, instead of sitting quietly amongst an ocean of small screens, the hosts broke into small chat rooms. This allowed us to get to know each other and to have a space for an actual conversation.

Secondly, we got to express our present concerns and share thoughts on how the SoA could help us move forward.

Last but not least (at all), we all got to share a little bit of our talent, which I thought was a really nice touch. We were invited to finish some limericks in our ‘own inimitable style’. So I did it, but my own inimitable style was illustrated.

A wee Glasgow dog with a bone 
Was frightened of taking it home
For the butcher was missing
A whole free range chicken...

Tita-Berredo-image.jpg

That not only surprised everyone but also appeared to widen the space for creative solutions when it comes to writing and sharing one’s work. That was the high point for me because it showed that my work was taken seriously despite where I am in my career or what genre I write for. I felt included.

In a single afternoon, authors and hosts got to know each other, express issues and ask for help, and also exercise and share our skills in a fun and personal way. This social was an example of everything that I expect, hope and wish from a community like the SoA. I couldn’t be happier and look forward to the next one!

Find out more about Tita Berredo at her website or on Instagram and Twitter. 

The next SoAiS social will be held in June. Watch out for more information.

 

Writers on the Edge

Donald-Murray-cropped.jpgThe last flight home (inevitably diverted or delayed). The twelve hour long ferry journey (inevitably stormy). The long and winding road (inevitably clouded by fog)…

These are just some of the problems often experienced by writers who live on the country’s edge. It affects them at all times – when they are attending book festivals at their country’s centre; when they are researching topics for a book or article; when there are meetings with agents and others to be arranged. 

Just as important is the lack of contact with others who might be able to assist in some aspect of the work that knots a writer’s forehead and tangles thought. There is, too, that sense of being disregarded when others make short visits to familiar aspects of their surroundings, the visitor always (seemingly) possessing greater expertise about a particular locality than those who live there full-time. 

Peculiarly, for those of us living in so-called ‘remote’ parts of these islands, some of these issues have lessened during the current lockdown. During the last year, we have been able to attend book festivals and meetings without stirring from our homes.

Instead of feeling alone in our situation, we now share the same dilemmas as everyone else. We are all ‘isolated’ with everyone just a ‘zoom call’ away. The issues that used to trouble writers living on the edge of the country have disappeared. In their place are similar concerns to those that affect everyone everywhere. One could even argue that, during this period, matters have ‘improved’. 

The Society of Authors arranged a meeting in which three writers, Kerry Buchanan from County Down in Northern Ireland, Christopher Meredith from mid-Wales, and SoAiS Committee member, Donald S Murray (pictured), who lives in Shetland, discuss the issues that affect those who live on the edge. 

As both Christopher and Donald are respectively speakers of Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, they spoke about how being bilingual influences both their lives and writing. 

Among other issues, they discussed the minority status of Gaelic, Irish and Welsh within these islands and how those who communicate in these tongues sometimes feel sidelined in discussions that involve the communities from which they come.

Watch a recording of this online discussion, which took place on 23 March 2021. 

 

Hardship Funds

The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers closed in February. If you have applied to the fund you can expect to get your decision within 6 weeks of the date of submission. If you have been waiting longer than 6 weeks for your decision, please contact CS at enquiries@creativescotland.com

If you are in urgent financial need, the SoA's Contingency Funds remain open. These funds help writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others whose author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Find out more

 

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Scotland's Margaret Skea is elected to the SoA Management Committee

As many of you will already know, I will be joining the Management Committee of the Society of Authors after the AGM later this month, for a 3-year term.

Thank you to all who voted for me, and for the many messages of support and encouragement I have received since the announcement.

I am honoured, excited and daunted in equal measure, and will do my best to justify your trust in me. I passionately believe that authors should be 'one tribe' regardless of their chosen route to publication and I especially want to be a voice for Scotland and those similarly remote from London.

I was already keen to advocate for increased provision of practical training and professional development, with easy access for all; with Covid-19 this has become more important than ever.   

I will be supporting the work of the Scottish committee and their involvement with key Scottish organisations. But equally importantly, building on my experience and existing relationships, I want to strengthen links with national organisations such as The Alliance of Independent Authors and the Historical Novel Society; and to empower authors through facilitating increased understanding and navigation of self-publishing platforms including Amazon and Ingram Spark. 
   
Finally, any members with issues they would like to be raised with the Management Committee, or specific suggestions to make, please do get in contact with me – margaretskea@hotmail.co.uk 
 

Margaret Skea

Member benefits

SoAiS members can take advantage of a number of exclusive benefits, such as events and special discounts.

Partners

The SoAiS is a network member of Publishing Scotland, and together the two organisations have produced a good practice covenant between authors and publishers in Scotland. The SoAiS is also represented at meetings of the Literature Forum and the Scottish Parliamentary Cross Party Group on Culture and Media.

The SoAiS has partnerships with:

The SoAiS and Publishing Scotland are signatories to a joint code to improve relations between authors and publishers. Read the Voluntary Code.

Read the latest newsletter from the Literature Alliance Scotland/Caidreabhas Litreachais Alba, here.

 
 
 

Noticeboard

NUJ training courses

Posted: 01 January 2015

The National Union of Journalists runs a Scottish Union Learning project, funded by the European Social Fund, to help members update their skills and face the challenges of a changing media industry. They offer funded courses in a variety of media related subjects to help journalists widen out their employment choices, or to switch to freelance careers post-redundancy.

Are you in the same position? Perhaps your traditional sources of income have dried up in recent years and you are looking to diversify or upgrade your skills. If so, the NUJ may be able to help.

They offer a variety of both writing and technical courses.

If you would like to know more, please email NUJ Project Worker Catherine Deveney or give her a call on 01381 621094. You will be under no obligation, but she can give you more information about courses and put you in touch with people in your area who can help.