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 offer a varied calendar of activities organised by a committee of volunteers and a staff coordinator.
We send out a quarterly newsletter to members. 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.
Scotland News & Events
Golf and writing: where’s the common ground?
By Mac Logan
What on earth do writing and golf have in common?
‘You name it, and I’ll write it,’ I said. Talk about cocky.
‘Has golf and writing got anything in common?’ Claire* said. ‘Write me around 500 words, please. By the 25th of April… this year.’ She smiled her challenge.
No pressure? Did my confidence wobble? Of course! How else do you get Writers’ Block? And that’s where I’ll start, at the beginning, before anything happens.
A writer sits down and stares at a stark, blank sheet of paper, its emptiness a scary yet seductive invitation. At that moment, her creative potential is unlimited. For instance, she could produce a best-selling novel, a poem of inspiring power and insight, or a play to rival Shakespeare.
Then, as the quill is dipped in the ink-pot and a charged nib glides over parchment, a creative spark takes tangible form for better or worse.
Meanwhile, on the teeing ground, a golfer follows his personal ritual of preparation, gripping and swishing a club. Traces of anxiety betray their presence on his pale face and blinking eyes. Name called, he glides on to an empty rectangle of grass and tees up his golf ball. With (aspired to if not actual) poised athleticism, he takes his stance, readies his club and whacks his ball.
Creative or what?
Words flow on to a page. A golf ball bounces down a fairway. Two people dare to begin an imaginative journey.
A piece of writing may take years of diligent endeavour or less time than playing a round of golf. In every case, the care, thought and skill of producing a coherent work is undeniable.
Golf is time-pressured. Creativity happens all the time. Imagine a ball landing forty metres from a tree standing between a golfer and his target. A thick trunk and well-leafed branches await an error of judgement or execution. Under pressure, the player must decide how to overcome the obstacle without delay. Three creative options are open. He can play his shot over, under or around the oak. Decision made, the ball is struck.
The Common Ground
I don’t know about you, but when I put pen to paper, the words flow out of me with an almost-tidy spontaneity. Before long, sentences, paragraphs and chapters fill pages and await the shaping caress of an editing hand.
With golf, a creative opportunity arises with every shot. The golf ball rockets forth with sometimes disappointing and often disconcerting outcomes. Yet, every now and then, the intended result happens, and someone says, ‘good shot’.
A writer and a golfer’s common ground is creativity, the application of developed skills and a willingness to stay the course. Then, after a good day, a warm mug of something burnishes the satisfaction of a job well done.
The only thing missing is a golfer’s ability to edit a poor score.
*That’s Claire Watts, the SoAiS Committee member responsible for finding content for these occasional pieces.
Mac Logan is Chair of the SoA in Scotland and author of the Angels’ Share series, the up and coming Reborn Tree saga, a couple of business titles, and many business-related articles and blogs. He lives in the beautiful East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. His website is: https://maclogan.online
The Society of Authors in Scotland Spring Social
By Tita Berredo
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...
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
By Donald Murray
The 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.
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 email@example.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
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
SoAiS members can take advantage of a number of exclusive benefits, such as events and special discounts.
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.