(New chapter for Scottish publishers
Scotland's much vaunted cultural renaissance is set to receive a significant boost with the recent announcement by the Scottish Arts Council of a record National Lottery funding for the publishing industry, totalling £470,812.
Three Scottish publishing houses are to benefit from the unprecedented 'New Directions‘ award aimed at raising the profile of Scotland’s literary culture. A large proportion of the money - £224,500 - will go to Glasgow-based Neil Wilson Publishing to fund the 11:9 imprint, a project designed to promote the work of emergent and established Scottish writers. Alec Finlay‘s Pocketbooks initiative is to receive £166,312 to produce and market a series of fifteen paperback books featuring collaborations between Scottish writers and visual artists. The remainder of £80,000 has been awarded to Red Herring Arts 8: Media to launch an innovative monthly magazine focusing on Scotland’s cultural and political affairs.
At the announcement last month, the SAC's Acting Literature Director, Gavin Wallace, voiced the concern of his department that ‘the majority of Scottish fiction is published by
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London houses, including virtually all of the major contemporary Scottish authors‘. Critical of the so-called ‘nursery publishing syndrome' that has developed in Scotland, the SAC's Literature Department are confident that this ‘record level of investment‘ will allow for home-grown writers to be nurtured by their local publishing houses. This perhaps ignores the efforts of publishers such as Canongate, who continue to support important young authors including Toni Davidson and Laura Hird from a Scottish base.
Recipient Neil Wilson has responded to the success of his Lottery funding application, saying that the money
will allow his company ‘to create and market a vibrant new fiction imprint for Scotland'. Tempering his enthusiasm with a realistic approach however, Wilson adds: ‘London publishing houses won‘t see us as a threat. 1 don’t think we're going to charm back the likes of Iain Banks or stop the flow of writers to London because we quite simply don‘t have the cheque book, but our remit is to open up the agenda for new writers working in Scotland.’
The first titles from the 11:9 imprint — named after the date of the Devolution Referendum of 1997 — are due to be published in November 2000. (Catherine Bromley)
‘Glasgay! gets out and about for ﬁfth year
i Diva pitch: Grant Smeaton in Torch Song Trilogy
Live bands at The 13th Note and comedy at The Arches are just two of the highlights in a Glasgayl programme that’s expanding across the arts and further out into the cuty. Now in its fifth year, Glasgow's gay and lesbian artS festival — the biggest of its kind in the UK — runs from 22—31 October.
’While we're not quite on the level of Sydney Mardi Gras just yet, we think we’ve got a programme that is as diverse and dynamic as you Will find anywhere, with something that Will appeal to all sections of the commumty,’ says Festival Administrator Lindsay Mitchell.
The events — announced at a programme launch on 10 September ~ aim to draw in a y0unger, more contemporary gay and lesbian crowd
with the likes of rock and pop gigs at The 13th Note and comedy at The Arches as Edinburgh's Stand Comedy Club brings Oot On Tuesday to the west coast. Elsewhere theatre, literature and Cinema are well represented, and the Festival's Visual arts space, The Gordon’s Gallery, moves to the Gallery of Modern Art.
With a speCial focus on the legacy of the drag diva (to include the profeSSional Scottish premiere of Torch Song Trilogy, as well as a Dusty Springfield tribute evening and lookalike competition), Glasgayl ’99 really does look like a major contribution to the cultural life of the city. The Festival brochure is available now, and full Glasgay! coverage Will appear in the 21 October issue of The List. (Alan Morrison)
Short and to the point.
NATIONAL MEN'S HEALTH Week aims to open the eyes of Scotland's male population to everything from stress management to healthy eating. A series of workshops take place in community centres across Glasgow and Edinburgh from 10—17 Sep. Notable events include a screening of My Name Is Joe, followed by a discussion on addiction and suicide, at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on Sat 11 Sep; and a ‘Men And Health Day’ in Glasgow’s George Square from 11am-4pm on Fri 17 Sep, during which Susan Deacon MSP will attend an array of workshops and practical demonstrations.
BEGINNING STUDENT LIFE can be daunting enough without the added unfamiliarity of studying abroad. A welcoming face can make all the difference, and so the call is out for volunteers to meet and greet international students arriving at Edinburgh Airport between 18 Sep-6 Oct. For information, contact Suzanne Marshall at OSPREY International Student Advisory Council, 3 Bruntsfield Crescent, Edinburgh, EH10 4HD, 0131 452 8424.
LOCKS ARE TURNING as European Heritage Days 99 (incorporating Doors Open Days Scotland) hands over the keys to normally inaccessible buildings. In Edinburgh, 20th century architecture is the focus on Sat 25 Sep, with the Edinburgh International Festival's new centre at The Hub, the new Scottish Poetry Library, the recently converted St Ninian's Manse in Leith and the seaside pavilion-style Joppa Sewage Pumping Station open from 10am—5pm among others.
In Glasgow, contemporary steel and glass is married with traditional stone and marble in St Aloysius Junior
_ School Extension (open Sat 18 Sep,
10am-4pm); the refurbished 18th century Virginia Mansion has become bar/grill The Corinthian in Ingram Street (Sat 18 Sep, 1—4pm); and the recently reopened Tron Theatre places an ultra-modern bar and ticket office beside a 1773 Adam church (Sat 18—Sun 19 Sep, 10am-4pm). For a handbook, call 0131 247 4124.
Waste not: Joppa Sewage Pumping Station
9—23 Sep 1999 THE lIST 15