Scottish book organisations welcome boosts to funding

Scottish book organisations welcome boosts to funding

Publishing Scotland, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Wigtown Book Festival have received a boost in funding from Creative Scotland, while grants to organisations including Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust have remained steady.

Creative Scotland has revealed the recipients of its latest funding round for the next three years as part of its Regular Funding Network which runs from April 2018 to March 2021. The network consists of 116 organisations, of which 19 are new and 97 previously funded, supported by £99m Grant in Aid funding through a three-year commitment from the Scottish Government, as set out in the recent draft budget statement.

It was recently revealed the body was to receive a surprise increase in funding, with the Grant in Aid stream being boosted by 21.2% in 2018/19. Before the announcement, the trade had anticipated a drop in arts funding, with scores of high-profile writers—including Ian Rankin and Val McDermid—writing to the Scottish Government to urge it not to cut its spend in the sector.

Wigtown Festival Company, which runs the Wigtown Book Festival, has had a 23.7% boost in funding to £258,000. Meanwhile, the Edinburgh International Book Festival has received a 10% uplift to £919,500.

Similarly, trade organisation Publishing Scotland has been granted an increase of 10% and will now receive £923,500.

Other trade bodies to be awarded funding are literacy charity Scottish Book Trust, which has been granted £2,579,792, and the Gaelic Books Council whch will receive £620,000 - the same as the last funding round.

Rosemary Ward, director of the Gaelic Books Council said it was "great news" to receive the same settlement, because the organisation had been bracing itself for a 20% cut.

"We are delighted to have retained our RFO status - there are no guarantees when so many new and established organisations are pitching for the same pot of money - and we have been awarded the same settlement as we were awarded in 2015-18", Ward told The Bookseller. "We had prepared ourselves for a 20% cut as we knew there would be huge demands on the RFO funds so to receive the same settlement is great news!"

The Scottish Poetry Library has been awarded £902,500, a 5% cut to the funding it previously received. Director Asif Khan told The Bookseller he was "delighted" with the funding, which despite the slight decrease "represents a vote of confidence in our new business plan and restructure".

Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “I am pleased to announce the network of Regularly Funded organisations for 2018-21. This follows a welcome settlement from the Scottish Government in the recent draft budget enabling us to maintain the existing budget for Regular Funding.

“Regular funding provides three-year funding to a wide range of organisations which create, present and support excellence across craft, dance, literature, music, screen, theatre and visual arts, reaching out to all parts of Scotland and internationally."

Last week, The Bookseller ran an in-depth focus on Scotland, which included an exclusive column from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The stories in the focus can be read here.