Hamish MacDonald has been appointed as the first Scots Scriever.
The role, a two-year residency at the National Library of Scotland supported with funding from Creative Scotland, will involve producing original creative work in Scots, its variants and dialects, across any art-form, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country and amongst all parts of the population.
MacDonald said: “I am delighted tae be offered the new an vitally important role as Scots Scriever wae the National Library o Scotland. I luik forwart tae workin wae communities throughoot Scotland in gie’in voice tae this vibrant language which, whether spoken or written, deserves tae be celebrated everywhere.”
MacDonald writes in English and in Scots, is published in poetry and fiction and has written several plays which have toured in Scotland and abroad, two of which he adapted into radio series for the BBC.
He is the founder of Dogstar Theatre Company, was the first recipient of the Robert Burns Writing Fellowship for Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association and has led workshops in creative writing and performance throughout Scotland and abroad.
He is a contributor to Scots language imprint Itchy Coo publishing’s children’s poetry books, King o the Midden and Blethertoun Braes.
Creative Scotland said that it is anticipated that around 50% of MacDonald’s time will be spent producing new creative work and 50% on the profile raising/public engagement aspect of the role.
Aly Barr, acting head of literature, publishing and languages at Creative Scotland, said: “We welcome the appointment of Hamish MacDonald as the first Scots Scriever to take up residency at the National Library of Scotland (NLS). Identified as a key requirement within the Scots Language Policy, we are particularly pleased to be working in partnership with NLS to host the new Scots Scriever role.
“We were pleased that the interview panel noted Hamish’s work with schools and young people as being energetic and creative. He offers an opportunity to re-invigorate Scots for different communities across the country. His friendly approach will ensure that Scots is embraced by whole new audiences of Scots and non Scots speakers alike.”
Dr John Scally, national librarian at the National Library of Scotland, said: “This is an exciting role, based at the Library, to engage people of all ages in the use of Scots. The project will seek to link with the past but it is much more about how the language is used today. The Scots language is very much part of our cultural identity and we want to see it thrive, not just survive.”