Scottish Book Trust is to increase the money paid to authors participating in its Live Literature programme to £175 out of a belief that writers, storytellers and illustrators “should be paid fairly for the important work that they do”.
The fee paid to authors participating in the Live Literature programme, which works with people across Scotland to bring authors in to communities, is currently £150. This has been the rate since 2007.
However, following findings of a 2014 study by the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society which revealed that the median earnings of an author is now £11,000 - “well below the living wage” - Scottish Book Trust has now said: "Many of the authors on the Live Literature database make their living primarily from writing and are facing extremely difficult times. Scottish Book Trust believes that writers, storytellers and illustrators should be paid fairly for the important work that they do and we want to support them."
Scottish Book Trust will pay authors £175, as well as travel and subsistence expenses. It will continue to invoice event organisers for £75 plus VAT. The event fee will go up on 1st January 2017 and all Live Literature events that take place from this date will be paid at a fee of £175 per session, while events that take place before this date will be paid at a rate of £150 per session.
The organisation has said that it has not received additional funding for Live Literature, and that the increase in fees is manageable through “careful spending”. The organisation will not reduce the number of sessions available or increase the cost to the organisations who apply for sessions and is committed to continuing to support 1,200 events per year through the Live Literature programme, it said.
The controversial subject of paying authors for events has been widely reported in recent months, with author Philip Pullman stepping down from his role as patron of Oxford Literary Festival in January in protest at its refusal to pay authors. The festival has since said it would “meet with all interested parties to discuss how to achieve payment of fees for all speakers" from 2017.
Writers including Denise Mina, Francesca Simon and Joanne Harris also wrote an open letter in support of Pullman's protest by joining a call for publishers and fellow authors to boycott events with the same policy.
Harris also pulled out of a literature festival earlier this year because of the terms of its contract. The unnamed festival in question had demanded a six-week exclusivity clause around the author holding any other events in the area, requested unrestricted filming of her attendance there and five free copies of the book for a £50 appearance fee.