Recipients of 2014 Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowships Announced

Grez-sur-Loing
Category: Press Releases

Scottish Book Trust is delighted to announce that its four Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowships, based in France and intended to offer writers time away from their usual environment in order to develop their work, have been awarded to a debut novelist, a children’s playwright and two poets.

The Fellowships, supported by Creative Scotland’s Creative Futures fund, were initiated in 1994 by Franki Fewkes, a Scottish Robert Louis Stevenson enthusiast then living in France. As well as giving writers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives to devote time to their writing, Fewkes intended it to be an opportunity for the Fellows to meet other artists and to absorb new cultural and social influences. 

Situated at the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, Grez-sur-Loing was visited regularly by Stevenson, who was attracted by the commune’s established community of writers and artists. It was there, at the Hôtel Chevillon, that he met his future wife Fanny Osbourne. Stevenson found both the place, and its well established community of writers and artists, highly attractive and he returned to Grez-sur-Loing for three successive summers.

Retracing his footsteps in 2014 will be debut novelist Lisa Ballantyne, children’s playwright Iain Johnstone and poets Tom Pow and Stuart Paterson. Each of the four Fellows will be provided with a residence of one month each in a self-catering studio apartment at the Hôtel Chevillon International Arts Centre at Grez-sur-Loing. Lisa will attend in July, Iain in August and the two poets will share the residency in November.

Award-winning poet Tom Pow told Scottish Book Trust there was some “indefinable benefit” to working in the shadow of one of Scotland’s most influential international writers.

Lisa Ballantyne added it was an “immense honour” to visit one of Stevenson’s places of influence in such an exciting cultural region.

Will Mackie, Head of Writer Development at Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We’re thrilled to offer this wonderful opportunity to four such diverse, engaging and fascinating writers. We wish each of them a productive and enjoyable stay at Hôtel Chevillon - a beautiful, tranquil and richly evocative environment where the presence of one of our greatest writers is so keenly felt.”

Emma Turnbull, Development Officer at Creative Scotland, said:

“The RLS fellowships offer a much needed opportunity for writers to retreat beyond the demands of everyday life to focus entirely on their writing. Hotel Chevillon has hosted many Scottish writers over the past 20 years, and every writer who has undertaken a fellowship in that time has spoken about how beneficial the time and space were to the development of their work. This year’s recipients all submitted work of excellent quality and were able to demonstrate how the fellowship would benefit their work. We wish them well.”

Photos of the writers and quotes from them are available from helen.croney@scottishbooktrust.com. For further details of the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship please visit http://www.scottishbooktrust.com.

 Notes to Editors:

  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to people worldwide. www.scottishbooktrust.com.

Biographies:

  • Tom Pow: Pow’s poetry collections have won several awards, and three have been short-listed for Scottish Book of the Year. Dear Alice, Narratives of Madness, won the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Poetry Book of the Year in 2009. An exhibition of creative work based on his collection of essays, travelogues, stories and poems, In Another World – Among Europe’s Dying Villages, runs at the National Library of Scotland from April to July this year. Pow was the first Writer in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (2001-2003), and in 2013 was the Bartholomew Writer in Residence at the National Library of Scotland.
  • Lisa Ballantyne: Ballantyne attended the University of St Andrews and spent most of her twenties in China. In 2002 she returned to Scotland to work in Higher Education and now lives and works in Glasgow. Her debut novel, The Guilty One, has been an international success, and her second novel is set to be published by Little Brown in 2015.
  • Iain Johnstone: Johnstone has been a professional theatre composer, actor, director and writer for twenty-six years. He has worked with many Scottish theatre companies including Theatre Workshop, Dundee Rep, The Royal Lyceum, Communicado, as well as spending six years at Northern Stage Newcastle. Returning to Edinburgh, Johnstone joined Wee Stories Theatre and co-created much of the company’s most acclaimed work, including his one-man show, One Giant Leap.
  • Stuart Paterson: Born and brought up in Ayrshire, Paterson received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 1992 and a Scottish Arts Council Writer’s Bursary in 1993, with his first collection, Saving Graces, published in 1997 and nominated for a Saltire Society ‘First Book’ award. His work has appeared in many publications and in many newspapers & magazines. He was Dumfries & Galloway Writer-in-Residence 1996-98, and won the Poetry & Small Presses Federation Poetry Slam in Birmingham in 1997. He returned to live by the sea & write in Galloway in 2012.

 For interview requests and further information, contact PR Manager Helen Croney: helen.croney@scottishbooktrust.com  T: 0131 524 0175 M: 07751 69 58 54