Billy Letford's Poems to be Published

Category: Writing

Stirling-based roofer and poet William Letford, one of the very first winners of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, has secured a publishing deal with Carcanet Press for his first volume of poetry. 

The book, entitled Bevel, will be published in November 2012.

William, who has an MLitt (Distinction) in Creative Writing from Glasgow University, was the recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2008. He currently lives in Stirling and works as a roofer. He said:

“I am indebted to the Scottish Book Trust, not just for the confidence I gained from receiving a New Writer's Award, but for all the help and support they have given me in the intervening years since.”

Michael Schmidt, Managing and Editorial Director of Carcanet Press, said:

“Billy first stood out to me as a remarkable performer of his work, speaking it from memory and keeping his eye on the audience, not the page. His poems are always accessible, but they are not as simple as they may seem at first: their resonances are deep in popular speech and in the poetry that informs them, Scottish and international.

 “It is one of the privileges of being a teacher to find occasionally the living thing fully formed, a literature student who is actually producing literature; as a publisher, the privilege and pleasure are also intense.”

The New Writers Awards have been managed by Scottish Book Trust, in association with Creative Scotland, since 2008 and each year they provide eight new, unpublished writers with financial support to enable them to concentrate on their work, as well as professional guidance to move towards publication.   

The recipients each receive a cash award of £2,000 as well as a bespoke professional development package which can include nine months working with a mentor, and networking opportunities with publishers and literary agents. 

Caitrin Armstrong, Writer Development Manager at Scottish Book Trust, said: 

“Billy is one of the most original and striking voices in modern Scottish writing and we are over the moon that his poetry has been recognised by Carcanet. The New Writers Awards give talented writers like Billy the time and space to develop their material and we’re thrilled that these awards have paved the way for Billy’s writing to reach the wider world.”

Dr Gavin Wallace, Portfolio Manager for Literature, Publishing and Language at Creative Scotland, said:

"We are thrilled about Billy’s successful breakthrough.  It’s proof that this investment in the writers of the future is about far more than money; the recognition and validation the New Writers’ Awards bestow is just as important, enabling real and substantial career advancement for authors."

Other recent New Writers Award successes include a previous winner, Roy Gill, being taken on by an agent, shortlisted for the Kelpie Prize and offered a publishing deal with Floris. Another, Kirsty Logan, was selected for broadcast on BBC Radio 4, received third place in the Bridport Prize and was selected as one of the Best British Short Stories 2011alongside Hilary Mantel and John Burnside.  Two recent winners were also approached by editors following the showcase event.

To find out more about the News Writers Awards, see the Writers and Writing section of our website.