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Press release: Writers take next step with Ignite Fellowship

Ignite Fellowship 2022 awardees announced

Collage of Meghan Flaherty, Michael Lee Richardson, and Martin MacIntyre's headshots

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has today announced the fourth Ignite Fellowship awardees. The Fellowship supports established writers who are embarking on a significant project. This year, the panel has selected author Meghan Flaherty from East Lothian and writer Michael Lee Richardson from Glasgow. Martin MacIntyre, an author and storyteller from Edinburgh has been selected as the Gaelic Ignite Fellowship awardee, funded by the Gaelic Books Council.

The Ignite Fellows will receive a £2000 bursary and tailored creative support to suit their individual projects. The fellowship will run for one year, from December 2021 to December 2022.

Meghan Flaherty is the author of Tango Lessons, which Kirkus Reviews called 'a vibrantly intelligent reading pleasure.' She has an M.F.A. from Columbia University in literary nonfiction. Her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, The Iowa Review, Psychology Today, Parents, and online at the New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She moved to Scotland in September 2020.

During her Ignite Fellowship, Meghan will be working on her second book, a memoir about motherhood, memory, and the self – the stories we tell each other in order to live, and how those narratives define us.

Meghan Flaherty said:

'I'm deeply honoured and delighted to be given the extra boost. With two small boys at home, my work is often first to slip from focus. Scottish Book Trust just gave me the support to change that, at least for this year!'

As well as a writer, Michael Lee Richardson is a youth worker. Their short film, My Loneliness is Killing Me – directed by Tim Courtney – won a BAFTA Scotland Award in 2018. Michael's new short, Who I Am Now – directed by Jack Goessens – will be released soon. Their radio drama, The End of the World, aired on BBC Radio Scotland, and their books The Extraordinary Life of Alan Turing and The Extraordinary Life of Freddie Mercury were published by Puffin.

During their Ignite Fellowship, Michael will work on The Other Team, a young adult novel set in Glasgow that follows the trials and tribulations of Mosaic, a ragtag football team made up of young gay, bisexual and transgender men. It is based on characters from Michael's short story of the same title which appears in the award-winning young adult anthology PROUD. Football forms the backdrop for the dramas of the young characters' lives at home, touching on key themes of mental health, sex and relationships, with strong themes of community, friendship and team spirit.

Michael Lee Richardson said:

'When I first started out as a writer, I used Scottish Book Trust's website to learn how to write, and to find and apply for opportunities, and they’ve always been there for me as a writer – from being part of their Labs, to winning the New Writer’s Award, and delivering workshops as part of their Live Literature programme – so I’m delighted to receive this Fellowship and to be working with them again. The Other Team is an idea I've had for a long time, and I'm so, so excited to get started.'

Martin MacIntyre is an acclaimed author, bard and storyteller, who has worked across these genres for over twenty years; he has written eight works of fiction and one collection of poems. In 2003 his short-stories in Gaelic and English, Ath-Aithne (Re-acquaintance), won The Saltire Society First Book Award. His novels Gymnippers Diciadain (Wednesday Gymnippers) and An Latha As Fhaide (The Longest Day) were in contention for their Book of The Year awards in 2005 and 2008 while his second story collection Cala Bendita's a Bheannachdan (Cala Bendita and its Blessings) was shortlisted for both The Donald Meek Award and The Saltire Literary Book of The Year in 2014.

For his Ignite Fellowship, Martin will be honing a new manuscript of Gaelic poems, inspired by Catalonia and Wales, to maximize their potential reach in up to four languages: Gaelic, Catalan, Welsh and English.

Martin MacIntyre said:

'I am delighted; this is a very useful opportunity at this point in my career as a poet and specifically regarding this current ambitious collection. Catalonia and Wales proved fertile areas for the seeds of poems to grow and I am indebted to those whose company I shared on the way.'

'Tha mi air mo dhòigh glan; 's e cothrom glè fheumail a tha sa phrogram aig an ìre seo nam dhreuchd mar bhàrd agus gu h-àraid a thaobh a' chruinneachaidh ùir amasaich seo.

'S ann gu math torrach a bha ùir nan dàn an Catalonia is sa Chuimrigh is bu thoigh leam taing a thoirt dha na daoine fialaidh a ghabh rium air mo shlighe.'

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

'Congratulations to our three new Ignite Fellows. We're grateful to our funders for supporting this programme for a fourth year, providing writers with essential mentoring and financial assistance that will help their careers reach new heights.'

Notes to Editors

For all media enquiries, please contact PR and Marketing Manager Keara Donnachie: Keara.Donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 07956 773749.

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity that believes everyone living in Scotland should have equal access to books. Our work provides opportunities to improve life chances through books and the fundamental skills of reading and writing. Access to books and a love of books bring many important benefits from family bonding and advancing children's learning, to unlocking creativity, helping employability and improving mental health & well-being. Scottish Book Trust aims to support all communities across Scotland, with particular focus on those who are vulnerable and under-represented.

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In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

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Creative Scotland

Scottish Book Trust is supported by Creative Scotland through Regular Funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com(this will open in a new window).

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Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic Books in Scotland and internationally.

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