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Anthology guidelines

A guide to producing an anthology as part of a Scottish Book Trust programme

Anthologies are a great way to celebrate and remember a project in years to come. We know that you have your own policies about images, names and creative work, especially in schools. This doesn’t replace them, but where Scottish Book Trust funding programmes are involved in producing an anthology, we need you to make sure the book is safe as defined by your policies and those of Scottish Book Trust.

From September 2019, you can use a maximum of half of a fully-funded Live Literature School Residency grant of £500 towards a published anthology. From past projects, we have found that using the full grant for this purpose does not leave enough funding to support the workshops fully, and the priority for this funding is to support the workshop activities and the experience of the pupils.

Live Literature's part-funded programme can support workshops where the aim is to generate work that will be included in a publication but we cannot provide grants towards the cost of printing, typesetting, proofing or distribution.

Publishing an anthology is a really good thing, and lots of projects have done this well. Here are some things to consider, discuss and be sure about when planning your project.

Are you respecting the human rights of your young writers?

This has never been more important than now, when more and more projects are publishing online as well as in print. This gives a much longer online life to publications that might have had a limited print run in years past. Read about the 5 Rights(this link will open in a new window) young people have in the digital world and check your project plan respects them. 

Is this the best way to showcase your project?

A published book is one great, exciting way to celebrate a project, but there are others. Is it truly, absolutely in the best interests of the young people and vulnerable adults featured to publish this work?

Consider the theme of the book carefully. Have the writers been brought together by an experience they may not always want to be connected to their name? e.g. do they all live with the same chronic condition, or have they all experienced the same kind of trauma or family situation? 

Creative writing can be a powerful tool for self-expression, empowerment and catharsis, but consider (with your participants and their carers, if appropriate) whether it would be better to publish or share their work without recording or emphasising the fact that may have brought the group together.

You owe it to your participants to ask these questions and to discuss the book with them at the earliest possible stage so that the decision to publish their work is a) informed and b) their own. 

Are the stories based on the lives of your writers?

Specific details can add texture and life to a story, but are they specific enough to identify a young person or their family in their local area? If someone is writing about a true, personal experience, to what extent does the writer want this information to be publicly available and identified with then, now and in the future. For example, will the publication of a school anthology out an LGBTQ+ pupil, and is that the way the pupil wants to share this information?

What happens next?

Consider what happens if this book is connected with the young writers, vulnerable adults or families in the future – e.g. they’re tagged on a social network because of it in five or ten years from now, long after they've left school or stopped using services your organisation provides. If the information or images in the book could cause harm later, reconsider your approach to the piece, theme or project accordingly.

Consider future embarrassment as a type of harm as well - for example, would the story, if found in an online e-book, seriously affect how a future employer might view a young person e.g. detailing risky behaviour?

So your writers are certain of the decision to publish and you have a plan. What happens when you’re sharing the book with people at events and online?

An author’s involvement will amplify your reach and message.

Does your author have a huge twitter following or Instagram following? Does their newsletter go to tens of countries around the world?

Set boundaries clearly and quickly with visiting authors. Remember, they don’t know your service users or pupils the way you do, and they have no reason to be familiar with your protection policies ahead of the project.

Scottish Book Trust’s involvement will amplify your reach and message.

This is a good thing! But it may lead to your anthology (and the work in it) being seen by audiences you don’t know, who are outside of your community, e.g. we may tweet a copy of the book or link to it on our twitter, which has over 40,000 followers. Your decisions about how to share the book need to account for this, even if your organisation’s usual policies are based on a much lower level of public attention.

Get in touch

If you have questions about this, you can email live.literature@scottishbooktrust.com(this link will open in a new window) or read Creative Scotland's guide to child protection and creative work, Creating Safety(this link will open in a new window)