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Scots Language Publication Grant Awardees 2020

The Scots Language Publication Grant supports Scots publishers and encourages Scots writers

Shelves full with books

We are delighted to announce the nine new titles to be supported by the Scots Language Publication Grant.

The Scots Language Publication Grant provides assistance for publishing new work (including translated texts), reprinting existing historical or culturally significant work, and also effective marketing and promotion of existing and new work

A Nicht Afore Christmas - Tippermuir

By Irene McFarlane, illustrated by Rosemary Cunningham

A Nicht Afore Christmas is an illustrated children’s book in Scots built upon the well-kent nineteenth-century poem, ‘The Night Before Christmas’. Irene McFarlane, the translator, is a Scots language user and writer, who has taught Scots language to children for forty years. Irene’s translation aims to position Scots into the centre of mainstream culture, tapping into recognisable and revered cultural products so that the Scots can be creative and playful without distancing the reader. The illustrations are by renowned Glasgow illustrator, Rosemary Cunningham. Her work is accessible and popular, with her drawings for this project setting the poem in a visually Scottish setting, to match the language – the National Trust for Scotland's Tenement House in Glasgow.

“Efter ower 40 year o sharin Scots poetry wi bairns in the skuil, A’m gey jaco this siller lats me share Scots wi bairns as translator o ane o ma favourite poems. Pittin Scots leid at the hairt o yuletide shaws that it is pairt o oor day-to-day, an aw oor celebrations, no juist in the Burns season.”

Irene McFarlane

“I live in a Glasgow tenement flat, just a three minute walk from the Tenement House museum which inspires my illustrations for the book. I’ve worked with communities, created products, run workshops, built art, but this is my first book and it is so exciting! I am thrilled to be working with such wonderful people and to be playing a wee part in promoting Scots language by drawing the city I love.”

Rosemary Cunningham

A Short Story Collection in Scots - Luath

By Gerda Stevenson

A short story collection in Scots by Gerda Stevenson. Gerda is an award-winning writer, actor, theatre director and singer-songwriter. She has worked on stage, television, radio, film and in opera, throughout the UK and abroad.

“I look forward to the challenge of another creative journey into the unknown with the supple Scots language, and appreciate the support of this grant.”

Gerda Stevenson

But N Ben A Go Go (audiobook) - Luath

By Matthew Fitt

It is 2090. God's Flood has left the world underwater. A supervirus has hospitalised most of the population in huge warehouse hospices for the terminally ill. Scotland's people survive on floating cities in the Clyde Delta, besieged by fifty degree heat, cybergangsters like Diamond Broon and radge hurricanes called Elvis. Written entirely in Scots (with an introduction for readers new to this rich Scottish language). Matthew Fitt's SF classic in the Mither Tongue is more relevant today than ever.

But n Ben A-Go-Go is the first novel by Matthew Fitt. Originally published in 2000 to great acclaim, it was selected as one of The List’s Best Scottish Books of All Time.

“The Scots Language Publishing Grant is a welcome boost for Scots writing. A braw initiative fae the Scottish Government and the Scottish Book Trust.”

Matthew Fitt

Duck Feet – Monstrous Regiment

By Ely Percy

Duck Feet is a novel which builds its narrative through quirky vignettes. Written in a Renfrewshire dialect, it follows the life of Kirsty Campbell and friends, and the changes they encounter from first to sixth year at the fictional high school Renfrew Grammar. It uses humour to deal with hard-hitting issues such as drugs, bullying, first love, sexuality, and teenage pregnancy.

“I feel incredibly lucky and thoroughly delighted to have been awarded the Scots Language Publication Grant for my episodic novel Duck Feet.

I’ve been writing short stories in the Scottish vernacular for over twenty years now – ever since I read James Kelman’s Booker prize-winning novel How Late It Was, How Late. To have received this level of support from the Scottish Government, the Scots Language Publication Network and the Scottish Book Trust is not only validating, it’s very, very exciting.”

Ely Percy

“As a working-class press battling not just the usual challenges of independent publishing in this economy, but during a year with a pandemic too, grants like this mean our business can survive – the Scots Language Publication Grant comes at a time when we need it most. We truly believe Duck Feet can be the start of something wonderful, and we can’t wait to bring readers this incredible novel.”

Ellen Desmond, CEO of Monstrous Regiment Publishing

Ghost Polis - Luath

By Matthew Fitt

Ghost Polis is the much-anticipated second novel by Matthew Fitt. Since 2000’s But N Ben N Go Go, Matthew has co-founded Itchy Coo and written numerous children’s books in Scots including the bestselling Scots version of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and continues to visit schools across the country.

We warmly congratulate the Scottish Government, The Scots Language Resource Network and Scottish Book Trust on setting up the Scots Language Publishing Grant scheme to support the publication and promotion of books in Scots.”

Gavin MacDougall, Director, Luath Press

Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Itchy Coo

By Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

The Itchy Coo Book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales is a translation of the Orchard edition, published by Hachette in 2011.

One of Itchy Coo’s long-term aims is to embed reading in Scots for pleasure into the reading habits of a large section of the population. They want to build a small Scots library of classic children’s literature that can sit comfortably and permanently on any bookshelf, to be read by children themselves or shared with parents, teachers, librarians and others. With this in view, they have identified Grimm’s Fairy Tales as the second book in this library, which already includes The Itchy Coo Book of Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales and will be followed by Aesop’s Fables and others.

“The stories of the Brothers Grimm really lend themselves to the Scots language. Our authors will be desperate to get stuck into this world of wicked witches, bairns lost in the woods, gallus puddocks and glaikit princesses, and bring it alive in their own rich dialects of Scots.”

Matthew Fitt and James Robertson

Scotsaga - Luath

By Donald Smith

Scotsaga will be a bold reinvention in one interlinked narrative of Norse sagas, myths, folktales and legends connected with Scotland.

The extent of Norse influence on Scotland is consistently underestimated, or mistakenly restricted to the far north of Scotland. Norse culture and language impacted on all parts of Scotland, and its narratives are integral to Scotland’s literature. By linking old Norse to its sister tongue Scots, ScotSaga brings the Norse world into the centre of Scottish self-expression, not just as a translation but as an exuberant recreation.

“I am honoured to receive support from the Scots Publication Grant fund. I want to show how Scots takes us into new areas of cultural expression and linguistic virtuosity. I hope that Scotsaga will intrigue readers and sustain the role of Scots as an international literary medium.' 

Donald Smith

The Classics in Scots - Luath

By William Imray Brown

The Ancient Greek classic poets, historians and playwrights are little known in modern Scotland but they are among the greatest writers in western literature. Here, in translations closely modelled on the sound-structures, rhythms and forms of the Ancient Greek originals, are fresh versions in the Scots language of selections from the lyrical poetry of Sappho, the tragic drama of Aeschylus, the history of Thucydides and the Homeric Epics.

The volume includes an introduction to the history of translation of the classics in Scottish literature, from Gavin Douglas in the 16th century to Douglas Young in the 20th century, by Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.

“These treasures of Ancient Greek culture are well known in translations into English and other languages, and it is important that they can be read in Scots which draws on words and idioms from the dialects from Lerwick to Lockerbie. The rhythms and music of Ancient Greek literature are as important as its words, and this is the first translation which seeks to convey this dimension fully.”

William Imray Brown

The Leerie – Leerie Press

By Stuart Armstrong and Joseph Daly, illustrated by Jack Solomon Smith

Leerie Press is a new zine and comic publishing company initially set up to publish ‘The Leerie’. We’re very excited about being awarded funding from the Scots Language Publication Grant, and we are very grateful to the Scots Language Resource Network and Scottish Book Trust for their support. We look forward to getting the ball rolling and bringing you ‘The Leerie’, along with other projects soon!

“We’re delighted that our story has resonated with the Scots Language Publication Grant panel, and are very thankful for the opportunity to publish our graphic novel. We hope that the story of ‘The Leerie’ resonates with our readers in the same way, and that our use of Scots will not only enhance and enrich the world of the story, but introduce more people to the balladry and poetic identity and legacy of the language.”

Stuart Armstrong & Joseph Daly, Leerie Press

About the Scots Language Publication Grant

The Scots Language Publication Grant is administrated by The Scots Language Resource Network, which meets twice a year to discuss the coordination and publication of new and existing resources (online and in print) that support speakers, readers, writers, teachers, learners and students of Scots. It currently includes representatives from the following organisations:

The publication grant is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Book Trust.