Last month saw the Scottish Book Trust hold their Spotlight On Writing reception at the Scottish Parliament, an event which celebrated the success of the Scottish Book Trust’s writing programmes, campaigns and awards. The event was sponsored by MSP Joan McAlpine who gave an introductory speech highlighting the achievements of the Scottish Book Trust, and reminding us that “books take readers down roads untrodden before.”

Marc Lambert, CEO gave us a whistle-stop tour of some of these acheivements; informing the audience of how their Bookbug Early Years Programme has reached every child in Scotland, from birth to Primary 1; and how the Attainment and Early Years Programme has gifted nearly one million books to families and children in Scotland. They also run the annual New Writers Awards and their Next Chapter award, which famously supported Gail Honeyman in her writing of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Their What’s Your Story? Programme for young writers, funded by the Big Lottery and private donations, continues to develop under the careful watch of writing community mentors, and the readings from Nathan Ezra-Jackson and Beth Banerjee-Richards were shining examples of how this programme is thriving.

Lambert highlighted that it’s not just the Scottish Book Trust who are the driving force behind this phenomenal work, but Scotland’s own community of writers; who are committed to bringing their writing to Scottish communities. They’re pushing for writing resources in schools and for reform on educational policy. “Writing gives children agency in society today – our writers make this happen.”

Poet and performer, Michael Pedersen shared his experience of being supported by the Scottish Book Trust’s Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship; a month-long residency in Paris, with Pedersen sharing, “it’s not just a month – I went back a year later and ended up having a picnic with Liz Lochhead in Paris!” Highlighting that these opportunities long outlast the time-frame of the programme, as they inevitably open doors. He commented that “Empowering young people to build their own performance gives them confidence that has a knock-on effect on other aspects of their lives.”

Photos courtesy of Kat Gollock.

Find out more about the work of the Scottish Book Trust here.