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Is there a writer in the house?

Virtual residencies


Fruitmarket bookshop exterior. Photo: Michael Wolchover

Hospitals, schools, prisons, libraries, museums, universities ... these are just some of the organisations which have hosted writer-in-residence projects supported by the Scottish Arts Council. In fact the Scottish Arts Council has supported well over 100 writers-in-residence posts over the years, allowing professional, published writers to work with organisations and local authorities throughout Scotland.


Just as no two authors are the same, no two residencies are identical, however a writer-in-residence is normally a published writer who is based within an organisation or institution for a set period, dividing their time between working with the ‘host’ community and working on their own writing.

The writer-in-residence works with the local community on writing projects and activities, improving literacy skills, encouraging creativity, mentoring budding new writers and often helping to produce an invaluable account of a local culture or history - or anthologies of new creative writing from those taking part in the residency. The residency also provides the writer with an opportunity to develop their own work and draw inspiration from the residency setting.

The Scottish Arts Council is currently supporting seven writer-in-residence posts, including poet Tim Turnbull working with staff and inmates at HMP Edinburgh in a residency organised by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature project; and playwright and poet Liz Lochhead, who is writer-in-residence with the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art.

Virtual residencies

Residencies are not just about working face-to-face with people.  One of the more unusual residencies which is nearing completion is a virtual residency in Dumfries and Galloway.  The virtual residency aims to overcome the challenges of distance and isolation within this large rural region, by providing online writing projects, co-ordinated by the writer in residence Jules Horne, a fiction writer and playwright.

Keith Gray, virtual writer in residence at the Scottish Book Trust

Virtual residencies are also being pursued by the Scottish Book Trust to target teenage writers. SBT are running online writing masterclasses for 12 – 16 year olds using video podcasts by writer Keith Gray (pctured). For more information visit Scottish Book Trust.

External links
* Scottish Book Trust
* Tim Turnball
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