Launch of Scottish Writing Centre

Tuesday 21 November 2000

Seven of Scotland’s most distinguished living authors and poets will give readings to mark the launch of a new Scottish Writing Centre on Friday 24 November 2000.

The centre, which will be run jointly by the Universities of St Andrews, Glasgow and Strathclyde, aims to pool expertise and develop a networking and publishing framework for the next generation of creative writers.

The Edwin Morgan Centre for Creative Writing, (run jointly by the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde) and St Andrews University are the only two places in Scotland that offer creative writing postgraduate degrees. A significant number of students have been successful in securing publishing agents or contracts and two have already sold the film- rights to their work.

Readings at the Glasgow launch will be given by a number of professional authors who currently teach on the two Creative Writing courses. John Burnside, Robert Crawford, Douglas Dunn and Kathleen Jamie will represent St. Andrews University, whilst their colleagues Margaret Elphinstone, David Kinloch and Zoe Wicomb are based at the Edwin Morgan Centre.

Professor Willy Maley of The Edwin Morgan Centre said: “Young writers need to be creative entrepreneurs if they are to make a living out of their craft. The task of this national writing centre is to build upon the networks founded in Glasgow and St Andrews by creating an environment where writing of new work can be encouraged financially, intellectually and imaginatively.

“The creation of a national writing centre is particularly timely given that the Scottish Executive’s National Cultural Strategy (2000) recognised that ‘the creativity of our citizens is a key national resource’ and that we should increasingly recognise ‘the central role of education in cultural development’. We very much see this collaboration as an embryonic umbrella grouping. Hopefully it will grow and other organisations will bring their expertise on board.”

Adding to this, Professor Robert Crawford of St Andrews University said: “Imaginative writing does not belong to the universities but the fact that creative writing is the fastest growing area of University English Studies is very exciting. It also reflects the reality that Scotland is internationally recognised as a hotbed of literary talent. The making of literary works and conversation between the academy and contemporary writers should be at the heart of the centre’s work.”

It is hoped that the Scottish Writing Centre will develop and co- ordinate literary festivals and international exchanges. St. Andrews’ poetry festival, STANZA, will be expanded to cover the whole of Scotland and will alternate every two years with a Scottish fiction festival to be organised by the Edwin Morgan Centre.

Notes for Editors:  The launch will be held on Friday 24 November from 1200-1400 in the Burns Room of the Mitchell Library, University of Glasgow which houses the library’s contemporary poetry collection. Please access via North Street entrance  A photocall will be held at 11.30  For further information contact press officers at:  University of Glasgow , 0141 330 3535,  St Andrews University, 01334 462530  Strathclyde University, 0141 548 4123


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