Author Jess Richards Awarded Ardtornish Retreat 2014

Jess Richards
Category: Press Releases

Scottish Book Trust is delighted to announce that its 2014 Ardtornish Retreat, which aims to support writing of literary excellence, has been awarded to acclaimed Scottish author Jess Richards. 

The Ardtornish Retreat, a partnership between Scottish Book Trust and The Ardtornish Estate and supported by Alexander McCall Smith, comprises a month-long stay in Rose Cottage at Ardtornish Estate on the west coast of Scotland, and will take place from 31 May to 28 June. The aim of the retreat is to provide a published author with the creative space to write while spending time on the spectacular Morvern peninsula.

Jess was born in Wales but grew up in Dumfries and Galloway with her three brothers. She lived in England from the age of 17 but has recently returned to Stranraer. She is the author of Snake Ropes, which was longlisted for the Green Carnation Prize and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2012 and the Scottish Book Awards 2013. Her second novel, Cooking with Bones, was published in April 2013. Both novels are published in the UK by Sceptre.

During her time at the retreat, Jess will enjoy peace and quiet to work on her current project and on the creation of a new piece of work exclusively for Scottish Book Trust. She will also take part in several local activities, including leading an event in a school and running a workshop for local writers’ groups.

Commenting on the announcement, Jess said:

“I'm absolutely delighted to have been awarded the Ardtornish Writer's Retreat, and can't wait to spend a month writing in such a beautiful environment. I'll be working on a major project and a short story or poems using the estate and surrounding area as 'writing prompts'. Having the chance to be fully submerged in the writing process and also share this with the local community is a rare and precious opportunity.”

Will Mackie,Head of Writer Development at Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We’re thrilled to offer Jess Richards this wonderful opportunity. Jess’s evocative, compelling and uniquely told novels are a genuine highlight of the new fiction published in the last few years. She’s at an exciting point in her career with, I’m certain, many more stories ahead of her. Ardtornish is a staggeringly beautiful and inspiring environment and we wish her well during her stay.”

Hugh Raven, manager and co-owner of Ardtornish estate, said:

“We’re looking forward to welcoming Jess. It’s very affirming for us that such a talented writer sees the creative potential of a month in this place. The retreat is really connecting with the community of Morvern and Ardnamurchan, and it’s great news that Jess highlights that part of the retreat as being important to her.  We’re looking forward to getting to know her, if that’s what she wants – but our top priority is that she has the peace and quiet to use the time as productively as she can.”

The Ardtornish Writers Retreat is a partnership between Scottish Book Trust and The Ardtornish Estate and is supported by Alexander McCall Smith. Previous awardees include Jackie Kay (2012) and Jenni Fagan (2013).

Notes to Editors:

  • Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects including skills development and awards, funds a variety of literature events and promotes Scottish writing to people worldwide.
  • Ardtornish Estate, in Morvern, North Argyll, is owned by the Raven family. The estate’s 35,000 acres of spectacular hill land, 20 miles of coastline, and many rivers and lochs, has inspired writers from Sir Walter Scott to Alexander McCall Smith, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Adam Nicolson. Hugh Raven runs the estate on behalf of his family.
  • Images of Jess Richards and the Ardtornish Estate are available on request from

For interview requests and further information, contact PR Manager Helen Croney:  T: 0131 524 0175 M: 07751 69 58 54