Criteria for Joining the Live Literature Database

Live Literature is a Scottish Book Trust programme that works with people across Scotland to bring authors from our database into communities (including writers, playwrights, storytellers, performance poets and illustrators.)

Authors who carry out Live Literature events must meet the criteria on this page. Scottish Book Trust lists authors on our online database, where you can read about their work and the events they are available to carry out.

Applications are accepted from a wide variety of professional writers, poets, performance poets, playwrights, storytellers, illustrators, cartoonists and graphic novelists.

Due to this, not all of the criteria will be relevant for everyone. 

To apply, you must read:

  • the criteria for all applications
  • the criteria for the category that best fits your experience as a professional writer
  • how to apply

Please note that processing database applications can take 6-8 weeks, particularly at busy times in our programme, and that we cannot fast track applications. Please leave enough time to apply, especially around Live Literature deadlines in January and September. Self-published authors will hear the result of their application within one month of the next meeting of our Advisory Group.

For more information on the Live Literature Advisory Group, click here.

Contents

Criteria for all applications
Traditionally published writers (including poets)
Playwrights
Performance poets
Storytellers
Writers (including poets) who are widely published in literary magazines, journals or anthologies
Writers working in film, television and radio
Illustrators, cartoonists and graphic novelists
Self-published writers (including poets)
How to apply and when you will hear the result of your application
Feedback on the criteria and complaints procedure

 

Full criteria

Criteria for all applications

You must live and work in Scotland. If you live in Scotland for part of the year please outline your availability in your application and you will be accepted at the discretion of Scottish Book Trust.

You can submit one application at a time only, to one category, though you may write/illustrate/perform in more than one way. If your application is successful, you will be asked to detail the full range of your skills and experience on your profile.

All application forms, in all categories, will request:  

  • two references
  • a record of some events you have carried out as a professional or featured writer, or you can direct us to your enclosed CV
  • a sample outline of how you would carry out an event with school pupils, if you would like to carry out events in schools

We may ask to see a copy of your publishing contract, if you have one, or an example of your work. Scottish Book Trust has the right to turn down any applicant based on quality of work.

New applicants may be invited for interview. The interview panel will consist of an author who carries out Live Literature events as well as staff from Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland.

Please be aware:

  • Some local authorities may ask you to complete Disclosure Scotland checks before carrying out sessions with young people or vulnerable adults.
  • Some local authorities may ask you to take out public liability insurance before carrying out sessions on their premises.
  • If you need advice about Disclosure checks or public liability insurance, please get in touch with the Society of Authors in Scotland or the Cultural Enterprise Office.

 

Traditionally published writers (including poets)

You must be a practising, published creative writer of fiction, poetry or literary narrative non-fiction.

Narrative non-fiction is a form of writing that is stylistically similar to fiction but used to tell factual stories, e.g. memoir, literary criticism, travel writing and biography. This does not include textbooks, guidebooks, standard non-fiction history books or collections of humour/jokes. 

Writers should have at least one published book. This book will be

  • In print and published within the last ten years
  • Published, marketed and sold to a reputable standard (e.g. widely available in bookshops in Scotland)
  • Printed books that are sold online only/through mail order only are not eligible. Print-on-demand titles are not eligible.

Playwrights

Playwrights who have had at least one professional production of their work performed within the last ten years can apply. This means that the company who produced your play is legally constituted, or a Scottish Society of Playwrights' contract (or equivalent) was in place or you received public funding, a commission or a fee for your work. 

Performance poets

Performance poets who can demonstrate a regular record of professional performance over a period of at least two years can apply.

Your experience of professional performing should include:

  • some featured sets of at least 15-20 minutes,
  • sets have been performed at a variety of events e.g. several different literary nights or festivals, run by different programmers,
  • events have been programmed and promoted to a reputable standard.

Please note:

  • Appearances at slams and open mics (unless as a programmed, featured poet) are not eligible.
  • We will ask for a list of up to 15 of these appearances as part of your application (date, event, location, set length).
  • Your range of past events can include events not held in Scotland; however, you should be able to demonstrate some recent experience of performing in Scotland.
  • We may ask to see a recording of your work from within the last two years.

Storytellers

Traditional and contemporary storytellers on the Directory of Storytellers are eligible to be included on our database. First, please register on the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s directory then please email us with a link to your profile there.

You do not need to have a profile on our database to carry out Live Literature supported events if you are registered on the Directory of Storytellers already.

Writers (including poets) who have been widely published in literary magazines, journals or anthologies

Writers who have six separate publications in a range of established literary magazines, journals or anthologies can apply. Your application will be accepted at the discretion of Scottish Book Trust. Academic publishing credits and online publishing are not included.

  • For literary magazines, journals and periodicals, please make sure your listed publications are:
    • published regularly (monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly)
    • produced to a professional standard
    • in circulation for at least 12 months
    • have an ISBN or ISSN number
    • distributed in Scotland
    • not self-published
  • For anthologies, please make sure your listed publications are:
    • In print and published within the last ten years
    • Published, marketed and sold to a reputable standard (e.g. widely available in bookshops in Scotland).
    • Printed books that are sold online only/through mail order only are not eligible. Print-on-demand titles are not eligible.
  • Pamphlets published, marketed and sold to a reputable standard can be included as a publication. Please note: self-published pamphlets are not eligible.

Writers working in film, television and radio

Writers working in film, television, children’s television and radio can apply. You must be able to demonstrate significant experience working at a professional level to be accepted onto the database. This will include at least one of the following:

  • a feature film script that has been commissioned and produced by a third party producer or production company, and was released theatrically in the UK;
  • a drama or professionally produced radio play/piece that has been commissioned and broadcast on TV, radio or through a reputable third party streaming service (e.g. BBC, Netflix);
  • an extensive record of professionally produced short films that have screened in competition at a range of internationally recognised film festivals (see BAFTA recognised festivals list);
  • a minimum of 2 years working on professional productions in a post that creates, commissions or guides the content of film, television or radio productions such as screenwriter, storyliner, story editor, development executive or creative producer.

Credits should include work that has been marketed and distributed in the UK to a reputable standard but may also include work distributed internationally. If your application only contains work that has been optioned or is still in development but has not yet been produced, we may ask you to provide a reference from the production company.  

 

Illustrators, cartoonists and graphic novelists

Graphic novelists, cartoonists and illustrators can apply. Your application form will ask for detailed information on how workshops or events you carry out will demonstrate the use of illustration as a narrative tool.

Self-published writers (including poets)

For our database, the definition of a self-published writer is someone who publishes their own work (in part or in full). This includes:

  • Online and digital publishing
  • Those who have paid for or contributed to payment of having their work published
  • Those who own or direct publishing companies
  • Publishing co-operatives

We assess applications from self-published writers at a panel twice a year.

  • To apply, except in exceptional cases, you must have sold over 300 copies of a single title in print or 500 copies as an e-book within a 12-month period (as per the Society of Authors eligibility). Please send an email request for an application form and a note of your sales to Kay.Bohan@scottishbooktrust.com.
  • The panel meets twice a year to decide if the books submitted as evidence of self-published work are equivalent to industry standard. The panel assess self-published work based on the following: production values, editorial values, illustration quality (if applicable) and quality of content. The panel will provide broad feedback on applications.
  • The panel’s decision is final. If unsuccessful, you cannot re-submit the same piece of work to a future panel. You can submit new work or work that has been significantly altered. You can only submit under the self-published category three times but you can apply under a different category if you become eligible in another way.

How to apply and when you will hear the result of your application

Please email Kay.Bohan@scottishbooktrust.com to request an application form. Please let us know which category you’d like to apply for. If you aren’t sure which category best fits your experience as a professional writer, get in touch.  

Please note that processing database applications can take 6-8 weeks, particularly at busy times in our programme, and that we cannot fast track applications. Please leave plenty of time to apply. Self-published authors will hear the result of their application within one month of the next panel meeting.

Scottish Book Trust cannot be held liable for earnings lost due to the time taken to process database applications.

Feedback on the criteria and complaints procedure

The Live Literature Advisory Panel reviews the criteria for the author database twice a year. If you have feedback or suggestions, please email Kay.Bohan@scottishbooktrust.com. The panel will consider your feedback at the next meeting. Please note: we cannot make changes or exceptions to the published criteria between reviews.

Scottish Book Trust and the panel’s decisions on applications are final. If you would like to send feedback about the criteria, please email as above. If you have any complaints about the application process, please follow our complaints procedure.