How to Apply for Live Literature: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about applying for author visits, we’ve collected some of the most frequently asked questions on this page.

If you have been awarded sessions and you have a question about how to contact an author, arrange book sales, promote your event, or about expenses, payment and invoicing, please take a look at our information for event organisers. We also have information for Live Literature authors.


What is a session?

A session is an author visit that is approximately one hour long, with one author (maximum length: one and a half hours). Our programme provides a package of support to help you make the most of an author getting involved in your work.  


How many sessions can you apply for?

You can apply for as many sessions as you can use and that your budget can support. You can also apply for one single session.


How much does it cost?

The Live Literature programme supports sessions with authors but you will be asked to contribute to the author’s fee. Scottish Book Trust pays authors listed on our database a fee of £175, plus expenses, for each Live Literature session they carry out. We will invoice you for £75 plus VAT (a total of £90) for each session carried out. You can find more information about how we pay authors for Live Literature events here.


Can we apply for Live Literature if we have funding from Creative Scotland?

If your project or organisation receives funding from Creative Scotland, you cannot use that funding to meet the cost of hosting Live Literature sessions (£75 plus VAT per visit). The Live Literature programme is funded by Creative Scotland so this is double-funding. However, if you can meet the cost of hosting Live Literature sessions using alternative funds, you can apply, even if your organisation receives Creative Scotland funding for a different project or purpose.


Can an author who works for our organisation carry out the project? 

You cannot apply for sessions featuring authors who are in a leading role within your organisation e.g. director, chair, board level. In exceptional circumstances, contact Scottish Book Trust before booking the author to discuss this further. 


We're worried about a potential conflict of interest - can you help? 

Get in touch with us and we'll do our best to help. The panel changes at each deadline and panelists are asked to declare any conflicts of interest as we go through applications. Depending on the nature of the conflict of interest, a panelist might not contribute to the decision on that application, or might leave the room until the decision is made. For any queries:


Can the author we’d like to work with make the application for us?

No, authors can’t apply for sessions on your behalf. We award the sessions directly to the organisation so that they can be used even if you cannot book your first choice of author.


Who can carry out Live Literature sessions?

Only authors on our database are eligible to carry out Live Literature events. Our database lists approximately 700 writers (including poets), illustrators, storytellers, playwrights, spoken word artists, graphic novelists, screenwriters and cartoonists.


Can we apply for support for a project that runs over several years?

Each round of applications is different and our panel changes every time. You can apply if your project runs over several years, for example, your school is running a Patron of Reading project. However, we can’t guarantee you’ll get all of the sessions you ask for at each deadline. Please consider other ways you can support your project if future applications are not fully awarded.


Can we charge audience members for tickets?

You can charge up to a maximum of £5 per ticket to cover venue hire or refreshments, but the ticket price must not be used to meet the cost of paying your contribution to the author's fee. If your event takes place in a school, please read our guidance here.


How are Live Literature decisions made?

Scottish Book Trust supports a set number of sessions every year. We calculate how many we can support by using the average cost of a session during the previous year and the total funding granted to Scottish Book Trust by Creative Scotland.

After the deadline has passed, we assess all applications at a two-day panel meeting. The panel may include representatives from Scottish Book Trust, Creative Scotland and members of the Live Literature Advisory Panel.


When will I find out the result of my application?

We will let you know whether your application has been successful or unsuccessful within six weeks of the deadline.


What are the panel looking for in your application?

Imagination: We like to support interesting, imaginative sessions which show a commitment to the promotion and enjoyment of reading and writing.
Your local authority area: We aim to support events and projects that reach as wide a range of people as possible and events are spread throughout every local authority in Scotland.
Clear outcomes: We want to support sessions that have a clear and demonstrable benefit. We want to know how many people will benefit from the events and how. We also like to know how the session fits in with any other activity you're planning and whether it will have a legacy.
Your history of funding: Decisions are not affected by whether or not you have received sessions in the past. However, we will consider whether you have used sessions well in the past and provided us with evidence of this (completed evaluation forms and so on). Equally we will take on board any past misuse of sessions (unused sessions without good cause, delays in payment).


You can read some advice from previous panellists on our blog. You can download a guide to the application form here.



Can we charge pupils to attend the session?

You cannot ask pupils to pay a cost to help you meet the cost of organising the author visit. It is a condition of any sessions awarded that you do not charge pupils a cost to attend any session held in, or organised by, a school.


Can independent schools apply?

As a result of extreme pressure on resources, schools unable to afford author visits without support from Live Literature will be given priority. Due to this, we cannot usually prioritise applications from independent schools. However, our panel will consider all applications.


Does the application have to reference the outcomes in the Curriculum for Excellence?

Scottish Book Trust knows that teachers and school librarians will take the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence into account. Although we know you refer to these to demonstrate your wider aims, we don’t need you to detail how your project will deliver the experiences and outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence in your application. We are most concerned with how your project will inspire a love of reading and writing, so please focus on this.