How to Choose the Best Author for Your Event

Scottish Book Trust will only support Live Literature events carried out by authors registered on the database– check the author profiles to double-check eligibility. Storytellers on the Directory of Storytellers can carry out Live Literature events.

If you are an author registered for Live Literature events, and you have a leading role in an organisation, you can’t be the author featured in your organisation’s sessions.

So, you’ve got the sessions... all you need now is the author! The database holds information on hundreds of writers, playwrights, poets, storytellers and illustrators and it is growing each day. Have a look

You can search by type of author (poet, playwright etc.), age group, local authority or even theme using the keyword search (nature, mental health etc).


Author availability

Please be aware that some people are in considerable demand and that others restrict their appearances to certain times of the year, or specific parts of Scotland. If you can’t book your first choice of visitor, please use the author search to find an alternative visitor. If you don’t use your sessions because you could not secure your first choice of author, we will not be able to give an extension and it may affect future applications. Start planning as soon as possible.


Conflicts of interest

If you have a leading role (e.g. director, manager, Board member, chair, committee, senior management) within an organisation, you cannot apply for sessions that you would carry out. If your organisation is awarded sessions, you cannot be paid a Live Literature fee for appearing at a session held by your organisation. In exceptional circumstances, email us at before planning your session.


Contacting authors

Use the author search. For storytellers, you may also wish to check the Directory of Storytellers.

If you would like to contact an author without contact details on their profile, or they have not responded to the contact details given on their profile, please email with your details and your enquiry. We’ll send your contact details to the author as soon as possible. The author will respond to you directly, if they choose to do so, when they are able to do so.

Please be patient; authors have many demands on their time. We will not pass on an unreasonable number of emails or requests to perform unpaid work.


Frequently asked questions about choosing an author

Will authors on your database know we have received sessions and approach us directly?

No – we do not release confidential contact details. Authors may get in touch with your school or group independently but Scottish Book Trust does not release a list of which schools and groups receive sessions.

Will the author have a disclosure or public liability insurance?

Some authors have disclosures but they do not need to have one to be on the Live Literature database or to carry out events with you. If the audience includes children or vulnerable people, it is your responsibility to ensure that the session is supervised at all times by someone appropriately qualified to do so.

You should also make sure that authors have enough support throughout the session. Authors are there to inspire, inform and entertain. For example, in schools, it’s not part of an author’s fee to maintain the discipline of the class during the session – there should always be enough staff present. Authors should not be left alone with pupils or vulnerable adults.

If you are an author, and you need advice about disclosures or public liability insurance, please contact the Society of Authors.

I’ve looked at your database. I don’t know who to invite. Can you help?

We can’t promote one author over another. However, if you want to hold an event around a specific theme, try searching using the keyword field on the database, or email

How can I make sure the author is suited to working with our audience?

If you have concerns about working with vulnerable people or groups with specific needs, we’d advise asking authors about their experience in your initial email, e.g. ‘I saw on your profile you’ve led sessions working with people with dementia and memory loss in care homes, like some of our residents. Could you tell me more about these sessions?’ If you would like advice about authors who would be suited for your audience group or organisation, email

We would like to use an author who isn’t on the database. Is this possible?

If you believe an author is eligible for the scheme, please ask the author to get in touch with Scottish Book Trust directly before inviting them to lead a session. We will discuss applying to be on the database with them. If they are not eligible, then you will not receive support from Scottish Book Trust towards their visit.

We’d like to have two authors in conversation. Would we use one session or two for this?

You would need to set aside two sessions for an event featuring two authors from the database. Both authors should be paid a full fee – half by Scottish Book Trust, half by you – and have their expenses covered by Scottish Book Trust.

What do we do if our first choice of author isn’t available?

It is a condition of Live Literature sessions that you use authors on the database. There are over six hundred authors with a huge variety of skills and knowledge, able to lead events in all areas of Scotland, with diverse audiences. Scottish Book Trust covers travel and accommodation expenses so that you can look further afield.

If your first choice of author can’t attend, or is not eligible to be on the database, we still expect you to use your allocated session by booking an alternative author. Email if you feel this is not possible.


Image credit: Andy Thomas, Calcots Photography