Organisers: What to Expect Before and During a Session

*If you are an author and need information about Live Literature sessions, click here.*

  • A session is approximately 1 hour long, depending on the type of event
  • The maximum length of a session is one-and-a-half hours
  • You will agree the actual length of the session with the author
  • If the audience group changes part of the way through an event, that is the beginning of a new session. You will need to use another session from your award to support this (e.g. beginning a new workshop with a different school class)

There are a number of things you should double check with your visitor before your sessions take place. If you aren’t sure about what any of these mean for your organisation, or if this is your first time running an event, please email with any questions.

You should make time to have a detailed discussion with the author by email or on the phone. This way you can make sure you understand what you both expect and what you would like to achieve from the sessions. Make sure you discuss the subject matter, content and approach to ensure they are suitable for your audience.

We also have brand new free schools resources available: How to Prepare for an Author Event and How to Build on an Author Event


Checklist for booking your session

Make sure you and your visitor have discussed:

That the session/s are supported by the Live Literature programme

Make sure your authors are clear what their fee will be and that Scottish Book Trust will cover their travel and expenses. If you or the author has any questions about how, or how much, they will be paid, please email in advance of booking the session.            


Please book a quiet space for events to take place where there will be no interruption. Let your visitor know the exact address and provide a map or directions if they aren’t sure how to get there.

Travel and accommodation

Does your author need advice about local transport, where to eat and where to stay overnight? Please bear in mind how much they can claim back (see our expenses guidelines).

Who should they ask for when they arrive?

Who will be on hand during their visit to answer any queries or provide any support?

What equipment will be available?

Does your visitor need a microphone, flipchart, projector or photocopier? If they are using a projector, can the room be made dark enough for this?


Be sure to provide water or refreshments. Will they need a quiet place to prepare?

Type and size of audience

If you need to change what will happen or who will attend a session be sure to let your visitor know as soon as possible ahead of time. You can not make changes on the day of the author's session. The author may have to change their plans, requirements or resources for the session and will need time to prepare.


If you are running a workshop or interactive session, consider:

  • Whether the audience will be familiar with the author’s work
  • Arrangements for bookselling, if appropriate. Can you contact your local bookseller and ask them to sell books at the event or supply them? (See our advice about book sales)
  • What does your audience need to know in advance? Do they need to prepare or read anything?

Any publicity arrangements, including permission to film. Will you be sending out a press release? Will photographs be taken on the day? Will part of the event be filmed? Please use the appropriate permission forms. If your organisation doesn’t have permission forms to record, film or photograph events, get in touch.


Frequently asked questions about sessions

How long is a session?

A session lasts 1 hour. The maximum length of a session is one-and-a-half hours. Some activities will take up to an hour (such as a reading and Q&A), some may be longer, such as a workshop.

Plan your timetable with your author in advance and stick to it; they may have booked transport that relies on the session finishing on time.

What if I need to cancel a session?

You must only do this only as a last resort and give the author as much notice as you can; they may need to find other paying work for that day. Check if the author has already paid for travel and accommodation. If so, ask them to get in touch via as soon as possible.

If this happens less than a month before the event we will invoice you for the session and consider it used.

How much time should the author have to prepare a session?

Start planning as early as you can. Ideally, you would have a few months to talk to the author about what would work best for you and your audience. Occasionally you may get in touch with authors at short notice. It is up to the author to decide whether to go ahead. You must give authors enough time to prepare. If you make a major last-minute change that the author is not happy with, they do not have to carry out the session.

What if I can’t get in touch with the author about the event?

This is very rare. If you’ve tried the contact number(s) and email address given on their profile and you haven’t received a reply in a reasonable amount of time, try contacting their publisher and let us know as soon as possible.

What can I do if something went wrong at the event?

Let us know on your evaluation form. If you feel more comfortable calling or emailing us directly, we’d be grateful to hear your feedback. We will do our best to help resolve any issues and your feedback can prevent similar problems at future events. Your feedback will be confidential.


Image: Author A.B. Saddlewick reads to schoolchildren in London. Image by RNIB, redistributed under Creative Commons license