Performance and Presentation

The 2015 Performance and Presentation training day is now closed for applications due to high demand. If you’d like to know more, you can read about the 2015 training day below. For more information about future opportunities, please sign up to the Writing newsletter.

Literary events, readings, and festivals are now part and parcel of a writer’s role in promoting their work and building audience readership, but performing in front of an audience can be daunting. Even if you feel comfortable reading in front of an audience, you might feel like your readings and presentations could be more dynamic, engaging, and unforgettable.

Our Performance and Presentation workshop is specifically tailored for writers, to help them overcome their nerves, bring their writing to life, and get the most out of their performance. It’s a challenging, full-day course led by expert voice and speech coach Alex Gillon.

A maximum of ten writers will attend each day. This includes current New Writers Awardees. This year, five places are offered to established writers.

The Course Leader

Alex Gillon is an experienced Voice and Speech specialist who has worked extensively in theatre as well as television and film. Over the past few years she has used her expertise as a consultant in Presentation and Vocal Communication. She has worked with Scottish Book Trust for over ten years.


Course details

Date: Saturday 12 December 2015

Time: 10.00am – 5.00pm

Cost: £15 (Please let us know if you are unable to afford the cost as we may be able to waive the fee. This course is significantly subsidised by Scottish Book Trust)

Venue:  Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR.


What happens on the day?

  • You will read your work in front of the group on the day. There will be no more than ten participants on the course in total.
  • You will receive detailed feedback, which may include constructive criticism from the course leader and other participants.
  • All participants receive a printed copy of each reading on the day.


Eligibility criteria

You must live and work in Scotland to apply.

You must meet the criteria for the Live Literature Database. You do not need to be listed on the database to apply but you should meet the criteria at the time of making your application.

The criteria for the database can be found here.


Self-published writers (including poets) are eligible to apply if:

  • You have sold 300 printed copies or 500 e-books within a 12 month period, as per the Society of Authors guidelines and
  • You can demonstrate a career as a professional writer. 


What previous participants had to say:

"Learning from Alex was a wonderful, challenging experience, and gave me huge insight into my strengths and weaknesses when reading aloud – the chance to feel confident of the strengths and to work on the weaknesses. We looked specifically at pace, and at picking out words to accentuate and have fun with – like adding seasoning to the text. I’ve always loved reading aloud but now I definitely have more awareness of myself as a reader, and Alex’s sage advice is always in my mind when I’m choosing and rehearsing readings for events."  – Lucy Ribchester


"I attended the presentation course and found it incredibly helpful. While I had no qualms about speaking to large audiences of children (I'm a primary teacher) I came out in a rash at the prospect of reading aloud to adults! The advice about grounding yourself and taking time to breathe deeply before launching into your talk or when reading aloud was invaluable. My book launch was a few months later and I took all the advice I had been given on board. Apparently I spoke clearly and showed no obvious signs of nerves!" – Lindsay Littleson


"I have been fortunate enough to take part in a number of Alex Gillon’s Performance and Presentation workshops with Scottish Book Trust. Before I attended the first time I thought it was impossible for me to read in public; I was too terrified. However, after being given advice about posture, breathing and preparation by Alex I realised I may be able to do it after all.

Alex also gave invaluable advice about bringing the text to life by ‘tasting’ the words, visualising the scenes you are reading and using your own punctuation!

As a result of Alex’s workshops I now face public readings with nervous excitement rather than blind terror. I think there must be many other writers who fear standing in front of a crowd and reading their words and I urge them to apply for a Performance and Presentation workshop." – Catherine Simpson