WRITERS IN Scotland are to benefit from an unprecedented 50 per cent rise in their fees under a funding scheme that organises community visits all over the country.
From April 1, the 500-plus authors registered on the database of Live Literature Scotland will be paid pound;150 instead of pound;100, bringing their fees in line with similar schemes in England and Wales.
Schools, libraries, community groups, writers' groups, local festivals, hospitals, individuals and other organisations can apply for an author visit. LLS funds 1,200 visits a year, of which 700 are to schools, including residencies. LLS is a national initiative run by Scottish Book Trust and funded by the Scottish Arts Council.
"More than half of our funding goes towards writers visiting schools," says Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust. "It gives schools access to writers whom they might study in their classes.
"The rate for a single session has been pound;100 for nine years. It's a bit of a coup and the writers are very happy. LLS is the envy of lots of institutions in England because it's a national scheme: we cover from Shetland to Dumfries."
LLS pays half of the writer's fee and the host organisation pays the other half, while LLS covers travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. The rise means institutions will now have to pay pound;75 instead of pound;50.
Writers registered on the scheme include Don Paterson, Nicola Morgan, Catherine MacPhail, Julie Bertagna, Louise Welsh, Des Dillon, Anne Donovan, Ron Butlin and James Robertson.
The programme aims to develop literacy and promote reading across Scotland, increasing people's enjoyment of books through interaction with writers. It also exists to support Scottish authors.
"There is a massive demand for writer visits from the Scottish public, which is hugely encouraging," says Mr Lambert.
"When you consider that 1,200 events per year equates to a rate of more than three writer visits each day, the size and reach of this key programme is evident."