I was having a quick read through Product magazine the other day (summer 2009 issue) – good, stimulating stuff. I came to an opinion piece (written by someone on the editorial board, I guess) on the new Literature Working Group set up to examine “the future of literature and publishing in Scotland.” This section in particular caught my eye:
Scottish “publishing” and “literature” are not a seamless garment. Scottish publishing can make money pretty well without literature. Scottish literature is thriving – with London publishers. At present the Arts Council invests in writers (primarily through bursaries), publishers (primarily through grants), and publicity (primarily through projects and prizes).
It’s a matter of some concern that this sometimes translates into paying an author to write a book, paying the publisher to publish it, and then giving it an award at the end.
Well, put like that, it does sound somewhat absurd, doesn’t it? But it’s less easy to decide how public money should be used to benefit Scottish literature. I’ve just noticed that public response to the Working Group needs to be in by the end of this month (email address at the link). I suspect it would be good for people who don’t normally have input into such consultations to make a few points. Perhaps someone will take notice?