In 2018, we will pair four literary professionals with emerging writers who identify as queer, are based in Scotland and could benefit from mentoring and advice at the early stages of their career.
To apply for a mentorship, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, including:
Full contact details
(address & phone)
A 300 word statement
(in the body of the email)
This should specify why you're applying to this particular initiative and how you would benefit from mentoring.
A writing sample
(attached to the email, double spaced, format .doc or .docx)
A short story up to 3000 words
A short script (or excerpt) up to 10 pages
Up to 4 poems, no more than 150 lines in total.
The deadline for submissions is January 29th, 2018.
A note on subject matter: we want to receive submissions that run the spectrum of genre, form and subject. We want this project to amplify writing in which our community see ourselves, so while your submission doesn't have to directly address the big ideas (eg. discrimination, coming out, queer history, difference & self-worth, etc), it should include queer characters or themes. Queerness is a broad church, and how you choose to interpret that is up to you.
Mentors will choose their mentee from a shortlist, and if your application is successful, you'll hear back from us in March. Mentored writers will receive 2 in-person mentoring sessions between April and June and will produce a piece of writing to be included in the QWPS anthology, for which they will receive a fee of up to £300. The anthology will be published by 404 Ink, Spring 2019.
It's no secret: creative development opportunities, from mentoring to residencies, can be the stepping-stones to success. Yet not all LGBTQIA+ writers feel confident applying for creative support, because often in the process we have to explain our queerness and how it informs our work. For some of us, it's a chore we're already too familiar with in our daily lives. For others, being expected to justify our queerness before we ask for help can be not just discouraging, but dangerous.
Queer Words Project Scotland hopes to address this by providing a development opportunity where queerness isn't a hurdle to clear, but the qualifying factor. We want to enable more queer writers to tell our stories however we want to. We want to find and encourage work which reflects our community in all its variety, whether it directly tackles the big issues or simply recognises queerness is the norm against which we live our lives.
The queer community is also infinitely more varied than one monolithic identity. Yet the stories we encounter can sometimes lack both variety and specificity. Our cultural representation is often two-dimensional - and that's if our identities are even visible to begin with.
So: we encourage writers with intersecting identities to apply. We will be on the look-out for writers who are queer and of colour, writers who are queer and disabled, writers who are queer and neurodiverse, writers who are queer and working class. We also hope to see applications from writers who live outside the Scottish central belt, as queer experience can differ greatly between cities and rural areas. This is a project where difference isn't something to be overcome, but a quality to be celebrated.
Jo Clifford is a playwright, poet, performer and teacher who is also a proud father and grandmother. She is the author of about 90 plays, many of which have been performed all over the world. Work in 2017 includes “The House of Bernarda Alba” (Graeae and Royal Exchange, Manchester), “War in America” (Attic Collective). She has also been performing her “Gospel According to Jesus Queen Of Heaven” and the play continues to tour Brazil in a Portuguese translation. It has also been translated into Spanish and later this year will be touring Uruguay and Argentina. She also performed “EVE”, which she co-wrote with Chris Goode, during the Edinburgh Fringe at the Traverse Theatre in a National Theatre of Scotland production
Harry Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney, based in Edinburgh. Their latest publication is Tonguit from Freight Books, shortlisted for the 2014 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the 2016 Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and they were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion. Harry founded Inky Fingers Spoken Word and co-directs the performance platform ANATOMY; their participatory theatre has toured festivals across Europe, including Forest Fringe (UK), NTI (Latvia) and CrisisArt (Italy); and their performance What We Owe was picked by the Guardian's best-of-the-Fringe 2013 roundup – in the “But Is It Art?” category.
Kirsty Logan is the author of short story collection The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, awarded the Polari First Book Prize and the Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection, and debut novel The Gracekeepers, awarded a Lambda Literary Award. Her most recent book, A Portable Shelter, is a collection of linked short stories inspired by Scottish folktales and was published in a limited edition with custom woodblock illustrations. Her next novel, The Gloaming, is out in May 2018.
Shane Strachan’s work is inspired by the folk, language and landscape of the Northeast of Scotland where he lives. Many of his stories and poems have been published nationally, and he has also had theatre work staged in Aberdeen. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Aberdeen and is an Honorary Fellow of the university's WORD Centre for Creative Writing. He has experience teaching within academic and community settings and he has also worked on various creative projects, both locally and internationally. He is represented by Jenny Brown Associates.
Ryan Vance is a writer and editor based in Glasgow. First published in Out There: An Anthology of Scottish LGBT Writing, he has since been published in New Writing Scotland, Gutter Magazine, The Glasgow Review of Books and The Dark Mountain. He has also collaborated with Lock Up Your Daughters, a queer film group, on two award-winning entries into the 48hr Film Challenge. Between 2010 and 2016 he created and edited The Queen's Head, a speculative fiction magazine. He has also edited fiction for The Island Review website, and currently edits reviews for Gutter Magazine.
Michael Lee Richardson is a writer and producer based in Glasgow. Since 2013, Michael has overseen LGBT History Month Scotland, working with partners across Scotland to produce a programme of over 100 arts and cultural events every February. Michael currently oversees the LGBT Cultural Commissions Award, an annual award of between £7,000 - £14,000 to support artists to develop work on LGBT themes, with LGBT communities, funded by Creative Scotland. Michael is a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award winner whose work has been produced by CBBC and BBC Alba, and who has placed in BBC’s Frank Deasy Award and the Trans Comedy Award.
404 Ink is the alternative, independent publisher of books and literary magazines based in the UK. Founded in July 2016, 404 Ink stormed onto the book scene, most notably with their debut book publication Nasty Women after raising over £22,000 on Kickstarter. Their literary magazine continues to showcase new local and international voices, and Chris McQueer's Hings has been dubbed as ding for Glasgow what Trainspotting did for Edinburgh. In late 2017 they will be publishing rock band Creeper's first book, and in 2018 will be re-releasing Helen McClory's debut collection On the Edges of Vision alongside her new collection, Mayhem and Death. 404 Ink believe in publishing little but publishing loud, putting full energy and resources into every author they publish.