Best Scottish Poems 2010

March 31, 2011

Stormy Day 1 by Catriona Taylor, BSP 2010 cover image

Stormy Day 1 by Catriona Taylor, Best Scottish Poems 2010 cover image

Best Scottish Poems 2010 is finally here!

This is our annual selection of twenty poems published in the previous year.

Actually, when I say ‘our’, I mean that the librarians at the SPL provide a trolley-load of books, pamphlets and magazines to the hapless editor, and he or she sinks or swims. Or, sinks and then swims. Watery imagery comes to mind this year, as the editor is Jen Hadfield who lives on Shetland: she made her choice with exemplary promptness, and a fascinating choice it is.

In her introduction, Jen gives a very vivid account of the process of reading and sifting as the seasons changed:  ‘above all I looked for poems which had that quality of having originated beyond the poet. There’s something necessarily creepy about a compelling, disembodied voice, especially when it brings tidings from such peculiar places. For this reason, I hope the selection sometimes gives you a bit of a shiver.’

Read on and find out!

We’re delighted that the launch of the latest issue of Irish Pages / Duillí Éireann in Scotland will take place here on Thursday 31st March at 6.30pm.  The event will include readings in Gaelic and English by Rody Gorman and Aonghas MacNeacail and promises to be a wonderful evening.

More information:

Launch details

Artists’ Bookmarket

March 25, 2011

Everyone at the library is looking forward to the return of the Bookmarket to our friends and near-neighbours, The Fruitmarket Gallery.

This time the focus will be on Artists’ Books, with a special appearance from John Byrne at 8pm, and Lucy May Schofield will be in residence with her Bibliotherapy Artists’ Book Library.

Hope to see you there!

Bookmarket flyer

Flyer for Tuesday's bookmarket


Invitation to tender

March 25, 2011

The Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Storytelling Centre are working on pilot projects in Edinburgh to bring oral culture and the power of memory and social connection to carehome residents and senior groups. We use stories, songs and poetry, with the help of trained volunteers and professional storytellers, across several different projects. We aim to develop this work as a single, well-resourced and sustainable model for delivery on a national scale, ideally in partnership with care or health organisations.

We are inviting applications to tender for research and recommendations on how we can best develop this work. It is crucial that the consultant has influential contacts with, and can think strategically across, social and healthcare policy as well as arts. This research is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Creative Scotland.

Tender submission by Tues 12 April.  Please see full brief below, and please contact Lilias Fraser to discuss any further queries,, 0131 557 2876.

Download: Invitation to tender (word document).


Poet and cultural historian Alistair Findlay has unveiled his tribute to the Edinburgh-Bathgate railway line at a ceremony at Bathgate Station this morning.

His 37-line ode – The Railroad’s a-Comin’ – will go on permanent display at the station.

It was commissioned by Network Rail for the celebrations to mark the new Bathgate Station opening in October 18 last year and will be put on display by train operator ScotRail to mark the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the Edinburgh-Bathgate line.

Alistair, who is based in Bathgate, said of his poem: “It’s a tribute to the farsightedness of people like the late Robin Cook MP and Councillor Joe Cumming who pressed for the line’s reopening as a single-track diesel branch railway. Today, Bathgate has a double-track electric main line linking Edinburgh with Glasgow and beyond.”

John Yellowlees, ScotRail’s external relations manager, said: “We are delighted to mark ongoing success of Bathgate’s rail revival in this way.”

Ron McAulay, Director Scotland Network Rail added: “The popularity of Bathgate Station since it opened in October last year demonstrates that it has become an important community hub. Mr Findlay’s poem is full of wit and reflects the town’s enthusiasm for the new line. It’s fitting that it should grace the station wall.”

Read the poem here.

Brownsbank Retreats 2011

March 23, 2011

We were delighted to hear that Biggar Museums Trust Brownsbank Committee is offering Scottish-based writers the opportunity to spend between one and four months during the summer months at Brownsbank Cottage to pursue their own work in 2011.

Proposals are invited from individuals living in Scotland who write in any form, including prose (fiction and non-fiction), poetry or drama.

Each writer will be provided with a stipend of £750 per month to a maximum of £3,000, accommodation in the Cottage, the support of Brownsbank Committee members and access to Biggar Museums Trust facilities.

For more information: Brownsbank website.



After a prestigious run at the V&A during London Design Festival last year, which generated a large amount of press coverage, the 26Treasures project is continuing in 2011. This year there will be 4 projects UK-wide in England, Scotland, N Ireland and Wales. See

The Scottish project will take place from St Andrews Night 2011 to Burns Night 2012 at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. 26 writers will be asked to write about 26 objects that tell the story of Scottish history and will form a treasure trail through the galleries. It is a tight brief of only 62 words, which will be on display in the Museum and be a focus for events during the exhibition and an online campaign.

We are looking for a wide variety of writers from different disciplines to volunteer for this project. They will be required to produce 62 words about the exhibit, a blog piece for use on the 26Treasures website and to take part in events. Please email to receive an application form. Applications must be received by 28 April 2011.