Three Literature Ambassadors are working across Dumfries & Galloway to support the development of writers and artists in their local areas. The posts are funded through The Chamber of Arts Regional Project fund 2014, Rural Talent Hub for Literature Development.
The team works independently and collectively to improve local and regional networks which connect artists and writers and to support the text-based work that takes place across the region.
Vivien Jones, ambassador for Annandale and Eskdale, is currently devising a writing project with Annan Museum and Wigtown Book Company for autumn 2016 which will produce a publication based on some unsuspected treasures in the museum collection. During 2015/16 she has been making contact with new writing groups in the east of the region to offer advice and encouragement. The first of these, the rejuvenated Lockerbie Writers, are in the process of producing an anthology of new writing. She is also working on Southlight 19 to be launched at the Big Lit weekend in Gatehouse-of-Fleet on Sunday April 17th.For the Luminate Festival in October 2015, she compiled a month long blog in celebration of the energy and vitality in older writers and other creatives. It was called Livewires, and still features on the Southlight website - www.southlight.ukwriters.net
Also in October, there was a Writers’ Gathering in the East at Gretna which featured Pippa Little, John Burns and Vivien as workshop leaders.
Eryl Shields, ambassador for Nithsdale, has facilitated creative writing workshops throughout the region; helped stage a variety of literary events, often with music; created and run a journalling course to help writers and artists with the creative process, and set up a poetry group in Moffat. She has strong links with Moffat Book Events, Moffat Music Live and The Stove. She has had work published in a variety of media, is currently working on a collection, and emphatically believes that the creative process is the key to a better life.
Jayne Baldwin is the ambassador for Wigtownshire providing a link for a number of writing groups in the area and she also facilitates The Open Book Writers in Wigtown. She provides support, advice and signposting for emerging and established writers and maintains close links with the Wagtongues collective to enable a region wide voice for those based in the west. Jayne organised the Beach Hut Writers in Residence event for a second year as part of the Kirkcudbright Arts and Crafts Trail which featured writers from Dumfries, Port William and Carlisle. Jayne's latest children's book 'Maxwell's Mega Mission' was launched in June and in August her company Curly Tale Books had titles featured at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the first time. Her 2013 non fiction book 'Mary Timney, Road to the Gallows' is about to be published in a third edition by Clayhole Publishing and she is currently working on a revision of her first book 'West Over the Waves, The Final Flight of Elsie Mackay'.
Find out more about literature development in Dumfries & Galloway here.