Rising stars of Scottish literature get mentoring help over their first books

Rising stars of the Scottish literary scene whose first full-length books have been affected by the Covid pandemic are to be offered mentoring help to kick-start their careers.

The Scottish Book Trust has selected 18 emerging writers for a new “Debut Lab” project, which will run until October.

The project was open to all writers of fiction, non-fiction or poetry whose books either went on sale after December 2019 or are still to be published.

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A series of online workshops will be held exploring everything from staging events and marketing to networking and professional relationships.

Edinburgh-based author Amy Moreno.

Expert advice will be offered by writers Maisie Chan and Helen Sedgwick, the owner of Edinburgh’s Lighthouse Bookshop, Mairi Oliver, and staff from book the Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland, which is funding the Debut Lab.

Successful applicants include the novelists Caron McKinlay, Charlie Roy, Colin Burnett, Elissa Soave, Flora Johnston, Heather Darwent, Kirsti Wishart, Mark Wightman, Niamh Hargan, Rachelle Atalla and Ry Herman.

Also involved in the Debut Lab are children’s authors Amy Moreno and Yvonne Banham, poets Aoife Lyall, Helen Boden and Lauren Pope, and short story writer Ryan Vance.

Ms Banham said: “You only get one debut, so it’s crucial you make the most of it. The pandemic has made that especially difficult.

Author Yvonne Banham, whose book The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie is due to be published next year.

"Debut Lab will give me a much-needed boost towards ensuring the success of my debut novel, as well as a longer-term career.”

Ms Soave said: “I look forward to learning more about building professional relationships, marketing, and funding opportunities – all vital for a debut author like myself, who would otherwise be diving headfirst into the unknown.”

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