The Gaelic Books Council offers assistance to publishers who wish to commission authors to write in Scottish Gaelic. Priority is given to projects entirely in Scottish Gaelic; however, we may also support bilingual work that contains a high percentage of Scottish Gaelic content. We support a wide variety of literary genres, and are open to applications in support of digital titles and other formats, as well as traditional printed books.
Please note, a decision regarding your application may be delayed if you fail to submit all requested material – see ‘Essential Requirements’ below.
The Grants Committee meets four times during the financial year (April-March) to assess grant applications.
The next deadline for grant applications: 16th June 2023 (for the August Grants Committee meeting)
The next meeting of the Grants Committee: May 2023 (date TBC)
Further meetings will be held as follows:
- May 2023 (deadline for applications: 17th March 2023)
- August 2023 (deadline for applications: 16th June 2023)
- November 2023 (deadline for applications: 15th September 2023)
- February 2024 (deadline for applications: 15th December 2023)
Submitting an application
Applicants seeking commission grant support must complete a Commission Grant application form. Download an application form here or contact the Gaelic Books Council to request a copy. The application form is available in Scottish Gaelic and English versions, and in Word or PDF format. Applications must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the next Grants Committee meeting to enable them to be processed.
In addition to a completed application form, all applicants must supply the following:
a) a synopsis of the proposed work and a sample chapter or relevant extract;
b) an estimate of the length of time to complete the first draft;
c) a work plan;
d) a copy of any publishing agreement/written correspondence with the author with regard to this work;
e) a copy of any written estimates (e.g. translation fees, artwork, etc)
Please note, a decision regarding your application may be delayed if you fail to submit all requested material. If you require assistance with your application, please contact the Literature and Publishing Department.
Only one commission grant application and one publication grant application per title will be considered. Once an application has been submitted, further applications for the same type of grant will not be accepted for that title.
Please send completed application forms and all supporting material to:
Mairi MacCuish, Literature and Publishing Officer by email (Please mark the subject heading in emails ‘Commission grant application’)
or by post to:
Mairi MacCuish, Literature and Publishing Officer, The Gaelic Books Council, 32 Mansfield Street, Glasgow G11 5QP
Notification of decision
Applicants will be notified of a decision within two weeks of a Grants Committee meeting. If an application is successful in receiving a commission grant, a formal letter of offer will be sent to the applicant by post.
What type of support is available?
Applications are welcome from publishers seeking assistance with some or all of the costs relating to the creative process in the following areas:
- Development of new and original writing in Scottish Gaelic
- Translation from another language into Scottish Gaelic
- Development of a Scottish Gaelic graphic novel (illustrations and text)
Priority is given to the development of new and original work entirely in Scottish Gaelic; however, we also endeavour to support bilingual work that contains a high degree of Scottish Gaelic.
Graphic novels and/or comic-based publications
Commission grant funding for illustrations is available only for artwork that is an integral and major part of the literary composition of a work (e.g. comic book or graphic novel formats, where the narrative or information is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in experimental or contemporary design, or in more traditional comic book form). Other forms of artwork such as cover design or incidental/decorative illustrations and/or photographs are not usually eligible for commission grant support, but funding may be available through a publication grant.
There are a number of formats which the Gaelic Books Council does not support through the commission grant fund. These include:
- Promotional material such as cards and calendars, websites and blogs
- Games, apps, maps and leisure projects
- Textbooks or educational material specifically for schools (contact Stòrlann)
- Technical guides or handbooks
- Digital-only publications without a clear DRM (Digital Rights Management) strategy to prevent unauthorised redistribution
- Publications with no, or minimal (less than 10%) Scottish Gaelic content
Levels of support
Successful applications for individual commission grants could receive up to the following levels of support:
We will not normally provide commission support above £6,000 for any individual application. Applications for commission funding to assist with creative costs lower than £100 will not be considered.
Works for adults (maximum levels)
- Fiction (experienced writer*) – up to a maximum of £6,000
- Fiction (new writer**) – up to a maximum of £3,500
- Other prose, including academic works and drama (experienced writer*) – up to a maximum of £6,000
- Other prose, including academic works and drama (new writer**) – up to a maximum of £3,500
- Major new poetry sequence/collection (experienced writer*) – up to a maximum of £6,000
- New poetry sequence/collection (new writer**) – up to a maximum of £3,500
*Experienced writer – defined, for these purposes, as those with two or more publications in print.
**New writer – defined, for these purposes, as those with no more than one publication in print.
Works for young people (maximum levels)
- Teenage/young person fiction (over 15,000 words) – up to a maximum of £3,000
- Teenage/young person fiction (up to 15,000 words) – up to a maximum of £2,500
- Children’s titles (over 1,000 words) – up to a maximum of £1,500
- Children’s titles (up to 1,000 words) – up to a maximum of £1,000
The guideline amounts above refer to the maximum levels available to support the creative writing process (and not, for example, editorial costs). The guideline amounts are reviewed annually.
In order to be considered for the maximum level of support, applications must display strength across the range of specific areas of assessment (see ‘Assessment’ below). If you require further information regarding our requirements for the maximum level of support, please get in touch with the Literature and Publishing Department.
Date of next review: November 2023
Publishers are not eligible to apply for more than one commission at a time on behalf of a new, previously unpublished writer. Until a previous commission has been completed by such a writer, to the satisfaction of the Books Council, further commission grant applications will not be considered.
Applications are assessed according to the following criteria, based on the information provided on the application form and any supporting documents. Decisions regarding the level of support are taken by the Grants Committee following consideration of the areas listed. It is likely that each application will have strengths and weaknesses in some of the following areas, but a balanced assessment will always be made.
These are NOT listed in order of importance. All eight areas will be considered.
1. Artistic quality
Does the writing/research have the potential to be strong? Will it result in an attractive and marketable product?
2. Level and suitability of Scottish Gaelic content
Will there be a high percentage of Scottish Gaelic content? Will the language be at a level suitable for the target audience?
3. Potential demand and marketability
Is the publication anticipated to be popular? Is the author well-known? Is it a work which fits with GBC priority genres for that particular year?
Priority genres 2023-24:
a) Prose and fiction in book and/or audiobook and/or ebook format;
b) Books for teenagers;
c) Original Gaelic books for children.
Priority is given to work originating in Scottish Gaelic (i.e. not translated from English or other languages), however, we will, of course, consider applications for most types of work. Priority genres are reviewed annually.
4. Specialist value
Does the work have cultural merit such as academic value or other strengths, if it does not immediately appear to be of ‘best-seller’ potential?
To what extent is the author experienced or published?
Is there a publishing agreement in place?
Is there a realistic timescale for the work in question?
8. Value for money
Does the sum requested seem reasonable for the work involved? Has any additional funding been secured?
Grant Awards (2022-23)
Commission grants allocated: 10 individual grants totalling £17,975
Publication grants allocated: 21 individual grants totalling £27,443
Block grants allocated: £10,000
Total 2022-23: £55,418
For further information about commission grants, please contact us:
Tel: 0141 337 6211
Literature and Publishing Department
The Gaelic Books Council, 32 Mansfield Street, Glasgow G11 5QP