Scottish Literature Beyond the Academy: Canonicity, Public Engagement, and the Curriculum

Timothy Baker 2MMUc

This roundtable invites participants and attendees to consider new directions for Scottish Literature beyond the confines of Higher Education, and provides an opportunity for colleagues outside Scotland to understand more about the public and critical debates surrounding the production, reception, and discussion of literature in Scotland. Drawing on their backgrounds in schools, universities, and the public sector, the panel will share their perspectives on the teaching of and public response to Scottish literature in a variety of contexts in order to develop new approaches to the question of how literary studies operates outside the academy and in dialogue with it, in Scotland and beyond. Primary topics of discussion will include the Scottish National Curriculum (from both student and teacher perspectives), and in particular the benefits and pitfalls of the Scottish Set Text, as well as the relation between the Scottish and English curriculum; the formation of a contemporary Scottish canon, particularly in relation to gender equality; current trends in Scottish publishing, festival programming, and reviewing; the visibility and function of bodies such as Literature Alliance Scotland and the Association for Scottish Literary Studies; and questions of cultural capital and access to literature (book festivals, author appearances, the effect of Edinburgh City of Literature, etc). The wide-ranging discussion, including quantitative and qualitative approaches, will offer ways of thinking about the relation between the teaching and study of Scottish literary texts in schools and universities and the reception of such texts both in Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole, and what questions of literary value and accessibility might emerge.

Timothy C. Baker is Senior Lecturer in Scottish and Contemporary Literature at the University of Aberdeen.

Lilith Johnstone received her MLitt in Scottish Literature from the University of Stirling and now is a teacher of English at a school in East London.

Christina Neuwirth is the recipient of the AHRC/SGSAH Creative Economy Studentship "Women of Words" and is a PhD student at University of Stirling, University of Glasgow and Scottish Book Trust.

Gillian Sargent completed her PhD the University of Glasgow in 2013. Her research focused on the literature of James VI and I. She is presently Teacher of English at Grange Academy in Kilmarnock.

Alice Tarbuck is a poet and academic based in Edinburgh. She recently completed her doctoral thesis on the poetry and practice of Thomas A. Clark, at the University of Dundee.

Stevie Marsden is a researcher and lecturer in contemporary publishing culture and practice and has written extensively about literary prize culture in the UK. During her PhD she was an embedded researcher working with the Saltire Society in the administration and promotion of their series of literary awards. She is the author of The Saltire Society Literary Awards: A Cultural History (Anthem Press, 2020). E-mail:

Sat 2:15 pm - 3:30 pm