Doric anthology project seeks new writing and cover artwork

A new project is seeking submissions for an anthology of Doric/North-East Scots writing, as well as cover artwork for a new project.

The collaboration between spoken word artist and writer Jo Gilbert, The Friends of Elphinstone, and the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen is funded by Aberdeen City Council Creative Funding.

New and established writers are encouraged to send their best poetry, short stories, flash fiction and short plays for consideration. All work must be previously unpublished, and each contributor will receive a payment of £50 for their work and a copy of the anthology. The work will be selected by Jo Gilbert and a panel of North-East writers, including Sheena Blackhall, Shane Strachan, and Mae Diansangu, whose work will also feature in the book.

The project is also looking for vibrant and eye-catching artwork that will fit on an A5 book cover. The artwork can be in any form (paint, print, digital design etc.) but must be digitised to submit. The selected artist will receive £100. North-East Scotland bases artists have until midnight on January 1 2023 to submit their work.

The two main goals of the project are to create paid opportunities for new and established writers to showcase their work and to create a companion pamphlet to accompany the anthology comprising of questions and activities that secondary schools and teachers can use in their Scots language work. The pamphlet panel will be led by Dr Dawn Leslie, lecturer in linguistics at the University of Aberdeen, who also teaches a Doric undergraduate course, which is in high demand.

The project arose from conversations with teachers and others working in and around Scots, a lack of new work suitable for older students in Doric was identified, sparking the idea for an anthology of new writing.

Jo Gilbert said: “I’m looking forward to working with the other writers on the panel and everyone on this project. It’s taken a while to put it all together and get the funding in, so I can’t wait to read the submissions we get and see all the art. Providing more opportunities for local artists and writers is important to me, both personally and professionally. There’s a buzz and enthusiasm in our creative community right now and I hope that the anthology will contribute to that momentum and create a legacy beyond the launch.”

Successful contributors will also receive an invite to the launch, which will be held on Tuesday 21 February at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen from 7pm. The anthology will be published through Doric Books – a community interest company dedicated to promoting NE Scots.

CEO Jackie Ross said “Doric Books are fair trickit tae be publishin iss anthology.  It's sairly needed fur e secondary skweels.  It'll be gran tae hae a hantle o contemporary screivins in e Doric aat'll appeal tae teenagers an aulder fowk as weel.”

“Doric Books are very pleased to be publishing this anthology. It’s much needed for secondary schools. It will be great to have contemporary writing in Doric that will appeal to teenagers and older people as well.”

Simon Gall, Public and Community Engagement Officer at the Elphinstone Institute added: “We’re delighted to be supporting The Friends of the Elphinstone Institute and Jo Gilbert with this crucial project. The Institute has a long-standing interest in, and commitment to, supporting the Scots language and its speakers, and works extensively with others to bring these kinds of cultural projects to life. Currently, interest in Doric/North-East Scots is at a high, and we think this anthology will be welcomed by both those working in education and Doric speakers more generally.”

The closing date for artwork is Sunday 1 January 2023 at Midnight Full submission details for artists can be found online at

The closing date for writing is Friday 2 December 2022 at 5pm. Full submission details for writers can be found online at