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Jenny Niven

Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing
Telephone 0131 523 0053

Areas of responsibility

Jenny leads on Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, working with individual writers, publishers and literary organisations to support Scotland’s vibrant ecology of books and writing. The literature team work with individual writers and storytellers in a plethora of forms, and in all of Scotland’s languages, at every stage of their careers.

Jenny also leads on partnerships with literature organisations all over Scotland, who deliver a range of programs including writer and reader development, residencies and retreats, festivals and events, publicity and prizes, and on Creative Scotland’s work in publishing.

This year a major focus for the literature team is in delivering a Sector Review of literature and publishing in Scotland, to identify areas of success and gaps in provision in literature and to make recommendations for future investment, and sectoral development. Jenny will also work this year on the International team, and on development of Scots Language policy, in collaboration with Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts and Communications teams.

Background and experience

Jenny was formerly Associate Director at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne, the centrepiece of the City’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. There she directed programming of the Centre’s vibrant calendar of 300+ literary events per year, from fireside storytelling with indigenous writers to the annual 15,000 attendee children’s book festival. She arrived in Australia following six years in China, where she was inaugural director of the city’s first book festival and literary events program, The Bookworm International Literary Festival, growing the project from inception to its membership as a key organisation of the international festivals network, the Word Alliance, in 2010. She has a particular interest in international exchange and translation and spent two festival seasons on secondment from the Bookworm on the PEN World Voices Festival in New York.

Jenny has an MA Honours in Scottish Literature and Film Studies from Glasgow University, and was a researcher on Hopscotch Films’ landmark documentary series, Writing Scotland for BBC2. She is keenly interested in gender representation in the arts and media and was on the Board of the Stella Prize for Australian women’s writing. She has written and broadcast reviews and criticism for a variety of radio stations and publications and interviewed leading authors such as David Mitchell, Yiyun Li, Jeffrey Eugenides, Kate Grenville, Colum McCann, Liz Lochhead, Gary Shteyngart and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, Mo Yan.