Gavin Wallace Fellowship

For 2024, we are delighted to have been chosen by Creative Scotland to be the host organisation for the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship. The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship is an opportunity for a mid-career writer to spend a year dedicated to producing new writing, gaining support and inspiration from the host organisation. Every year, the Fellowship has a broad theme to guide the relationship between the writer, their work, and the host. 

About us as hosts

Located in the Pathfoot Building at the University of Stirling, we house the English Studies BA Programme and the MLitt in Creative Writing. Previous graduates include Iain Banks and Jackie Kay, with previous staff including Norman MacCaig and Kathleen Jamie. Our writing heritage is woven into the fabric of the building, with part of the eclectic Art Collection being the ‘House of Words’ which has poems from previous writing fellows displayed on the windows. 

Hosting the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship allows us to broaden our creative community, with the Fellow welcomed into a space in which staff and students everyday engage in a learning conversation which includes a lively exchange of creative ideas.

Our hope is that the selected writer will find this a productive and stimulating environment, although we are keen to facilitate this residency as a mixture of remote, hybrid and in-person, as shaped by the writer.

Fellowship Brief

For 2024, the chosen theme for the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship is “Heritage”.

This should be interpreted not only as an opportunity to look back and reexamine history, memory and the relationship between place and identity but also as a way of exploring potential legacies of the present moment.

This theme connects with the University’s research and outreach work on the historical heritage of Central Scotland and our own cultural identity as a relatively recent institution (founded in 1967) set against the histories of Stirling itself, as represented by Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument, and Stirling Old Bridge. 

The Division of Literature and Languages has long facilitated conversations about the creative flexibilities of place and commemoration in such an historic environment, and this Fellowship comes at a point when we are closely collaborating on the ‘Stirling 900’ project, with Stirling Council, to mark nine centuries since Stirling became a Burgh. This milestone is contested by strict historians, but has an irresistible imaginative appeal. 

We will work with the chosen Fellow to plan a year of activity which helps them achieve their goals and take their work to the next level, offering a bespoke package of support and development opportunities which align with their needs and goals. Included within this could be events hosted by the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, as well as engagement with our MLitt in Creative Writing Programme, and with other writing fellows on campus, including the Charles Wallace Indian Writing Fellow and the Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

Whilst we are keen that the chosen writer engages with literary heritage it should be noted that this is not an academic position and that we are keen to receive applications from those unfamiliar with or inexperienced within a University context. To help the Fellow find their own sense of ‘place’ at Stirling, the resources of our Accessibility and Inclusion Team will be available.

As well as possible engagement with the ‘Stirling 900’ events mentioned above, the chosen writer will be offered the opportunity to host a public event during their time with us, hand-print a commemorative page on our historic 19th Century Columbian Press, and foster links with the cohorts of both Undergraduate and Postgraduate Creative Writing students they will be sharing a campus with over the course of the year.

How does it work?

The residency will start on an agreed date in March 2024 and will run for one calendar year, with some flexibility where needed. As above, aspects of the fellowship can be undertaken remotely or as hybrid, as required.

The Division of Literature and Languages will provide desk space in the Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling. This building is wheelchair accessible and there is parking outside the building, although this is charged. A dedicated UniLink bus service runs between Stirling Train Station and the campus.

The Division will work with the selected Fellow to design tailored professional development opportunities, including author appearances, attendance at research seminars, and research trips. As above, there is a small allowance to support this and other activities. A dedicated University of Stirling staff member will provide regular support to the selected Fellow.

The successful applicant will receive a stipend of £20,000 to support them through their 12-month residency. This will be remunerated as a quarterly payment, in arrears, unless otherwise agreed.

Who can apply?

The Fellowship has been designed to support mid-career writers. This opportunity defines mid-career as an established writer who has reputably published one of the following:

  • One novel or book-length work of creative non-fiction
  • One collection of short stories
  • One poetry collection

This creative work may be in English, Scots or Gaelic. We do not consider work which has been self-published.

The Fellowship is designed to support a writer to set aside time to write, rather than deliver creative workshops or other project-based activities. There is also a small additional budget available for research-based activities.

As an organisation, we want to hear from a diverse writing community, and we encourage applications from mid-career writers from under-represented groups, particularly writers of colour and those from ethnically-marginalised communities as well as writers who identify as disabled, working class, LGBTQ+ and their intersections. We also encourage applications from those who are unfamiliar with or inexperienced in the University environment.

How to apply

To apply for the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2024, please send:

  • A cover letter of no more than 1,200 words incorporating the elements below.
  • A CV including previous publications and writing experience.
  • A writing sample of no more than 5,000 words which you feel best illustrates your work (can be extracted from longer and/or published work). 

The cover letter should outline the project you would work on during your residency and/or your goals for the year, and how your project relates to our chosen theme, ‘Heritage’. Please also describe how this opportunity would benefit your career progression, particularly in terms of how engagement with the resources of the University of Stirling could support your practice. 

Applications close on Friday 2nd February 2024. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on Wednesday 28th February 2024 either in-person at the University of Stirling or via MS Teams.

Please send your application to Dr Liam Bell by email to 

If you need to submit your application in an alternative format, please get in touch with Liam to arrange this.

Frequently asked questions about the Gavin Wallace Fellowship

How do you define ‘mid-career’ writer?

Mid-career is defined as a writer who has had at least one book/collection reputably published, whether that be across fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or other forms. Unfortunately, self-published work is not eligible.

How strict are the guidelines with regard to word-count?

We specify up to 1,200 words for cover letter, and a writing sample of no more than 5,000 words. Please do not exceed those limits, as they enable us to properly read/assess each of the applications. If the writing sample is an extract from a longer work, then please cut-off at the chapter or other break closest to the upper word-limit.

Will you acknowledge receipt of my application?

Yes, you will receive an acknowledgement of your application.

Can you provide feedback on my application?

Due to the anticipated volume of applications, regrettably we are not able to offer feedback on submitted applications.

How does the selection process work?

The selection panel is made up of University of Stirling staff and a representative of Creative Scotland. The panel will meet and decide on a shortlist of five candidates who will be invited for interview (either in-person or online, as preferred).

How is the payment of the Fellowship administered?

The successful applicant will receive a stipend of £20,000 which will be paid by the Division, as a BACS payment, quarterly in arrears unless alternative arrangements are agreed. Please note that you will not be a direct employee of the University of Stirling and that you will be liable for your own tax arrangements, pension contributions etc.