Rachelle Atalla appointed 2024 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow

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Scottish-Egyptian writer Rachelle Atalla has been appointed as the 2024 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow, hosted by the Division of Literature and Languages at the University of Stirling and supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. 

The year-long writing residency is designed to support Scotland-based mid-career and established writers to develop new work. Atalla will use the opportunity to research and write her fourth novel, The Refinery, which will centre around Grangemouth’s Petrochemical plant and the legacy it leaves behind as it plans to close its doors in 2025.

Atalla is a novelist, short story writer and screenwriter who grew up in the Falkirk area.

Headshot photograph of Rachelle Atalla
Rachelle Atalla
2024 Dr Gavin Wallace Fellow
I’m excited for the year ahead and I look forward to engaging with the people of Stirlingshire and the faculty and students in the Division of Literature and Languages, exchanging thoughts and ideas on the effects post-industrialisation has on the land and people of Scotland’s central belt.

Rachelle said: “As someone who grew up in Stirlingshire and who wishes to explore the heritage and legacy of home in the face of climate change, this appointment has come at such a pivotal moment in my career as a writer. 

“I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity, support and belief the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship allows as I embark on my most ambitious, multi-layered and personal novel yet. 

“I’m excited for the year ahead and I look forward to engaging with the people of Stirlingshire and the faculty and students in the Division of Literature and Languages, exchanging thoughts and ideas on the effects post-industrialisation has on the land and people of Scotland’s central belt.”

Alongside a stipend of £20,000 to fund her through the 12-month residency, Atalla will be able to engage with experts at the University, students on the MLitt in Creative Writing, and the general public through events and activities around the upcoming ‘Stirling 900’ celebrations. £5,000 is awarded to the host organisation to facilitate this. 

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Stirling, Dr Liam Bell said: “In a diverse and extremely impressive field of applications, which really showcased the strength of the Scottish writing community, Rachelle’s project fitted our chosen brief of heritage extremely well, with a thematic interest in the history of the industry and the economy of Central Scotland and an imaginative leap into what comes next for the region.”

Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, Harriet MacMillan said: “Rachelle is a dynamic voice in Scottish literature and this Fellowship comes at such an exciting point in her career. The University of Stirling is an ideal pairing with her work, given their expertise in both historical and speculative fiction, as well as their research into the climate emergency. 

“The Fellowship is a uniquely valuable opportunity and over the years it has produced some truly stellar writing, inspired by the environment where it takes place. We look forward to seeing the work Rachelle creates as part of the Fellowship's esteemed cohort of authors. Our thanks go to the University as they support Rachelle through this project.”

The Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship was established in 2014 in memory of Dr Gavin Wallace who dedicated his entire professional life to supporting Scottish literature. Following the sad loss of Dr Wallace in February 2013, Creative Scotland established an annual fellowship in his name to honour his memory and commemorate and continue his good work. The fund is supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.