FOLLOWING a recent recruitment process, Jenny Niven has begun in post this week as portfolio manager, leading on Creative Scotland’s work supporting literature, publishing and languages.
Prior to joining the Creative Scotland team, Jenny was associate director at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. There she headed the programming department, responsible for creating over 300 literary and cultural events annually, in UNESCO’s second City of Literature.
Jenny has also spent six years in Beijing, where she directed the events programme at The Bookworm, China’s foremost English-language literary events venue.
She was director and co-founder of The Bookworm International Literary Festival, which runs annually across the three Chinese cities of Beijing, Chengdu and Suzhou.
Continuing the books and travel theme, she spent April and May 2008 and 2009 working on the PEN World Voices Festival in New York.
During her time in Beijing Jenny was books editor at Time Out Beijing from 2006 to 2008, and has continued to provide books commentary and reviews for a range of broadcast stations and publications including The Age, and Triple RRR Radio.
A frequent events host she has interviewed writers including David Mitchell, Jeffrey Eugenides, Kate Grenville and Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan. She was a founding board member of Australia’s Stella Prize for women’s writing.
Jenny is originally from Scotland where she gained an MA in Scottish Literature and Film and a PG dip in broadcast journalism. She also spent time as an arts researcher for Hopscotch Films and BBC Scotland for ‘Writing Scotland’, an eight-part TV series of hour-long documentaries on Scottish literature which screened on BBC2.
Laura Mackenzie Stuart, acting director of creative development, said of the appointment:
“We are delighted to welcome Jenny Niven to Creative Scotland. She brings a high level of experience and expertise in her field along with a clear ambition and passion for literature in Scotland.
“This is also matched by her proven international success which I am sure will continue to be a source of inspiration and opportunity for writers and publishers in Scotland”
Commenting of her new role, Jenny said:
“I am delighted to be returning to Scotland and to take up this exciting new challenge.
“While living overseas I’ve kept a strong engagement with literary Scotland and am looking forward immensely to being ‘back on the ground’ and engaging fully with the excellent work being produced here, by individuals and organisations alike.
“It feels a very vibrant time culturally in Scotland, and in books and writing specifically, despite the challenges of the changing market and cultural environment.
“I’m looking forward to meeting people from across the literary sector, and to applying my experiences overseas to Scotland’s unique context.
“And, of course, to working with Creative Scotland’s impressive team to support and develop all kinds of new and existing work, and to help bring great ideas to fruition.”
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