Don Paterson, a multi-award- winning poet given the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2010, has called Creative Scotland a "dysfunctional ant-heap", questioned its purpose and methods, and called for it to be abolished.
He calls the Year of Creative Scotland, a Scottish Government strategy backed by £6.5 million in lottery funds, "vapid and cynical", which "manages to offend every single other year since the Declaration of Arbroath".
The criticism comes in a wide-ranging and trenchant article entitled A Post-Creative Scotland, which will appear in Unstated: Writers on Scottish Independence, edited by Scott Hames and due to be published by WordPower books in November.
The poet, who teaches at St Andrews University and has twice won the TS Eliot Prize, also laments the fate of the Literature Working Group report, to which he contributed and the recommendations of which, including a proposed Scottish Academy for distinguished writers, he says have been buried. He writes of the report, published in 2010: "Predictably, not one recommendation was directly acted upon, nor received anything but the most anodyne lip-service.
"The report was charged with providing a strategy. That the one we proposed was summarily rejected was bad enough; perhaps it was the wrong one. But that precisely none has been seen or enunciated since is wholly unforgivable."
He takes issue with the Year of Creative Scotland designation for 2012, saying: "Its vapidity and cynicism are one thing but this idiocy also manages to offend every single other year since the Declaration of Arbroath. As for next year, we can assume the nation plans to slide back into slothful unproductivity."
He adds: "We must abandon all foolish, short-term, PR-driven, empty and self-conscious celebrations of our own creativity, more appropriate to and becoming of a county the size of Rutland than a real nation."
Mr Paterson's comments come amid growing concern over decisions made by Creative Scotland, including the removal of Flexible Funding for dozens of companies, and concern over the funding of TV programmes – one a cookery show made by STV. Another leading author, Janice Galloway, recently said "something is wrong at the heart" of the body, after she was asked to change the wording of her acceptance of the Book of the Year Award.
Next week, Creative Scotland chief executive Andrew Dixon will appear before the culture committee of the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Paterson says he is troubled by the policies of the body, writing: "The business advisers and 'arts brokers' of Creative Scotland should never, under any circumstances, be in the position of driving what kind of art or literature is produced by offering extravagant incentives for projects that they themselves would like to see, and that would not have spontaneously occurred to the artists themselves.
"This is medieval patronage, not support." He concludes: "The first step will be to destroy Creative Scotland's dysfunctional ant-heap, the product of a shocking SNP policy vacuum and a New Labour neo-managerialism incapable of understanding the difference between art and business.
"The second will be to take the adult decision of trusting its artists with art, its administrators with administration, its brokers with brokerage – and then make the almost unimaginable leap of simply trusting each other.
"Until then we will deserve our reputation as a nation of amateurs, who invest their precious and shrinking resources ... in third-rate cookery programmes."
A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said it valued the views of artists such as Paterson, but did not agree on some areas of development.
It issued a statement, saying: "Creative Scotland values the views of respected artists like Don Paterson, though we may agree to differ on some areas of development.
"The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative creating themed years in the lead up to 2014 the next Year of Homecoming and, of course the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Year of Creative Scotland has provided an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate Scotland's creative output both internationally and at home, backed by energetic support from VisitScotland, EventScotland and other agencies across Government.
"Creative Scotland made an additional £8m of Lottery funding available in 2011/12 for more than 100 new projects across Scotland from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway, including many artists and organisations new to us.
"However, in addition to promoting our creative strengths internationally, the Year has also offered new opportunities for people living in Scotland – for example, the Creative Place Awards, which have invested between £50,000 and £150,000 in Wigtown, West Kilbride and St Andrews respectively, in recognition of the energy and imagination that they’ve committed to developing cultural opportunities in their towns.
"Our First in a Lifetime Awards are specifically intended to offer new opportunities for communities who may have had few chances to explore the arts: a great example is the Scots Music Group working with the Bethany Trust, Cyrenians and the Rock Trust to develop weekly singing sessions.
"Our primary role is to invest in artists and their talent and to help creativity thrive in all parts of Scotland. It is not our role to tell artists what to create – our ‘commissioning’ role relates to identifying needs and gaps in provision, or to invite artists to respond to the cultural opportunities offered by national events like London 2012, Glasgow 2014 or the recent Venice Architectural Biennale.
"It is simply incorrect to say that the recommendations of the Literature Working Group have been buried. Scottish Book Trust, in partnership with Creative Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary, announced the first Book Week Scotland – commissioned by Creative Scotland - will take place in November this year.
"Our Makar Liz Lochead has contributed hugely to the profile of literature across Scotland and the highly-successful Author’s Live programme (with Scottish Book Trust) will once more offer hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren the opportunity to hear their favourite authors reading their favourite stories, old and new."