Happy National Poetry Day! We are delighted to mark the day by launching our programme for StAnza 2018 on our website. StAnza 2018 will run from Wednesday 7th to Sunday 11th March 2018 in St Andrews, and we have now announced some of the headline voices for next year’s 21st anniversary festival ahead of National Poetry Day on Thursday 28th September.
Next year’s festival is a significant milestone for StAnza which held its very first festival twenty years ago in 1998. We’re delighted to be welcoming some of the biggest names from the literary world and friends of StAnza old and new to St Andrews to celebrate our special anniversary year.
Over the last twenty years we have endeavoured to bring together a diverse mix of well-known talent with new, up and coming poets to create a programme which is fresh and vibrant. This year we have pulled out all the stops to put together a programme which is truly fitting of such an exciting year for StAnza and we look forward to revealing more names over the coming months.
Among the headline poets to appearing at next year's annual festival are former Scots Makar Liz Lochhead and Scottish poet and jazz musician Don Paterson who will be in conversation with Marie-Elsa Bragg, daughter of Melvyn Bragg. They will be joined by former Belfast Poet Laureate and recent Forward Prize winner, Sinéad Morrissey, Gillian Allnutt, who was awarded The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry earlier this year, Tara Bergin, winner of the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize in 2014 and up and coming Scottish poet William Letford.
StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes which interweave with each other to give each annual festival its own unique flavour. Next year’s themes are The Self and Borderlines. StAnza will also have a focus on young people as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.
Dozens of poets will be taking part in StAnza, along with many musicians, visual artists and film makers bringing the historic Fife town of St Andrews alive with poetry, music and art for five days in March. We hope you will join us there.
Our bookmark for 2018 was circulating in Edinburgh last month but in case you haven't seen it yet, here it is, complete with dates for next March, a few names to get you interested, and the first information on our themes for next year. We'll have more information about the festival later this month.
Thanks to Lyndsey Fineran for the bookmark front image.
Another date for your diary. This year Book Week Scotland runs from Monday 27th November to Sunday 3rd December. StAnza will be partnering up again with our favourite coffee shop in St Andrews, Zest, for an evening of coffee, good company and of course plenty of poetry on Saturday 2nd December, from 6.30pm to 8.00pm. It will be a free event and unticketed, but if you'd us to note that you're coming and save you a seat, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch this space for more details coming soon.
If you missed the arrival in St Andrews at the end of July of the Kelpies maquettes, don't worry because there's still plenty of time to enjoy them during their stay here until later next month. They are based on the Bruce Embankment next to the British Golf Museum. The original Andy Scott sculptures are the largest equine sculptures in the world and are based at The Helix in Falkirk - but size is relative, the maquette versions are still pretty massive.
We were delighted to work with the project of bringing these Kelpies to St Andrews by ensuring that Jim Carruth's poem about the Kelpies, produced as part of Andy Scott's project and carved into the stone at Falkirk, would also accompany the Kelpies to St Andrews. Jim was invited to come over for the launch and he read his poem then. To ensure it featured more permanently while the Kelpies were in town, we arranged that his poem would appear on window panels in the cafe at the British Golf Museum, overlooking The Kelpies. You can see it there, from inside looking out or from outside looking in. Lines from the poem have also been circulating around St Andrews on the miniature land train which tours the town during the summer.
August continues to be a hot month for poetry, regardless of whether or not the sun puts in an appearance. The Edinburgh International Book Festival has a very strong poetry programme this year and it's only about a third of the way through its run, so plenty left to see. Elsewhere in Edinburgh, there's lots of poetry on offer, someone said more than 80 shows, so a real embarrassment of poetry riches. Per our earlier post on this, we're happy to post listings or short reviews, so if you've seen something you really enjoyed, why not tell us.
Meantime, looking slightly further ahead, the deadline is looming one week from now for the new poetry competition on the block, The Robert Graves Prize, which a prize fund of more than £1,000. The closing date is 23rd August so you're still time if you'd like to submit.
And later this month, Beyond Borders Scotland, an Edinburgh-based not-for-profit organisation dedicated to facilitating small-nation dialogue and cultural exchange, returns to Traquair House with their International Festival. Taking place on August 26th and 27th in the grounds of Scotland's oldest inhabited residence, the festival brings together politicians, cultural leaders, authors and artists from all
over the world to the Scottish Borders for a weekend of panel debates on a number of topical global and national issues. Confirmed speakers this year include Bettany Hughes, Nicola Sturgeon, Jim Naughtie, Valerie Plame Wilson, Christina Lamb, Bonnie Greer, William Dalrymple, Tina Brown, Steve Richards and many many more. Alongside the talks, the weekend festival also features literary walks,
meditation sessions and bike rides in the picturesque surrounding area.
This year also sees the introduction of Music and Arts in Traquair's beautiful Walled Garden. With interactive workshops, exhibitions, theatre, dance and film screenings in our tipi cinema, along with drop in yoga and meditation sessions in our yurt and performances from singers Barbara Dickson, Heidi Talbot and Reem Kelani, there's something for everyone in this year's programme. For full details and individual event timings please visit the Beyond Borders Scotland website.