Poetry at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Monday 13 August 2018

Thanks again to Edinburgh International Book Festival for the free tickets we were able to offer to StAnza followers. They were snapped up quickly and we now only have one pair left, for Andrew McMillan and J.O. Morgan on 17 August. They were both big hits at StAnza, in 2017 and 2014 respectively, and getting to hear them both together will be a real treat. Read on for more information about this.


For StAnza audiences there are some familiar and welcome names among the poets coming to Edinburgh this month, and some interesting new names as well. You can browse the full list of poetry events at the 2018 Edinburgh Book Festival here.

To book tickets, or find more information, visit the Book Festival’s website www.edbookfest.co.uk or call the Box Office on 0345 373 5888.

1. Sasha Dugdale & Jenni Fagan
Mon 13 August at 8.30pm
‘This is not narrative, this is time boiling over’, explains one reviewer of Sasha Dugdale’s poetry. It’s a style put to brilliant use in Dugdale’s new collection, Joy. It’s also an apt description of the Truth Poem Jenni Fagan wrote while in America for the Book Festival’s 2017 Outriders project. Today, Fagan brings her new collection The Witch in the Word Machine, an exploration of words as spells, incantations, curse and solace. These viscerally performative poets come together to present their work.
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2. Imtiaz Dharker & Zaffar Kunial
Thu 16 August at 7.00pm
Was British identity ever more fascinatingly complex? Queen's Gold Medal-winning poet Imtiaz Dharker presents Luck is the Hook, a collection which draws on themes of her own exile, displacement and quest for a sense of home. Zaffar Kunial, a rising star of British poetry, explores identity and his upbringing by an English mother and a Lahore-based Kashmiri father, in his debut collection Us.
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3. Andrew McMillan & J O Morgan
Fri 17 August at 3.30pm
The poetic ingenuity of these two British writers is putting them on the international map. Andrew McMillan launches Playtime, the much-anticipated follow-up to his award-winning hymn to the male body, Physical. Borders-based J O Morgan’s new collection feels like a companion piece to At Maldon, his formidably-accomplished 10th century battle saga. Assurances is a reflection on the spectre of nuclear war.
Buy Tickets if you’re not lucky enough to win the last pair going free. To take advantage of this great offer email press@stanzapoetry.org . Tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

4. Salena Godden & Molly Naylor
Sat 18 August at 6.45pm
Meet two of the sharpest, wittiest voices from the spoken word scene. Famed for her electrifying live performances, poet, memoirist and broadcaster Salena Godden’s spoken word album LIVEWire was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2017. Poet, scriptwriter and theatre-maker Molly Naylor’s first collection Badminton — part confession, part manifesto — is filled with poems that speak frankly and boldly about learning how to live.
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5. Inua Ellams
Sun 19 August at 5.45pm
A captivating hour with award-winning playwright and poet Inua Ellams as he performs selections from his 2017 Ted Hughes Award shortlisted work #Afterhours. His residency at the Southbank Poetry Library took him on a voyage through time and place to the heart of the library’s archive and through his own life story, selecting and responding to poems published during each of the first 18 years of his life.
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6. John Burnside & Tishani Doshi
Mon 20 August at 4.00pm
John Burnside is one of our most decorated poets. A winner of the T S Eliot and Forward Prizes, his latest collection, Still Life with Feeding Snake, is typically profound, haunting and mysterious. He's joined by Indian poet and dancer Tishani Doshi, whose new collection Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods was described as 'essential, immediate, urgent work' by Burnside himself. Prepare for a breathtaking hour of verse.
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7. J R Carpenter & Kathleen Jamie with Tania Kovats
Thu 23 August at 7.15pm
Published in 1951, Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us remains essential reading. Although it describes the oceans from a marine biologist’s perspective, it's also renowned for its immersive prose, evoking the sea as a place of wonder and mystery. Visual artist Tania Kovats talks about the poetry of the oceans, a subject important to her practice and writing, with renowned poets Kathleen Jamie and J R Carpenter, whose debut collection is An Ocean of Static.
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8. Owen Sheers
Sat 25 August at 7.15pm
To mark the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service, join the award-winning author and poet Owen Sheers, who has created the film-poem To Provide All People. Based upon 70 hours of interviews, it documents the history of the NHS’s birth in 1948 and tells the intimate story of its daily life through 24 hours in a regional hospital. Personal, political, poetic, it charts an emotional and philosophical map from patients to surgeons, porters to midwives.
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Whatever you go to, if you're in Edinburgh this month, I hope you enjoy it. And do pick up a copy of our 2018 save-the-date bookmark which should be available in the Book Festival entrance area.