Each summer, Charlotte Square Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh is transformed into a wonderful tented village for the Edinburgh International Book Festival, bringing together over 800 authors from across the globe. A vibrant and inspiring festival for all lovers of the written and spoken word, this three week literary celebration is the largest of its kind in the world, with something for all ages and interests.
The Book Festival is not just about the newest novels and non-fiction, it also features a huge array of poetry events. We have selected some of the highlights that we think will appeal to StAnza fans.
This year’s programme features an exciting line-up of National Poets, powerful new voices and poetry in performance, some of whom will be familiar from their StAnza appearances. We're delighted that StAnza has free tickets for events which we've offered to those on our e-list. If you are on our e-list, you should already have received an e-newsletter about this. If you're not already on our e-list but would like to to be able to apply for one of our free ticket offers, you can sign up on our home page.
Meantime you can browse the full list of all poetry events at next month's Book Festival here:
For more details on events or to book tickets, visit the Book Festival’s website: www.edbookfest.co.uk or call their Box Office on 0845 373 5888.
Sarah Howe & William Letford
Sat 13 August at 10.15am
Opening the Festival this year are two of the most powerful young voices in British poetry. Sarah Howe's debut collection Loop of Jade won this year's T S Eliot Prize for Poetry and was described as ‘original, exquisite, erudite and adventurous.’ Stirling-born William Letford has been dubbed by Guardian critic Nicholas Lezard as 'the new Scottish genius'. He launches his highly anticipated second collection, Dirt.
Zaffar Kunial with Jackie Kay
Mon 15 August at 3.15pm
What does it mean to be a British writer of mixed heritage in the 21st century? Book Festival Guest Selector Jackie Kay was born to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, while Zaffar Kunial was born to an English mother and a Kashmiri father. Kunial, whose first collection of verse was published in 2014, draws heavily on his rich Anglo-Asian cultural heritage, and writes of ‘the legacy of exchanging words across the centuries’.
Agnes Török & Chimwemwe Undi
Tues 16 August at 7.00pm
Agnes Török is a Swedish spoken word performer living and working in Edinburgh. Her projects include shows such as If You’re Happy and You Know It - Take This Survey and a debut spoken word album Poetry // Resistance. Chimwemwe Undi was raised in southern Africa, of Chewa heritage, and is now a spoken word poet living in Winnipeg, Canada. Speaking powerfully of the immigrant experience, she explores what it means to call a place home.
Gillian Clarke & Carol Ann Duffy
Thu 18 August at 1.30pm
For their first time on stage together at the Book Festival, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy present their recently published collections of poems. The words of these two exceptional writers has shaped the poetic landscape of the past four decades. From the deeply personal to the fiercely political, their poetry has offered inspiration, understanding, solace and insight.
Thu 18 August at 7.30pm
Cultural provocateurs Neu! Reekie! present work from #UntitledTwo, their double-headed poetry anthology and music album. It features 34 outstanding poets, including two Makars, prize-winning poets, YouTube sensations and hip-hop bards. Tonight’s troubadours will be Ryan van Winkle, Janette Ayachi, Colin Will, Roy Moller, Paul Hullah, Jenny Lindsay, Gerry Cambridge, Sophie Cooke, Kevin Cadwallender, Wayne Price and Paul Hullah with Martin Metcalfe.
Buy tickets here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/neu-reekie
Fri 19 August at 11.45am
Shocking and emotional, Alice Oswald’s 2012 performance of Memorial ranks among the most talked-about events in Book Festival memory. The poet’s interest in mortality continues in a new collection, Falling Awake, which explores the fragility of human existence and its deep connection to the natural world. As before, Oswald constructs her poems with an ear to the oral tradition: these are poems written to be read aloud.
Buy tickets here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/alice-oswald-1
What I Learned from Johnny Bevan with Luke Wright
Sat 20 August at 7.30pm (This event runs for 90 mins)
In What I Learned from Johnny Bevan, Luke Wright delivers a hurricane of a performance. With humour and humanity he tackles British politics head on, challenging the rise of New Labour and David Cameron, and the abandonment of those left behind. Somewhere between a play and an epic poem, it has picked up a host of awards, sold out a West End run and has now been published as a book. Back in Edinburgh for one night only.
Sun 21 August at 8.45pm
Reflecting a long, successful career in poetry, Lemn Sissay’s new collection Gold from the Stone features a mix of new writing and some of his best-loved work. Ranging from a verse about his mother to a rage against ‘Mother Thatcher’, Sissay glides between the political and the personal. Spend an hour with the poet whose debut collection was hand-sold to Warrington miners on the picket line.
Buy tickets here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/lemn-sissay
Fri 26 August at 7.15pm
There isn’t much that Don Paterson hasn’t achieved as a poet since Nil Nil. The Queen’s Gold Medal, the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Award… and with his collection of 40 Sonnets he has added to the view that he’s one of the most gifted poets alive today. Ambitious, accessible, assured and sometimes angry, Paterson’s verse provides the rhythm for an event featuring his musical band, The Don Paterson Situation.
Buy tickets here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/don-paterson-4
Sun 28 August at 8.45pm
The acclaimed author of Under the Skin and The Book of Strange New Things reads from a collection of deeply moving poems entitled Undying. In tender, bittersweet verse, Michel Faber grieves for his wife Eva who died in 2014 after a six year battle with cancer. His fearless poems present brutally honest meditations on Eva’s death – and how it feels to say a long, heartbroken, impotent goodbye.
Buy tickets here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/michel-faber-3