StAnza 2020 launched!

Saturday 30 November 2019

Artwork by Astrid Jaekel

Happy St Andrews Day and greetings from StAnza. I'm delighted to announce that we have launched our core programme for March. You can see it online now at this link. We shall be adding to this over the weeks ahead, so keep watching this space, but I hope you find the core programme as exciting as we do.

As per the last two years, the festival launch will be a free opening night gala offering a taste of what’s to come with poets reading and performing, interspersed with film, music and art from some of the internationally acclaimed poets from Scotland, the UK and overseas coming to St Andrews in March.

This will launch the festival with a line-up including internationally acclaimed poets from all over the world. Among the headline voices performing at next year’s festival are Jen Hadfield, the youngest ever winner of the T S Eliot Prize, American poet, editor and human rights advocate Carolyn Forché, recently shortlisted for the US National Book Awards, D.A. Powell, also from the USA, Anthony Anaxagarou, winner of the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing. They are joined by British writer, artist, film programmer and activist, Jay Bernard, just this week shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize. The festival will also welcome one of Scotland’s best-known crime writers, Fife’s Val McDermid who will share her favourite poems at StAnza’s first ever Desert Island Poems event .

Other poets performing at StAnza include Wendy Cope, Michael Longley, Alec Finlay, Cecile Lǿveid, Mimi Khalvati, Johan Sandberg McGuinne, Gerry Cambridge, Maitreyabandhu, Anna Crowe, Ida Börjel, Maja Langvad, Cecilie Lǿveid, Morten Langeland, Charlotte Van der Broeck, Yolanda Casstaño, Jan Baeke, Pauli Tapio, Lesley Harrison, Juana Adcock and many more. The annual StAnza lecture, Mother, Mother Ocean will be delivered by Matthew Caley.

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 Coast Lines and Due North. StAnza will also feature a Nordic language focus, including a Norwegian/Scottish translation workshop and showcase project, and we are very happy to be part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

We will also have a strong Gaelic presence at the festival, including a Gaelic poetry showcase in partnershp with The Gaelic Books Council. Our other showcases this year will be in partnership with Wigtown Poetry Prize and the Edwin Morgan Prize. We also have a diverse and interesting range of past poets featuring in this year’s Past & Present sessions, from the great Norwegian poet Stein Mehren who died recently to Dorothy Wordsworth, Robert Lois Stevenson and “Mrs” Ann Radcliffe of The Mysteries of Udolpho fame.

Once again, the festival presents a dynamic line-up of spoken word and performance poetry, with lively Poetry Café events from Sabrina Mahfouz, Tony Walsh, Birdspeed, Angie Strachan and Colin Bramwell, as well as two poetry shows, The Remains of Logan Dankworth from Luke Wright and Songs My Enemy Taught Me from Joelle Taylor. There will be a range of exciting art exhibitions and installations – including artwork from Astrid Jaekel, Valerie Coffin Price and Tom Humberstone – and all the usual favourites: Border Crossings, Five O’Clock Verses, Poetry Centre Stages.

With around 80 poets taking part in over 100 events at StAnza in St Andrews, it's impossible to mention them all but there is certainly something to suit everyone’s taste. So, come along and join the many poets, musicians, visual artists and filmmakers who'll be bringing the historic Fife town alive with poetry, music and art for five days from 4 to 8 March. Or you can perform your own work at our open mics and the annual StAnza Slam, hosted by Katie Ailes, sign-up for one of our many workshops, or join in the Saturday evening Collective Reading. If after this you need a pick-me-up, stop by The Old Chemist Shop where we’ll have supplies from The Poetry Pharmacy waiting for you.

Start the day with poetry: let coffee, pastries and a provocative panel discussion at our breakfast events ease you into the festival day (join the live webcasts if you can’t be there in person). And if you’re a night owl, late night poetry and music events will keep things lively until midnight. The festival hub at the Byre Theatre is the perfect place to catch up with old friends and make new ones, or to relax with a book and coffee. With its plethora of exhibitions, installations, films and talks about poets and poetry past and present – and the chance to enjoy the wonderful town of St Andrews rich with beaches and walks, ruins and shops – StAnza 2020 offers a multi-layered festival experience with something for everyone. There are too many wonderful poets, artists and musicians taking part to list them all here, so please do check out the website programme.

Tickets will go on sale in January, so you have plenty of time to browse and make choices. However, if you will be travelling to St Andrews, and haven't already booked accommodation, now would be a good time to do so and you might find useful for this.