StAnza Festival 2021

Photo: Michael Macari

StAnza 2021 : 6-14 March, 2021

Location: from St Andrews, Fife to wherever you are
Tickets on sale: via the Byre box office
(tickets required for 'Live webcast' events only)
Booksales: on and via J & G Innes

PDF icon Stanza 2021 Online Brochure.pdf 

StAnza 2021 in print




It’s StAnza time again! During a glorious week of companionship around poetry in St Andrews last March, we had little idea of the challenges which were ahead. Like everyone else, StAnza has had to respond and adapt. This is reflected in our 2021 programme, most of which is offered on a Pay What You Can basis to make it accessible to all, with thanks to some generous donors, and we hope you’ll support us if you are able to.

Throughout the pandemic, people have been turning to poetry for consolation and inspiration, emphasising the pivotal nature of the artform to our emotional lives. StAnza 2021 celebrates this profound relevance of poetry, showcasing a wide range of the artform, from page to performance, concrete verse to spoken word, established artists to emerging voices – committed as ever to the fact that when it comes to poetry there really is something for everyone. As we cannot invite people to travel to St Andrews, we’re delighted to be bringing StAnza to you wherever you are – including something of St Andrews itself – and we have a packed programme for you, with events, installations and exhibitions which celebrate and interrogate this year’s festival themes of ‘Make It New’ and ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’, and a translated language focus of ‘Beyond the Iron Curtain’.

We’ve built on our experience of offering online events since 2009 to create a dynamic mix of audio and digital, virtual and streamed events, engaging formats which harness digital potential, such as our Poets at Home strand and podcast crossovers. However, you’ll also find many familiar favourites here, from Past & Present and Meet the Artist sessions to the annual StAnza Lecture, Masterclass and Slam, as well as workshops and open mic events. And as a sense of community is integral to the festival, Zoom will allow you to meet up informally in our virtual Byre Theatre café.

We want to ensure that StAnza 2021 is accessible to as many people as possible, so all of our pre-recorded events (those marked 'Free Online' in the online listings) will be captioned and will be available to watch until 31 March. This includes all of our Poetry Centre Stage readings.

If Covid-19 regulations permit in March, we hope to offer St Andrews folk two outdoor readings and two poetry walks, while the Byre Theatre and possibly other arts venues around Scotland screen some of our events to small and socially distanced audiences. Check out our Covid safety policy here. If you’re accessing the festival remotely but without good internet connection, there’s material you can download quickly, and you can also ask for a little bit of the festival to be posted out to you in the form of postcards or window poems or even call up our poetry hotline, Dial-a-Poem.

Our Border Crossings sessions have always been a popular feature at the festival. In a time when travel is limited and divisions are rife, it is all the more important that poetry can cross borders and be given a centre stage position. So for 2021, all our main readings see borders being crossed, and all our readings will be centre stage. Across the programme we feature poets from Russia, Poland, Latvia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany, India, Singapore, Australia, Tasmania, the USA and more, bringing us poetry and commentary from where they are, letting us see through their eyes – literally with our WindowSwap project. And of course, they share StAnza’s virtual platform with UK-based poets, artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers, offering a multi-layered festival experience with something for everyone. This will also be Eleanor Livingstone’s last StAnza as Festival Director, after eleven years at the helm, making this festival especially memorable for us. We hope you join us online to celebrate StAnza 2021 in March! 

StAnza 2021 : 6 - 14 March : Gallery

Photos of poets and others taking part in StAnza 2021

More than 90 poets will take part in about 100 events

Headline Poets for 2021 include:

Maria Stepanova
Jericho Brown
Naomi Shihab Nye
Sasha Dugdale
Adam Zagajewski
Tim Liardet
Colette Bryce
Roger Robinson
Tishani Doshi
Imtiaz Dharker
Malika Booker
Rab Wilson 


Agnès Agboton
Astrid Alben
Anthony Anaxagorou
Raymond Antrobus
Polly Atkin
Ruth Aylett
Kateryna Babkina
Aileen Ballantyne
Caroline Bird
Clive Birnie
Uilleam Blacker
Kimberly Blaeser
Andrew Blair
Helen Boden
Malika Booker
Jericho Brown
Colette Bryce
Larry Butler
Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul
Gerry Cambridge
Bela Chekurishvili
Nabin K. Chhetri
Ken Cockburn
Courtney Conrad
Eta Dahlia
Stephan Delbos
Imtiaz Dharker
Shehzar Doja
Tishani Doshi
Elga Dudareva
Sasha Dugdale
Jonathan Edwards
Inua Ellams
Lisa Fannen
Alec Finlay
Annie Fisher
Carolyn Forché
Jane Frank
Ella Frears
Beth Frieden
Jo Gilbert
Nikola Gjelincheski
John Glenday
Ifor ap Glyn
Mitko Gogov
Andrew Greig
Michael Grieve
Jen Hadfield
Katie Hale
Volha Hapeyeva
Will Harris
Lydia Harris
Claire Hastings
Rachel Hazell
Ink Asher Hemp
Tania Hershman
Alan Hill
Lisa Hooper
Andy Jackson
Jinhao Xie
Russell Jones
Chris Jones
Ilya Kaminsky
Mona Kareem
Saili Katebe
Marina Kazakova
Lisa Kelly
Katica Kulavkova
Theophilus Kwek
Myroslav Laiuk
Hannah Lavery
Tim Liardet
Rachel Long
Jane Longhurst
Janet Loverseed
Anneke Lubkowitz
Kirsten Luckins
Katrine Lyck
Peter Mackay
Rob A. Mackenzie
Robbie MacLeòid
Pól Mag Uidhir
Kartanya Maynard
Beth McDonough
Roger McGough
Hugh McMillan
Gordon Meade
Deborah Moffatt
Valzhyna Mort
Helena Nelson
Ciara Ní É
Mhairi Owens
Astra Papachristodoulou
Mariana Parisca
Past Poets 2021
D.A. Prince
Ligija Purinaša
Koleka Putuma
Nat Raha
Hannah Raymond-Cox
Roger Robinson
Calum Rodger
Jacqueline Saphra
Lawrence Schimel
Rebecca Sharp
Naomi Shihab Nye
John Siddique
Steve Smart
Monika Smekot
Alison Smith
Maria Stepanova
Laila Sumpton
Ingrida Tārauda
Joelle Taylor
Sheila Templeton
Greg Thomas
Marvin Thompson
Kate Tough
Indrė Valantinaitė
Roseanne Watt
Christopher Whyte
Jayde Will
Rab Wilson
Catherine Wilson
Jennifer Wong
Lyuba Yakimchuk
Jane Yolen
Adam Zagajewski

* Programme may be adjusted prior to tickets going on sale

Venues: StAnza Online, Zoom, The Byre Theatre, The Preservation Trust Museum, J&G Innes

Funding for 2021

StAnza is funded by Creative Scotland with support for 2021 from the University of St Andrews, the School of English, St Andrews Community Trust, the Edwin Morgan Trust, the British Council and various private donors.