21st anniversary programme announced for StAnza 2018

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival has announced an outstanding line-up of talent as it launches its core programme for the 21st anniversary event next March.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “StAnza has once again devised an exciting programme to celebrate their 21st anniversary, with St Andrews providing the perfect stage for this internationally renowned poetry festival. The festival attracts poetry lovers from around the world as well as the very best of national and international talent to Scotland, and we are proud to be a long-term supporter of StAnza and their ambition to celebration outstanding poetry of all forms”.

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said: "We are thrilled to be launching the programme for StAnza 2018 which will be our 21st anniversary festival. To mark this hugely exciting milestone we will be adding a few twists to the usual favourites on our programme.

"StAnza 2018 will showcase some of the biggest names in the literary world alongside some of the newest and brightest talent to celebrate poetry in all its forms and we're delighted to be announcing details of this today."

The festival takes place in St Andrews, where for five days and nights from 7th to 11th March, the Fife coastal town comes alive with outstanding poetry in all its forms. To celebrate this exciting year for StAnza the festival will open with a special gala performance featuring a selection of headline poets reading and performing, intertwined with music, film and art.

The opening night gala will launch the five day festival with a line-up including internationally acclaimed poets from all over the world. Among the headline poets appearing at next year's annual festival is Sinéad Morrissey, who recently won the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry and is a former Belfast Poet Laureate and T.S. Eliot prize winner. She is joined by former Scots Makar Liz Lochhead (pictured) and Scottish poet and jazz musician Don Paterson who will be in conversation with Marie-Elsa Bragg, daughter of Melvyn Bragg. Also on the programme for 2018 is 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. Other names include Rachael Boast, who won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, Michael Symmons Roberts, a previous winner of the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award and the controversial prize-winning South Korean poet Ko Un.

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 Borderlines and The Self. Borderlines will examine how poetry can respond to and engage with a world connected through culture but divided on maps while the second theme will consider issues around the presence or absence of The Self in poetry and how this engages with the physical and mental self as well as with the political and personal self.

Another highlight for 2018 will be a focus on languages of the Netherlands under the title Going Dutch. This will see Dutch, Flemish and Frisian speaking poets taking part along with other events with a Dutch connection. StAnza is also delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.

StAnza is supported by Creative Scotland and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Alan Bett, Literature Officer for Creative Scotland, added: “StAnza has firmly established itself as amongst Europe’s leading showcases of contemporary poetry, celebrating Scotland’s most acclaimed poets and emerging talent, performing alongside their international counterparts. Scotland is a nation replete with literary talent and this year’s programme once again reflects this, offering a range of voices that includes William Letford, Liz Lochhead, Miriam Nash and Don Paterson.

“The festival themes for 2018 engage with pertinent and significant issues impacting upon us all, from the borders that separate us on maps to the issue of self in both political and personal form. This combination taps directly into literature’s important role of bringing people together to make sense of the world we live in.”

StAnza will bring over 80 events including poetry, music, film and art, many of which are free, to St Andrews for five days from 7th to 11th March. 

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