Fife prepares to welcome the world for a five-day celebration of poetry in all its forms

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival is set for another outstanding year as event organisers prepares to welcome the world to Fife for a five-day celebration of all things poetical. The annual event which takes place from 6th to 10th Match will bring dozens of poets from Scotland, the UK and overseas to the Fife town of St Andrews for the 2019 festival.

StAnza will be launched by special guest, Scottish poet, editor and critic Douglas Dunn. The festival traditionally opens with a show stopping first night performance and this year will be no different with a special opening night gala, featuring a selection of headline poets, including John Burnside, Caroline Teague and Carly Brown who will be reading and performing, intertwined with  film, art and music from Megan D.

StAnza’s 2019 programme showcases an exceptional line-up of talent including the winner of the prestigious Costa Book Prize, Scottish poet J.O Morgan. He will be joined by winner of the 2018 Forward Prize for Poetry for Best Single Poem, Liz Berry and poet, artist and film-maker, Imtiaz Dharker, awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 2014. They are joined by award-winning Jamaican poet and essayist, Ishion Hutchinson and Welsh poet, playwright, columnist, and editor Menna Elfyn. Also on the programme for 2019 is Caroline Bird, shortlisted for both the TS Eliot Award and the Ted Hughes Award in 2017. 

Other poets performing at StAnza include Joe with the Glasses, Fiona Moore, A.E. Stallings, Alan Spence, George Mario Angel Quintero, Gerda Stevenson, Matthew Stewart and many, many more.

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said: “We are delighted to once again be bringing a world-class line-up of literary talent to Scotland for StAnza 2019. With just days to go we look forward to welcoming friends new and old to Fife as we celebrate poetry in all its forms.

“StAnza includes something for everyone with a number of events dedicated to even the youngest of poetry fans and a full programme demonstrating the incredible talent within the poetry world from our headline acts to some of the newest voices on the stage.”

Over five days Fife's historic university town of St Andrews will come alive to celebrate live poetry in all its forms around this year's two themes, Off the Page and Another Place. Off the Page will explore poetry's relationship with the medium it's written on and will enjoy poetry presented in ways which aren’t in conventional book form. With the concept of ‘the other’ seeming ever more charged, Another Place will showcase poets who look beyond the familiar to explore new places and ideas. It will engage with the positive and negative, from the benefit to poets of experiencing new places, to concerns that climate change, extremism, etc. are threatening the future and turning it into another place.

Other highlights for 2019 will be a spotlight on poetry from the Mediterranean and beyond, and the Found in Translation showcase which will also be translated by a British Sign Language interpreter, adding another dimension to the event. StAnza is also delighted to be taking part in A Year of Conversation, a collaborative project designed to celebrate, initiate and to explore conversation through the arts. A Year of Conversation has been created by Tom Pow and various others as a year long Scottish initiative working with partners who will deliver events in the strand themed around conversation.

This year’s festival is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, added: “We are delighted to be supporting Stanza again this year, and look forward to another fantastic line-up of local, national and international poetic talent. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events, and visitors to StAnza this week will no doubt enjoy this hugely engaging programme, set against the beautiful historic town of St Andrews.”

Mairi Kidd, Interim Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland said: “StAnza’s superb programming continues for 2019 with another vibrant mix of well established-names and up-and-coming talent and two fascinating interlinked themes pushing the boundaries for poetry. There are many treats for poetry lovers and music, film, art and more to entice in those who may have previously thought poetry wasn’t for them.”

 StAnza is one of the top poetry festivals in the UK, famous for its friendly atmosphere and international focus. Over five days more than 100 readings, performances, discussions, poetry inspired installations and exhibitions and other cross-media performances will take place in a range of atmospheric venues in and around the historic and lively town of St Andrews, Fife.