Poetry at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

17 Jun

Liz Lochhead, Scotland's Makar

Poetry lovers have plenty to look forward to at the Edinburgh International Book Festival which has just announced its programme for August. With a range of writers chosen to reflect the fast-changing times we live in, political change, ecology and the internet, the festival aims to give a snapshot of life and literature in the 21st century.

As one of its major themes, the festival celebrates the centenaries of two poetry giants, Sorley MacLean (who was at the heart of StAnza’s Gaelic Focus) and Czelaw Milosz are the focus of Legends in Literature, a series of talks and tributes about the lives and poetry of these two major figures.  And three laureates will be present: Scotland’s new Makar, Liz Lochhead and the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and the new Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, who is the guest selector for the children’s programme.

The line-up of present day poets features Paul Muldoon, Michael Longley, Robin Robertson, and Andrew Greig, David Harsent, and Robert Bringhurst and eminent Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. Among the new voices are Rachael Boast, a StAnza volunteer for several years, whose first collection has just been published by Picador, and Ryan van Winkle, Reader-in-Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, who hosted the Golden Hour at StAnza earlier this year.

The Scottish Poetry Library (who, like the EIBF are partners to StAnza), have brought their successful series ‘Nothing But the Poem’, offering people the chance to read poetry in depth, without prior knowledge, and in a relaxed environment. Join them for a relaxed hour at the Writers Retreat: subjects include, of course, Sorley MacLean and Czelaw Milosz.

Other treats include poets on their prose writing: Don Paterson talking about sonnets, John Burnside on both his new poetry collection, Black Cat Bone and his new novel set in the Arctic; and Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts praise the beauty of modern wastelands.

All this, plus the announcement of the winners of two major awards: the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Awards (which have on the shortlist, Stewart Conn and Jackie Kay), and the Edwin Morgan Competition.

Tickets for the Edinburgh International Book Festival go on sale, 28 June. The festival runs from 13-29 August. For programme and booking details click here

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