Archive | January, 2012

Come to our StAnza preview: National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1st February

29 Jan

Gerry Cambridge

Next week sees the launch of the StAnza brochure, which will be on display, fresh from the printers, at two events in Edinburgh. Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone will be showcasing the festival to literature professionals at the UNESCO City of Literature  Salon on Tuesday 31st January. This precedes the StAnza Preview, open to the public, which takes place at the National Library of Scotland, 1st February at 6pm. There will be samples of what to expect from Gerry Cambridge  of The Dark Horse fame, who will be appearing at StAnza, and from Andy Jackson and poets contributing to his new anthology, Split Screen, which will be officially launched at the festival in March. All this, plus music from Stretch Dawrson of theMending Hearts Trio Mending Hearts Trio (below), who are bringing some Western swing to StAnza’s Finale. It promises to be a delightful hour of entertainment – to secure a place at this free event, contact the NLS.

St Andrews wins Creative Places Award

24 Jan

Creative Place Awards 2012 - Winner's logo

Three cheers and hats in the air for St Andrews! The town won a Creative Places Award today, a new award scheme overseen by Creative Scotland, and received £150,000 in the category for places with fewer than 100,000 residents. The awards were announced at a special ceremony in Edinburgh today and StAnza’s Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone attended. What a great start to 2012, the Year of Creative Scotland.  St Andrews will be hosting its own Year of Celebration in 2012 and the award will allow the town to promote its already rich cultural programme to the UK and international visitors and to support a new community musical theatre production as the year’s centre piece production. The application was submitted on behalf of various cultural and marketing organisations active in town with the Byre Theatre as lead organisation. StAnza contributed to the submission.

For a pic of the winning teams, looking very pleased (and so they should) and more about their plans, see the link below:

Film maker required for commission at StAnza

23 Jan

StAnza is looking for a film-maker to make a short creative documentary film about the organisation and this year’s StAnza festival which will take place in St Andrews over five days, 14th – 18th March.

The project is being supported by EventScotland. The successful applicant should have proven experience in film-making and have enthusiasm for poetry and the arts. This is a short-term freelance commission paying a single fixed VAT inclusive fee of £500 with agreed expenses up to a maximum of a further £400. The deadline is 15 February for applications.

For a full job description, please contact Eleanor Livingstone at

Book your free place at the StAnza Book Group, St Andrews

19 Jan

Good news for poetry lovers living in and around St Andrews. StAnza is offering free places at its Book Group, a new collaboration between StAnza and the Open Association at the University of St Andrews, which will meet next month to read and talk about poets who will feature at StAnza 2012, including Michael Symmons Roberts and Kathleen Jamie.

Robert Crawford, one of Scotland’s leading poets and currently Professor of Modern Scottish Literature, and PhD students from the School of English at the University will lead three early evening sessions from 5.30pm-7.30pm on Wednesdays 1st, 15th and 29th February in the Conference Room at St Katherine’s West at 16 The Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AX. To book a free place contact Ruth Harris or Debbie Wilbraham on 01333 462275 or

Congratulations to John Burnside, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize

16 Jan

Just heard the news that John Burnside has won this year’s T.S Eliot Prize. Congratulations to him. He read from his winning collection, Black Cat Bone for StAnza last autumn in a stunning reading with Canadian poet Karen Solie. A lucky few will get to hear him at StAnza in March at one of our Round Table readings. Burnside is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews and lives in rural Fife. The collection won the Forward Prize 2011.

StAnza stories…whisky, happiness and tea with Jackie Kay

15 Jan

As you all know by now StAnza’s tickets are on sale and the programme is online to peruse. The Scotsman’s Bookworm has already had a look at what’s on offer and so here’s our first news story for 2012. Thanks, Bookworm!

You’ll notice a lovely story in there about a poem by Katrina Naomi, who appeared at StAnza last year and was inspired to write about it and whisky. The poem is in the latest issue of The London Magazine. StAnza is well known for being convivial and for providing pastries, pies and nibbles with its Poetry Cafe tickets. Plus elsewhere, there’s the menu at the Byre Theatre’s Kingarroch restaurant to try and the cafes and restaurants in st Andrews. So if you do miss out on the tea and cakes with Jackie Kay, there are plenty of other wonderful foodie happenings to enjoy!

StAnza tickets on sale today: book early!

11 Jan

Tickets for StAnza go on sale today! As well as the big centre stage readings with Jackie Kay, Kathleen Jamie, Christopher Reid and Michael Symmons Roberts  – to name just some of the top poets on the bill, now’s your chance to book early for those other in-demand events, such as our intimate round table events and interactive workshops with leading poets. And don’t forget to check out our  discounts. Booking details are here

We have been blogging recently about the programme, so have a look at our posts and the programme is available online too. Recent additions include a special performance of Denise Mina’s play A Drunk Woman Looks at a Thistle, with Karen Dunbar (pictured below). And we are pleased to announce that the actor David Hayman will be joining us on our launch night, with the Dave Batchelor Quintet and poet/musician Don Paterson, to celebrate Philip Larkin’s poetry and love of jazz.

StAnza takes place at the Byre Theatre, and other venues in St Andrews, from 14-18 March. It is part of the Year of Creative Scotland.

Be inspired at StAnza’s festival workshops and classes

7 Jan

StAnza’s educational theme, Poetry by Degrees, has given us the chance to expand on opportunities for creative practice. The festival programme is packed with workshops, inspirational sessions and opportunities for both new and experienced poets to develop their work. The festival’s other main theme, The Image, will provide the impetus for both these practical events and for talks and discussions centred on the craft and the study of poetry. The theme is also part of the celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews. Lavinia Greenlaw will be leading an all-day workshop at Balmungo House. Kwame Dawes (pictured) and John Glenday will be leading workshops respectively on poetic language and imagery. Glenday is a tutor at Moniack Mhor, the Scottish base of the Arvon Foundation, which is forming an outpost at StAnza 2012. Dawes is connected to the creative writing programme at the University of South Carolina. David Morley, founder of the University of Warwick writing programme, will be leading the StAnza Masterclass, which offers selected poets the chance to have their work discussed. Jo Bell, Director of National Poetry Day, will be heading a workshop on the power of using the negative.

To kick start the writing process, there are daily Inspire sessions at the Byre Theatre and lunchtime ‘Musings at MUSA’: a series of sessions at the Museum of the University of St Andrews, where writers are asked to respond to a treasure trove of artefacts from astrolabes to kaleidoscopes, all associated with the university. Both these events are free and participants are encouraged to submit copies of any resulting work for future display.

All this plus a range of chances to perform your work at open mics, the StAnza slam and music nights.

Find out more about these interactive events here. Tickets for StAnza go on sale next week, 11 January.

Photo of Kwame Dawes by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

StAnza is part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012.

Poets win major Costa prizes

4 Jan

Congratulations to Carol Ann Duffy for winning the Costa Prize for Poetry with her new collection, The Bees, the first published since she became Poet Laureate. StAnzagoers will recall her outstanding readings – which were sell-outs – at the festival in 2009. And congratulations to Matthew Hollis, whose acclaimed biography of Edward Thomas won the Costa Prize for Biography. Two poets have won prizes, but four have been honoured in a sense, if you include Thomas and the American poet Robert Frost, who also appears in the book. Matthew will be at StAnza in March, in conversation with Scotsman columnist Joyce McMillan about Edward Thomas, Frost and their important literary friendship. Tickets for StAnza go on sale 11 January.

Photo of Matthew Hollis by Claire McNamee.

StAnza 2012 focuses on The Image

3 Jan

StAnza’s theme, The Image  has inspired a series of unmissable events, exploring poetry’s relationship with the visual arts, film, tv, and photography. Here are just some of the highlights: Lavinia Greenlaw, the festival’s Poet-in-Residence, will be leading an all-day workshop, ‘Linked Forms’ at Balmungo House, formerly the home of artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. Participants will draw inspiration from the house itself in its beautiful Fife setting and the artist’s works displayed there. St Andrews has strong links with the history of photography and this will be reflected in several ways at StAnza. Simonides: Body Bags, is a collaboration between poet Robert Crawford and photographer Norman McBeath, juxtaposing images and Scots versions of ancient Greek poems about war. Photographs by StAnza’s Photographer-in-Residence in 2011, Dan Phillips will present a visual record of the poet in performance. More about photographic and art exhibitions here. Photographs are also at the heart of ‘Whistle’, Martin Figuera’s harrowing yet humorous account of his tragic childhood, evoked through family snaps and memorabilia. StAnza has featured poetry films since 2007 and this year has expanded this strand to include to three major events. Psycho Poetica matches original poems and music, with scenes from Hitchcock’s classic. Alastair Cook’s Filmpoem live uses sound and vision to create a new art form: poetry readings and music accompany haunting, beautiful images. Split-Screen, a new anthology of poems inspired by TV programmes and films, which will be launched at StAnza, is a celebration of ways in which poetry has connected with the visual off and on the page. Find out more about these events here.

There also talks, workshops and readings devoted to the theme. Check our website for more details. Tickets go on sale 11 January.

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