Archive | June, 2013

Writing Commissioning Project

22 Jun

Here’s an exciting new creative commissioning project taking place over the next year which could be of interest to poets.

Remembered / Imagined is an Ambleskramble Production, a collaborative opportunity for two pairs of composers and writers to work together to create a new work for public touring in Spring 2014 by Mr McFall’s Chamber (string quintet), singer Maeve Mackinnon, actor/writer Angus Peter Campbell and optional electronics. The artists will be supported throughout the creative process by a team of mentors and workshopping opportunities.

Writers and composers may apply as pairs or as individuals. Two new works will be commissioned. The decision will be announced in early August 2013 and the writing phase will take place between Aug-Dec 2013, rehearsals/workshopping Jan-Feb 2014 and touring in Mar-Apr 2014.

For full information, guidelines, eligibility and details on how to apply email

Commission fee: £1,000 per artist
10-15 minute piece

Deadline: 30 June 2013

Mr McFall’s Chamber are looking for works that will present a contemporary response to Scotland’s rich traditional linguistic and musical heritage, drawing inspiration from the amazing archive at The School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. Applicants should be Scottish/Scottish-based and able to travel to Edinburgh throughout the project.

‘Exuberant and electrifying’: Carly Brown on competing at the Poetry Slam World Cup

19 Jun

‘Are you actually Scottish?’

I was asked this question many times at this year’s Poetry Slam World Cup (Coupe du Monde) in Paris. It’s a fair question considering that I was representing Scotland in the competition, joining 21 other national champions from countries such as Russia, Gabon and Spain, to compete for the title of World Champion. Although I have called Scotland home for the last three years, I am not actually Scottish. Before arriving at the competition, I felt pretty self-conscious about this fact. I even memorized a few lines from ‘Scots Wha Hae’ on the plane to Paris, in an attempt to lend myself some Scottish credibility.

However, within minutes of arriving at the Culture Rapide (a eclectic café in Paris’ Chinatown which served as the festival hub), I learned that the U.S national champion, Thuli Zuma, was originally from South Africa and the English champion, Stephanie Dogfoot, was born in Singapore. The diverse backgrounds of the other slam poets was one of the most interesting aspects of the Coupe du Monde. I quickly learned that the World Cup was less of a competition between different nations than an international celebration of Slam Poetry.

Carly in Paris with Sweden's Niklas Mesaros (left) and Denmark's Michael Dyst.

Carly in Paris with Sweden’s Niklas Mesaros (left) and Denmark’s Michael Dyst.

Although some of the other competitors were seasoned Slam veterans, I’m still a relative newcomer to the slam scene. I attended my first poetry slam three years ago as a fresher at the University of St Andrews and I was immediately drawn to Slam because it seemed to be a marriage of my two passions: acting and writing. After winning a few student slams, I entered the StAnza Slam in March 2013 and won. I then went on to win the Scottish National Slam in Edinburgh, securing my place as the Scottish National Champion (and my slot in the World Cup). So, this June, accompanied by three university friends (one of whom is actually Scottish), I set off for the Coupe du Monde.

The Coupe du Monde took place between June 3-9th this year. For one week, we watched 21 talented poets perform their original poetry in their native languages, from the deadpan comedic verse of Denmark’s Michael Dyst, to the exuberant and electrifying words of France’s Eupédien Deschardons. One of my favourite poets was Israel’s Ellen Potless, both a charismatic performer (as she crooned out melodic syllables in Hebrew) and a talented writer, grappling with themes like national identity in her poem ‘Jerusalem’.

coupe du monde

The multi-lingual nature of the World Cup, however, was not without its issues. Although translations of the poet’s words were supposed to appear on a screen, in both French and English, as he/she performed, many of the translations were inaccurate or out of sync. At one hilarious and frustrating moment during the Final Round, the projector actually broke! However, despite all of these translation errors and technological mishaps, the energy and enthusiasm of each competitor was easily understood and appreciated by the French audience, who laughed and applauded on cue despite the language barrier.

As a proud unofficial Scot (and a committee member of StAnza), I am pleased to report that I won 4th in the competition overall, placing higher than any other English speaking poet. First place went to Quebec’s Simon Roberts, Second went to Gabon’s Didier Tanguy and Third to Spain’s Daniel Orviz. I would like to extend a heart-felt congratulations to all of the poets I met that week and a thank you to my friends who travelled from the U.K to support me in Paris. It was one of the most inspiring, exhilarating and exhausting weeks of my life and I was honored to take part. Go Scotland…Vive L’Ecosse!

 Carly was interviewed by Le Point magazine while in Paris: see the video here

Congratulations Carly, World Class Slammer!

16 Jun

_MG_2188You may have already heard that Carly Brown, winner of this year’s StAnza Slam, went on to represent Scotland at the World Championships in Paris earlier this month and came fourth (out of 24)! Carly will be blogging here about her experience very soon. So watch this space!

Enjoy a taste of Fife at the Crail Food Festival

8 Jun
IMG_6165-300x200If you enjoyed the local food and drink on offer this year at StAnza 2013, you should check out the Crail Food Festival. Now in its third year, the festival takes places in Crail on 15 and 16 June, and it is a great way of discovering the fabulous food of Fife.
On Saturday 15 June around 30 local food businesses will take over Crail Community Hall. The Indoor Market will give visitors the opportunity to sample local produce with many of the producers creating special tasting platters for the festival. A food trail in the village will help visitors find other businesses to visit.
On Sunday 16, Crail’s harbour will host an open air Harbour Festival. A lobster shack, a convertible Land Rover serving up local delicacies, a smoothie-making bike, and a pizza oven in a horse box are just some of the street food offerings available. Cookery demonstrations and games for the children will keep the crowds entertained while Fife’s favourite foods will be on offer.

Listen again to the best of StAnza: festival podcasts

5 Jun
Erín Moure

Listen again to Erin Moure at StAnza
/Photo Credit: Chris Scott

If you missed out on StAnza this year or want to listen again to some of our wonderful poets. You can listen on our podcast page here to interviews with (and short readings by) George Szirtes, Alvin Pang, Hannah Silva, Gillian Clarke, Erin Moure and Ken Babstock. The podcasts were made by our friends at the Scottish Poetry Library and Culture Laser who visited the festival, recorders in hand, back in March. 

Exclusive ticket offers for East Neuk Festival

2 Jun

thingOne of the highlights of summer in Fife is the East Neuk Festival, 3-7 July, which combines an exciting and innovative musical and literature programme with wonderful venues, from exquisite churches to beautiful gardens. Nature is even more to the forefront this year, as the East Neuk Festival celebrates birds and birdsong. In its music programme there are masterpieces by Beethoven and Ravel as well two pieces by the outstanding Alaskan composer, John Luther-Adams. Its Littoral programme, curated by Catherine Lockerbie and Jenny Brown, aims to inspire, enquire and explore through writers and writing. This year, Littoral brings some of the finest nature writers from across the UK to join highly distinguished local authors to reflect on how we observe and interact with our environment.  The Festival has offered StAnza special ticket prices for the following Littoral and Music events:

LITTORAL: £5 tickets (instead of £10) for people quoting: ENFStAnza5

Thursday 4 July  | 18:00hrs  | Largo Kirk  | GAVIN FRANCIS

Adventurers including Alexander Selkirk, immortalised as Robinson Crusoe, are associated with this historic kirk, so it’s a fitting place to hear Fife-bred explorer Gavin Francis. After a year as doctor to the British Antarctic Survey, he speaks eloquently of a world of ice, silence and Emperor penguins.

LITTORAL: £10 (instead of £15) for people quoting: ENFStAnza10

Saturday 6 July  | 14:30hrs  | Cambo House and Estate  | CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP WITH LINDA CRACKNELL

Join experienced author and tutor, Linda Cracknell, in a workshop including forays outdoors into the beautiful Cambo Estate. Aimed at both new and experienced writers, the workshop will inspire you to explore your own associations with landscape through writing.

LITTORAL: £5 tickets (instead of £10) for people quoting: ENFStAnza5

Sunday 7 July  | 11:30hrs  | Crail Church Hall  | A SILENT SUMMER?

Join in a highly topical discussion with some of our leading authors and thinkers. Fifty years after Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring warned of the threats to our environment, what now are the dangers, and the signs of hope and success? Speakers include TC Smout, Sir John Lister-Kaye and Esther Woolfson.


London Conchord Ensemble

MUSIC: £10 tickets (instead of £15 & £12) for people quoting: ENFStAnza15 (for £15 to £10 tickets) and ENFStAnza12 (for £12 to £10 tickets)

Thursday 4 July  | 11:30hrs  | Cellardyke Church  | Wit Mystery and Youth 

London Conchord Ensemble

Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon, Messiaen: Abîme des Oiseaux, Mozart: Sonata for Cello and Bassoon K292, Janáček: Mladi 

London Conchord Ensemble’s clarinetist is none other than SCO principal, Maximiliano Martín. He plays solo Messiaen and features in youthful Mozart and Poulenc, both full of wit and brilliance. Janáček, ebullient and spry in his 70s, looks back to his own schooldays in one of his most uplifting works, Mladi.

MUSIC: £10 tickets (instead of £15) for people quoting: ENFStAnza15 

Friday 5 July  |  20:00hrs  | Cambo Barn  | The Tallis Scholars

John Taverner: Missa Corona Spinea

Thomas Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah

In their 40th Anniversary year, The Tallis Scholars bring masterpieces of the Renaissance to East Neuk. Taverner’s mass has the sweeping glory of Kings College Chapel: he was the greatest English composer of Henry VIII’s time, and his mass settings are magnificent choral spectaculars – vast and dramatic. Tallis’ Lamentations are profound, timeless – a great contrast.

MUSIC: £10 tickets (instead of £15) for people quoting: ENFStAnza15 

Sunday 7 July  | 17:00 hrs  | Cambo Barn Closing Concert 

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Christian Zacharias, conductor

Messiaen: Appel Interstellaire; Ravel: Ma Mère L’Oye (Suite); Beethoven: Symphony No 6 “Pastoral”

Cambo Barn invites something a little out of the ordinary so you are invited to take a journey in music from deepest space to the natural world right outside the venue. Zacharias conducts a perfect programme to close the 2013 Festival.


Hub Tickets: +44 (0)131 473 2000 / These offers apply to telephone and online bookings and in person at Hub Tickets, The Hub, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NE. To take advantage of these special ticket offers, you must quote the references given above.

For more details about the East Neuk Festival programme, visit their website.

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