Poetry - StAnza Poetry Festival

StAnza’s 2021 programme promises to be "a celebration of poetry in all its forms" with a host of new names joining well-know faces in the online festival in March...

Press Release

StAnza, Scotland's International Poetry Festival has always been the perfect place to hear new voices and discover emerging talent, with 2021 set to be no different. The annual festival which this year takes place between 6-14th March as a hybrid, digital event from St Andrews, Fife, is as much about launching new talent as it is about bringing together some of the most well-known and best loved poets and artists from all around the world.

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said, “As a festival director ensuring our programme is fresh and inspiring is key to the success of StAnza year after year. It is a privilege to put together a line-up which is interesting and diverse and allows us to introduce stars of the future and new voices to the international stage.

“This year is slightly different as we have taken the festival online in response to Covid, but we are delighted to be bringing together a host of exciting and hugely talented newcomers alongside some of the biggest names in poetry in our innovative, digital format for 2021.”

Among the new voices in this year’s programme are Ciara Ní É (pictured above), Courtney Conrad and Hannah Raymond-Cox. Ciara Ní É whose first collection is forthcoming is DCU’s writer in residence 2020, an Irish Writers Centre ambassador, and the founder of REIC multilingual spoken word. Jamaican poet Courtney Conrad is a Roundhouse Poetry Slam runner-up and a BBC Fringe Slam finalist and was longlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize. She has competed internationally in Philadelphia at CUPSI and was a featured poet at Glastonbury Festival and UKYA City Takeover Festival. Hannah Raymond-Cox is a queer Hong-Kong born Jewish poet, actor, and theatre-maker with career highlights including a Southbank Centre poetry commission, Barbican Young Poets 2019/20, and developing interactive immersive theatre games with Parabolic Theatre.

Another new voice is Lisa Kelly who recently published her first collection, A Map Towards Fluency. Her poems have appeared in Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back and Carcanet’s New Poetries VII. She is the co-editor of The Deaf Issue, Magma 69 and is a board member of Magma Poetry.

New Scottish voices in the programme include Glasgow-based poet Calum Rodger, a former Scottish slam champion whose work explores interfaces between poetry and gaming. Edinburgh-based poet, writer and performer Andrew Blair and Fife poet Michael Grieve, shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award in 2020.

Two more emerging poets are Saili Katebe and Marvin Thompson. Saili Katebe, StAnza’s poet in residence, is a Zambian-born writer based in southwest England. In 2019 he was resident Bristol Boat Poet and a writer in residence on Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Writer, teacher and filmmaker Marvin Thompson’s debut poetry collection, Road Trip is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. In June 2020, the Poetry Society selected Road Trip as one of five Black Lives Matter Inspiration books and it was selected as one of the Poetry Books of the Year for 2020 by the Telegraph.

Other new voices performing this year at StAnza include Latgalian poet and journalist Ligija Purinaša; Rachel Long whose debut collection, My Darling from the Lions, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2020; poet, editor and facilitator and former University of St Andrews student, Laila Sumptom; national newspaper journalist turned poet, Aileen Ballantyne; and word forager Ink Asher Hemp who has recently written for Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints, been commissioned as part of the Edwin Morgan Trust’s Second Life Grants, and begun releasing tracks with musician/producer Nicholas Franck.

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. This year’s festival will include traditional StAnza favourites such as readings and round table events, and new events to capture the full potential of the digital realm, including interactive poetry installations, ‘At Home’ events with poets and an enhanced filmpoem and sound poem programme. The programme will also include a series of installations which can be enjoyed by those with little or no access to the internet. More than 80 poets will take part in around 50 events over nine days.

StAnza’s full programme is available on the StAnza website.

Image - Ciara Ní É by Hannah McGlynn courtesy of Creative Scotland
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