Title Image

Fife singer-songwriter and Olivier Award winning actress Barbara Dickson to launch StAnza’s 21st festival

Fife singer-songwriter and Olivier Award winning actress Barbara Dickson to launch StAnza’s 21st festival

Tickets now on sale and full programme for StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival online.

As tickets go on sale for StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, event organisers have announced the 21st festival will be launched by Barbara Dickson. The Fife singer-songwriter and Olivier Award winning actress will officially open StAnza 2018 as well as singing at this year’s special gala opening night event.

Festival director Eleanor Livingstone said: “We’re delighted that tickets are now on sale for this year’s festival which will be officially opened by the wonderful Barbara Dickson. The Fife singer-songwriter and actress will sing at StAnza’s special opening night gala performance to launch the 21st festival.

“The countdown is now well and truly on for StAnza 2018 which will see internationally acclaimed poets from Scotland, the UK and overseas descend on St Andrews, Fife, for five days in March to celebrate all things poetical.”

The opening night gala performance, featuring a selection of headline poets reading and performing, intertwined with music, film and art will launch the five-day festival. StAnza runs from 7 to 11 March, with a line-up including internationally acclaimed poets from all over the world. Among the headline poets appearing at this year’s annual festival is Sinéad Morrissey, who recently won the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry and is a former Belfast Poet Laureate and T.S. Eliot prize winner. She is joined by former Scots Makar Liz Lochhead and Scottish poet and jazz musician Don Paterson who will be in conversation with Marie-Elsa Bragg. Also on the programme for 2018 is Gillian Allnutt, who was awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry last year, Tara Bergin, winner of the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize in 2014 and up and coming Scottish poet William Letford.

Performing for the first time at StAnza is Mark Ford, a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books. Mark was awarded the Poetry Foundation’s 2015 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. Other names include Rachael Boast, who won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, Michael Symmons Roberts, a previous winner of the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award and acclaimed prize-winning South Korean poet Ko Un.

StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes which interweave with each other to give each annual festival its own unique flavour. This year’s themes are Borderlines and The Self. Borderlines will examine how poetry can respond to and engage with a world connected through culture but divided on maps while the second theme will consider issues around the presence or absence of The Self in poetry and how this engages with the physical and mental self as well as with the political and personal self.

 Another highlight for 2018 will be a focus on languages of the Netherlands and Flanders under the title Going Dutch. This will see Dutch, Flemish and Frisian speaking poets taking part along with other events with a Dutch connection. StAnza is also delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We have supported StAnza for the best part of a decade through a number of our funding programmes and it has been a pleasure to watch it develop into a cornerstone of our cultural events calendar. We are delighted to see Fife’s own Barbara Dickson opening the proceedings this year and look forward to another exceptional line-up of local, national and international poets helping to reaffirm Scotland’s position as the perfect stage for events as part of this world-class festival.”

Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland added: “StAnza gathers many of the world’s most acclaimed emerging and established poets in St Andrews and offers the rare opportunity for Scottish audiences to experience their work live.

“This year’s Opening Night gala performance will herald an array of talent to appear over the following five days, with a festival programme including former Makar Liz Lochhead and the increasingly important voice of William Letford. Poetry enables the passing of stories and an engagement with important issues, this is reflected in StAnza’s timely themes for 2018, Borderlines and The Self.”

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in person, by phone and online. Full box office details are online at our booking page or telephone the box office on 01334 475000.  The printed brochure will be available later this month.