Fife poetry festival hailed an 'incredible success' despite Covid challenges

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, is being hailed an incredible success despite Covid challenges.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 9:28 am
Performer Saili Katebe.

The annual event was forced to move online in response to the pandemic but festival organisers say this did not detract from its outcome.

Festival director Eleanor Livingstone said: “There is no doubt this year has been a very different type of StAnza but at a time when people need hope and something to look forward to, we are absolutely thrilled we were able to deliver a festival which has brought joy to so many.

“We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which people embraced our online hybrid event. Our opening night gala attracted more than double its normal audience which in itself is testament to the success of our online format.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

StAnza 2021 launched with an online opening night gala extravaganza showcasing a selection of poems, film, art and music with readings from Saili Katebe and Jane Longhurst as well as music from Glasgow-based folksinger, songwriter and ukulele player Claire Hastings. Among the highlights of this year’s programme was the StAnza Lecture: Access all Areas, given by Jacqueline Saphra exploring ownership of the palace of poetic tradition.

StAnza concluded on Sunday after nine days of over 80 events including performances, readings, music, drama, talks, workshops and a masterclass, open mic events, films, exhibitions and installations involving over 100 artists.

Alan Bett, Creative Scotland’s head of literature & publishing, said: “Despite the challenges we are currently faced with, the organisers at StAnza have adapted to change and once again managed to programme and deliver a strong and diverse line-up of poetry. The online offering will have opened the festival up to many who otherwise would have been unable to attend, connecting poets from across the globe with readers and audiences from Scotland and beyond.”

Eleanor added: “We are indebted to everyone, from poets, artists, volunteers, funders and partners and of course all those who joined us online, who adapted to all our changes and helped make the festival such an exceptional event.”

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and the St Andrews Community Trust.