StAnza poetry festival set to bring world class poets to Fife

Makar Jackie Kay
Makar Jackie Kay

StAnza Scotland’s International Poetry Festival announces its 2017 programme on St Andrew’s day next week – but already some details are available.

Topping the list of poets who will be appearing is Scottish Makar Jackie Kay, making her fifth appearance at StAnza, but her first as Makar.

More than 60 poets will be appearing in St Andrews during the March festival, in around 100 events the length and breadth of the town.

As in past year, the festival will share two themes, and in 2017 they will be The Heights of Poetry and On the Road.

And the translated language focus will be on French poetry, specifically referring the Auld Alliance.

Around a quarter of the poets have already been named, coming to St Andrews from around the world to perform, read and share experiences with each other and their audiences.

Jim Carruth has one of the shorter journeys. Described as Scotland’s leading rural poet, Carruth is also Glasgow Poet Laureate.

But from much further afield comes Trinidadian poet Vahni Caildeo.

Coming from Europe are Catalan poet Joan Margarit, Aurélia Lassaque who writes in French and Occitan, and French poet Jacques Darras.

Also lined up are UK based poets the Afro-Caribbean John Agard, Hong Kong-born Sarah Howe, Patience Agbabi, Sasha Dugdale, Elain Feinstein, A B Jackson, Alice Oswald, and local poet Robert Crawford.

Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said: “Next year marks a fantastic milestone for StAnza, being our 20th festival so we’re extremely excited to be launching our full programme on St Andrew’s Day.

“We hope StAnza 2017 will be a festival to remember, as we move into our third decade, with a line up which showcases some of the biggest names in the literary world alongside some of the newest and brightest talent.”

StAnza was launched in 1998 by three St Andrews-based poets, Brian Johnstone, Anna Crowe and Gavin Bowd since then the festival has attracted poets and visitors from around the globe, including appearances by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, and in 2009 the festival gained a world first when its Distant Voices virtual festival was webcast to 68 countries.

The full StAnza 2017 programme will be available on line at from Wednesday (November 30) with tickets going on sale from early January 2017.