New talent will be showcased at Scots poetry festival

Scotland’s International Poetry Festival will be bursting with new talent and future stars this year.

StAnza has always been the perfect place to hear new voices and discover emerging talent, with 2019 set to be no different.

The annual festival which this year takes place between 6-10 March in St Andrews, 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 no different and we have a host of exciting and hugely talented newcomers alongside some of the biggest names in poetry coming to Fife next month.’

Among the new voices in this year’s programme are spoken word poets Tolu Agbelusi, Harry Baker and Carly Brown.

Tolu Agbelusi was a 2017 BBC slam finalist, she was longlisted for the inaugural Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship and recognised by Speaking Volumes 2017 as one of the Best British Writers of Colour.

Harry Baker was the youngest ever World Poetry Slam Champion. His work has been showcased on and seen by millions online, as well as translated into twenty different languages.

Carly Brown has performed her poetry across the UK and internationally, including at Glastonbury Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe, and was recently shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize (2018).

Other new voices include Ella Frears who is poet in residence at the Royal Holloway and Caroline Teague who will be StAnza’s 2019 poet in residence supported by the Edwin Morgan Trust.

Poet, editor and critic Mary Jean Chan was shortlisted for the 2017 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and came second in the 2017 National Poetry Competition. Her debut pamphlet, A Hurry of English is the 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice.

Two aspiring UK poets are Ben Norris and Antosh Wojcik. Ben Norris, who plays Ben Archer in The Archers will MC the StAnza slam. He is a two-time national poetry slam champion and has appeared everywhere from Latitude Festival to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. His debut solo show, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family, won the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Antosh Wojcik is a resident artist at the Roundhouse and is a member of London-based poetry collectives, Kid Glove and Burn After Reading. His debut stage show How to Keep Time received critical acclaim at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018.

Finally, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Megan D, who released her debut EP Out in the Ocean in September 2017, produced by Billy Kennedy and Andy Monaghan of Frightened Rabbit, will perform in the opening night extravaganza with her unique style of bittersweet folk music.

Mairi Kidd, interim head of literature, languages and publishing, Creative Scotland, added: ‘Hot on the heels of an exciting list of headliners, StAnza has again outdone itself in the breadth and variety of its programme of new voices. The festival’s commitment to emerging writers is hugely important and they have unerring taste; poetry lovers would be well advised to make it along to as many of these events as possible as a nod from StAnza is very often indicative of a star of the future.’

This year’s festival is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in person, by phone and online.

Full box office details are online at the booking page or telephone the box office on 01334 475000. The printed brochure will be available early next month.