Naomi Woddis
Naomi Woddis

StAnza brings poetry to Fife for another festival

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, has revealed a host of prize-winning poets among next year’s line-up as it launches its core festival programme for 2020.

Festival director Eleanor Livingstone said: “‘It’s always a pleasure to reveal the core programme for each StAnza festival and we’re delighted that next year’s line-up will be showcasing some of the biggest names in poetry, alongside some of the brightest new and upcoming talent for StAnza 2020.

‘In just a few months we will be setting the stage to celebrate the spoken and written word in all its forms with a diverse and vibrant festival over five days in the beautiful Fife town of St Andrews. Our programme will focus on themes and subjects fitting with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 and we look forward to revealing more details in coming weeks.’

The festival will open in St Andrews with a special gala performance featuring a selection of headline poets reading and performing, intertwined with music, film and art. This will launch the festival with a line-up including internationally acclaimed poets from all over the world.

Among the headline voices performing at next year’s festival are Jen Hadfield, the youngest ever winner of the T S Eliot Prize, American poet, editor and human rights advocate Carolyn Forché, Anthony Anaxagorou, winner of the 2019 H-100 Award for writing and publishing.

They are joined by British writer, artist, film programmer and activist, Jay Bernard and BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam Champion 2019, Birdspeed. The festival will also welcome one of Scotland’s best-known crime writers, Fife’s Val McDermid who will share her favourite poems at StAnza’s first ever Desert Island Poems event.

Other poets performing at StAnza include Wendy Cope, Michael Longley, Cecilie Lǿveid, Mimi Khalvati, Johan Sandberg McGuinne, Gerry Cambridge and many more.

Naomi Woddis

StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes which interweave with each other to give each annual festival its own unique flavour. Next year’s themes are Coast Lines and Due North. StAnza will also feature a Nordic language focus and is proud to be part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

In 2020, Scotland celebrates its coasts and waters with a year-long programme of events and activities which will shine a spotlight on these vital elements of our landscape. From our beautiful natural features including coasts, lochs and rivers to our industrial heritage such as our canals, mills, and the creation of our national drink – whisky, Scotland’s coasts and waters have shaped our culture, our stories and our way of life.

Viccy Adams, literature officer, Creative Scotland, said: ‘StAnza has a well-deserved reputation for bringing the world’s most exciting poetic voices to Fife’s doorstep, and the line-up for the 2020 Festival is no exception. From Jen Hadfield to Mimi Khalvati to Carolyn Forché, the programme is packed with poets who write with courage, talent and passion.

‘I’m personally particularly excited to hear Jay Bernard, and to discover new voices in translation. As always, there is something for everyone, from avid poetry fans to those dipping their toes for the first time.’

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. The festival will bring over 100 events including poetry, music, film and art, many of which are free, to St Andrews for five days from 4th to 8th March.

Tickets for StAnza will be on sale from January 2020.

StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival is funded by Creative Scotland, EventScotland and Fife Council, with support from the University of St Andrews.

For updates on StAnza, visit