Top poets support StAnza’s Scotland’s Young Makars project

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, has launched an innovative mentoring programme in the new year to nurture up and coming poetic talent.

Scotland’s Young Makars will pilot this month, with a series of five online workshops, led by some of the biggest names in the Scottish and UK poetry scenes.

The programme is supported by Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, which will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

The workshops will provide support and mentoring for young writers looking to develop an understanding of all aspects of poetry. The first session will be led by former T.S. Eliot winner Jen Hadfield. Jen’s fourth poetry collection The Stone Age explores neurodiversity and was published by Picador in March 2021. She is currently working on Storm Pegs, a collection of essays about Shetland, where she lives.

StAnza Festival director Lucy Burnett said: ‘As a university creative writing tutor, I was always struck by how many students would arrive in their first poetry writing class only to state that they just don’t get poetry! It became my mission to convert them. I soon found out that it didn’t actually take much to help students “get it”, and even less from there to raving about how extraordinary poetry is.

‘Scotland’s Young Makars aims to extend this to budding young poets across Scotland and beyond, giving them exclusive access to some of the biggest names in poetry to help them develop and hone their skills.’

The programme has launched as a pilot. The sessions will be free and suitable for anyone of secondary school age. All participants will then be invited to submit work and the strongest poets from each school year will be selected for further online mentoring from poet Jen Hadfield and the chance to read at the StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry festival in 2022. The four other poets who will tutor sessions in the 2022 programme are Clare Shaw, Andrew McMillan, Caroline Bird and Janette Ayachi.

Scotland’s Young Makars Programme is supported by EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022. Further financial support has come from the Edwin Morgan and Old Possum’s Practical Trusts.

Find out more about StAnza HERE.

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