Scottish Poetry News - August 2018

While Edinburgh is a hub of literary activity this month, there are also festivals, open mics and events to take in across Scotland this August

Feature by Beth Cochrane | 01 Aug 2018
  • James Kelman Books

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is packed with some incredible spoken word and poetry shows, but that doesn’t mean poetry outside Edinburgh is at a standstill. Quite the contrary, in fact: August is chock-a-block with excellent poetry events running throughout the country.

There are multiple festivals happening elsewhere in Scotland, with Stowed Out Festival taking place on 10-11 Aug. Full weekend tickets cost £35, with a line-up promising an eclectic mix of music and spoken word. Loud Poets are co-ordinating the Roar Stage on the Saturday (11 Aug, 2.30-5pm) – their core team, consisting of Kevin McLean, Katie Ailes, Doug Garry and Mark Gallie, are confirmed in the line-up, with more spoken word artists yet to be announced.

Also in the Borders, taking place in Traquair House in Innerleithen, is the Beyond Borders Festival. Taking place on 25 and 26 Aug, the programme includes a huge variety of events, including panel discussions, comedy, visual art, storytelling, foraging walks and, of course, poetry and spoken word. Poetry readings can be found at numerous times throughout the Walled Garden strand of the programme.

In Ayr, Sunday Sessions in the Conservatory with hosts Rosie Mapplebeck and Graham Charlton, is continuing to take place on the third Sunday of the month (19 Aug). The event is held in Belleisle Conservatory, 2-4pm, as a family friendly open mic which is open to all. There’s a good play park close by too, for any poets with restless kids along for the afternoon.

In Dumfries, The Stove will also continue with its monthly open mic night. As usual, the last Friday of the month (31 Aug) will welcome writers and poets from all round the region to take to the stage and share their work. The Stove Network has also welcomed Stuart A. Paterson as its new Lowlands Writer in Residence. The Lowland project will be ongoing across the next three years, and looks to create a living story of Dumfries.

At the end of June, the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award’s shortlist was announced. The prize of £20,000 is one of the largest in the UK, and is biennially awarded to an unpublished poet under 30. Congratulations to the five poets shortlisted for 2018: Tom Docherty, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Daisy Lafarge, Peter Ratter and Roseanne Watt. The winner of the prize will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 22 Aug at 7pm.

The deadline is looming for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, with 31 Aug sure to come round before you know it. The award is an international competition with categories of Poetry and Short Fiction. Although the entry cost for a poetry entry is £12 (thumbs down, Aesthetica), the prize is worthwhile: consisting of £1000 cash, publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, a selection of books from Vintage and Bloodaxe Books, a year’s subscription to Granta, and membership to The Poetry Society. It’s well worth throwing your name in the hat, and both finalists and winner will be announced in December.

Whatever your poetry plans are for August, remember that the Fringe isn’t everything. There’s plenty going on elsewhere for poets and audiences alike.