Scottish Poetry News: December 2019

The year might be coming to an end, but there are still plenty of poetry competitions to apply to and evenings out to be had, including a Die Hard inspired event at the Scottish Poetry Library

Article by Beth Cochrane | 25 Nov 2019
  • Die Hard

December is quietly wrapping up 2019 with a few Christmassy happenings peppered through a calendar of non-tinseled, high-quality events. But first, going into 2020, why not start your writerly resolutions early and enter some work into a competition or two? The Janet Coats Memorial Prize has been recently established by Paisley Book Festival and is open for submissions until 13 December. It’s free to enter to all those who are over 18 and were either born, have lived in, or currently live in Scotland. You can also enter if you’re under 18 but live in Renfrewshire – a fantastic motivation for young, local poets to get involved. You can find further details on the Renfrewshire Leisure website.

If you’re an unpublished writer of non-fiction prose or poetry and based in the Highlands and Islands, consider submitting to the Katharine Stewart Award. The award welcomes submissions in Scots, Gaelic and English, and particularly encourages writers who are unsure how to develop their writing further. The specifics on how to enter the prize can be found on the Moniack Mhor website.

And if anyone is looking for a funded residency, Cove Park is open for literature residencies until 16 December. Applications are invited from any writer based in the UK who has at least one book-length publication (one residency position will be given to an emerging writer based in Scotland). Further details on the facilities, fees and eligibility can be found on the Cove Park website.

Looking for a poetic Christmas night out? Well, look no further than the Scottish Poetry Library’s event on 5 December. Die Bard! is billed as a 'poetic rendering of the classic action-slash-Christmas movie Die Hard.' Poets Alyson Kissner, Nadia Freeman, Rob Mackenzie, Ross McCleary, and Hannah Lavery will bring you a five-part series of retellings and interpretations of the film. Book online or in person at the poetry library to confirm your evening with John McClane and Alan Rickman’s band of notorious lackies.

Woodlands Community in Glasgow is delighting in frost fractured gardens with its event, Writing the Garden, on 7 December. The afternoon focuses on garden-inspired poetry and writing, and will be hosted by award-winning poet, writer and environmental artist, Gerry Loose. Conversation about his work, writing process and the World Poetry Movement will follow readings from Loose, Sheena Beaton, Maggie Watson and many more. But this isn’t just a sit down and listen event; Loose will also be delivering a garden-inspired creative writing workshop for writers of all levels and experiences.

There are plenty of regular spoken word and poetry events continuing through to the end of the year. Andrew Blair from the Scottish Book Trust has undertaken the mammoth task of compiling many of Scotland’s regular poetry events, all available here in this handy, location divided list on the Scottish Book Trust’s website. There are events from Dumfries and Galloway’s Wigtown and Lockerbie, all the way up to Inverness. The list of events includes all accessibility information where available – a fantastic detail moving towards making Scotland’s poetry scene as welcoming and physically inclusive as possible.

Finally, former Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, Dr Robyn Marsack, has edited one of Carcanet’s final publications of the year, Fifty Fifty: Carcanet’s Jubilee in Letters. Out on 12 December, each of the publisher’s fifty years is marked by an exchange of communication between a Carcanet author and an editor. The work is a celebration of the poet’s, editor’s and reader’s risks, passions and pleasures that have accompanied half a century’s worth of publications from one of the UK’s top poetry publishers.