StAnza 2016 festival lineup announced

StAnza 2016 festival lineup announced

credit: Long Nguyen

Don Paterson, Jo Bell and Lemn Sissay are among the highlights of a diverse poetry festival

Poems are like kisses: we're all theoretically in favour of them, but you don't always want to be given one by a complete stranger. Lucky, then, for poetry festivals, where the expectation is part of the fun. StAnza, St Andrews' own poetry festival, returns in March 2016 with an impressively diverse array of headliners. The full programme will be launched closer to the time, but there's Dundee's great Don Paterson; Jo Bell, who apart from being an award-winning poet is also one of the poetry world's most entertaining bloggers; and one of England's best-loved poets, Lemn Sissay, who recently added to his remarkable accomplishments – which include an MBE and the job of official poet to the London 2012 Olympics – the Chancellorship of the University of Manchester.

Other notable UK poets featured in the 2016 festival are Pascale Petit, whose 2014 book Fauverie was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize; Fiona Benson, whose first collection Bright Travellers was one of the best-received poetry books of 2014; and Andrew McMillan, whose 2015 debut Physical was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. From overseas, there's Germany's Nora Gomringer, who founded the Bamberg Poetry Slam in 2001 at the age of 21; poet and critic Aase Berg, a founder member of the Stockholm Surrealist Group; veteran American fantasy and sci-fi writer Jane Yolen; the ever-popular poet, essayist and funeral director Thomas Lynch, best known for The Undertaking; and Australian poet Sarah Holland-Batt, whose hotly-anticipated second book The Hazards came out this year to wild acclaim in her native land (and we mean wild: 'there is wild genius inside these poems', according to the Newstead Short Story Tattoo. So there you are.)

StAnza traditionally focuses on two themes, and in 2016 they are Body of Poetry, which engages with the human body and its appetites, and City Lines, which focuses on architecture as part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. More than 60 poets are taking part and there'll be plenty of visual art, music and film events when your lips are feeling bruised from too much poetry.

StAnza is in various venues, St Andrews from Wed 2–Sun 6 Mar 2016. Tickets go on sale from Nov 2015.

StAnza: Scotland's Poetry Festival

The cleverly titled StAnza is a literary festival that focuses on verse. Joining the locals for readings, performances, slams, open mics, jazz, films, workshops and poetry-related art exhibitions, and installations are a host of local and international wordsmiths. The festival's 2021 edition heads online, with the themes…