A feast of Scottish poetry... for Africa

By Katie MacFadyen
22 Aug 2012

Money for agricultural development in Africa will be raised this week by performances from Scotland's finest poets, as well as some of the country's most significant new poetic talent.

The readings take place in the Persian Tent Village at St John's Church, Edinburgh (Venue 127, corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road) as part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

On Wednesday 22 August the performers will be Liz Lochhead, poet, dramatist, former Poet Laureate of Glasgow and Scots Makar, John Glenday, multi-award winning author of collections Grain and Undark, Stephanie Green, poet, novelist, and playwright, and Ryan van Winkle, Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, with music from John Sampson, a virtuoso on various wind instruments including the crumhorn, who has worked with poets such as Steward Conn and Carol Anne Duffy.

Liz Lochhead will be back on Thursday 23 August, this time with Jackie Kay, MBE and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle, William Letford, roofer by day, poet by night, and Helen Mort, five-times winner of the Foyle Young Poets award and youngest ever poet in residence at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, with music from Shetland folk singer Lise Sinclair.

A fresh, all-women line up on Friday 24 August with Vicki Feaver, Emeritus Professor at University College Chichester, Jane McKie, author of When the Sun Turns Green and owner of Knucker Press, and Patricia Ace, founder member of Lippy Bissoms, an all-women poetry collective. The music will be provided by Irene Railley's a capella group 'Just Voices'.

Saturday 25 August brings an especially Scottish selection of poets: Aonghas MacNeacail, native of the Isle of Skye and bilingual poet, Niall Campbell, a new poet from South Uist, and Jim Caurruth of Kilbarchan, described as 'Scotland's leading rural poet'. Musical accompaniment from Patsy Seddon, Gaelic singer and clarsach player.

Finally, on Sunday 26 August, there will be one last reading with Steward Conn, described as 'one of Scotland's most skilled and wide-ranging poets', Eunice Buchanan, Scots language poet, and Mandy Haggith, a writer and environmental activist based in the highlands. Carole Clarke will be singing a selection of light songs accompanied on the piano by George Wilson.

Money raised will go to Old MacDonald had a Farm for Africa, a project devised by Liz Lochhead and Jim Carruth to set up farms in Africa and provide 'clucking, mooing and baaing livestock'.

Across the five sessions there will be a diverse range of poets and poetry, all in the beautiful and cosy Persian Tent. Come along to hear some of the best of contemporary poetry in an unconventional setting and to raise money for a good cause.

Wednesday 22 to Saturday 26 August 2012, 11am-12pm, in the Persian Tent at St John's (Venue 127). Buy tickets here (http://www.hubtickets.co.uk/loader.asp?target=show.asp%3Fshcode%3D5082) or at the venue box office. Ekklesia is a sponsor and media partner of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

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(c) Katie MacFadyen is a fourth year student of Classics at the University of Edinburgh, about to start a dissertation in Reception Studies: the study of how classics is and has been used in subsequent cultural contexts. She also writes speculative fiction and theatre, as well as film and book reviews. Her theatre reviews from the Fringe Festival 2011 can be found on http://thenewkid.co.uk and http://somesuchlike.wordpress.com. She is a media intern for the Festival of Spirituality and Peace 2012 and contributes regularly to Spirituality and Peace News (http://festivalofspirituality.blogspot.co.uk/).

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