In this special centenary year of the birth of Scotland’s first ever Makar – the remarkable Edwin Morgan – we celebrate the unbridled power of poetry. For Morgan, the job of being Scotland’s National Poet was to remind Scots that ‘if they want to achieve something in the world, and to really be taken seriously, then they need to show the world what they stand for’.
The poets who join us this Festival embody that sentiment: from poems which ignite activism; to those which help us better comprehend our humanity and shared experiences; to those which sharply and wittily observe the world around us - their words and verses act as rallying cries – uniting us in the quest for better understanding ourselves and the world we inhabit.
The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award
Saturday 15 August 14:30 - 15:30
Edwin Morgan was a man who cared deeply about the future. The Edwin Morgan Poetry Award is given every second year to a poet aged 30 and under. Join us for illuminating readings by the 2020 shortlisted poets Colin Bramwell, Michael Grieve, Kirsten Kerr, David Linklater, Paul Malgrati, Alycia Pirmohamed and Stewart Sanderson and stay tuned for the winner’s announcement.
Natalie Diaz & Ellen van Neerven: Voices of Indigenous Resistance
Monday 17 August 13:00 - 14:00
In what promises to be a powerful conversation, these two extraordinary poets come together with Nadine Aisha Jassat to discuss First Nations voices, race and racism, sexual identity and belonging. This is truth-telling of a transcendent nature; an unforgettable anthem to land, language and love.
Suzanne Bonnar, Joy Harjo & Jackie Kay: Makar to Makar - Sonnets from Scotland
Thursday 20 August 19:00 - 20:00
Get ready for warmth and wit as well as political and emotional gut-punches, in an evening of winding tales and terrific poetry — topped off with glorious songs from Scotland’s own Suzanne Bonnar.
Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power
Saturday 22 August 13:00 - 14:00
Join Alison Whittaker and a selection of some of the phenomenal poets who appear in the book – including Ellen van Neerven, Ancestress, Uncle Jim Everett, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi and Declan Furber Gillick – for readings and discussions that throw down a challenge to what contributor Bruce Pascoe calls ‘the tea-cosy nature of Australian comfort.’
Billy-Ray Belcourt & Mary Jean Chan: Words Will Set You Free
Monday 24 August 17:30 - 18:30
Join two refreshing poets whose work shimmers with defiant beauty, in conversation with writer and critic Jay G Ying, co-founder of the Scottish BAME Writers Network.
Allie Esiri: A Poem for Every Autumn Day
Sunday 30 August 14:30 - 15:30
In an unmissable Book Festival event, Allie Esiri lets you in on the secret formula behind her choices; while a roster of famous faces, including Helena Bonham Carter, Jamael Westman and Tobias Menzies, make an appearance to offer a peak of the soulful poems you have to look forward to as the nights get darker. This special event is directed by Paul Weiland.
Edwin Morgan: A Centenary Celebration of Scotland’s Great Poet
Monday 31 August 19:00 - 20:00
In this celebration of Edwin Morgan’s life and work we gather together some of Scotland’s writers and poets who continue to draw inspiration from his ideas. Through music, readings and reflections on Morgan’s life, this event invites you on a beautiful journey into the mind of a Scottish poetic genius.
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Themes: The Power of Poetry are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.
Hear the fascinating but littleknown stories of Edinburgh’s deep connections with Africa, Asia and the Caribbean over the past 500 years.
Join ComputerXplorers SEScotland LiVE on 31 October to learn how to create and design your very own haunted house complete with ghosts and ghouls using Computer Aided Design (CAD drawing)!
Join the Surgeons Hall Museums for Potted Pathology Part 2: The Brain and Neurological Disease on Monday 2nd November!