Scotland’s International Poetry Festival (StAnza) was a huge success despite challenges of Covid.

The annual event was forced to move online in response to the pandemic but festival organisers say this did not detract from its outcome.

Festival Director, Eleanor Livingstone, said: “There is no doubt this year has been a very different type of StAnza but at a time when people need hope and something to look forward to, we are absolutely thrilled we were able to deliver a festival which has brought joy to so many. 

“We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which people embraced our online hybrid event.  Our opening night gala attracted more than double its normal audience which in itself is testament to the success of our online format.

She added: “We are indebted to everyone, from poets, artists, volunteers, funders and partners and of course all those who joined us online, who adapted to all our changes and helped make the festival such an exceptional event.”

StAnza 2021 launched with an online opening night gala showcasing a selection of poems, film, art and music with readings from Saili Katebe and Jane Longhurst as well as music from Glasgow-based folksinger, songwriter and ukulele player Claire Hastings.

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StAnza concludes today after nine days of over 80 events including performances, readings, music, drama, talks, workshops and a masterclass, open mic events, films, exhibitions and installations involving over 100 artists. 

Creative Scotland’s Head of Literature & Publishing, Alan Bett, said: “Despite the challenges we are currently faced with, the organisers at StAnza have adapted to change and once again managed to programme and deliver a strong and diverse line-up of poetry.

“The online offering, with mainly free-to-access events, will have opened the festival up to many who otherwise would have been unable to attend, connecting poets from across the globe with readers and audiences from Scotland and beyond.”

StAnza is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and the St Andrews Community Trust.