speaks at a Festival Launch
Photo: Al Buntin
FESTIVAL DIRECTOR: Eleanor Livingstone
FESTIVAL CONSULTANT: Brian Johnstone
MEDIA & MARKETING EXECUTIVE: Annie Kelly
ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR: Ian Blyth
EDUCATION CO-ORDINATOR: Zoe Venditozzi
Read more about the people
Eleanor Livingstone has worked for StAnza since 2005. She has a background in legal work and as a creative writing tutor. She is also a poet, editor and reviewer. Brian Johnstone previously worked in education and was co-founder of StAnza. He is also a poet and he performs regularly with a poetry and jazz combo. Annie Kelly came to St Andrews to study for her PhD. Previously she worked in journalism for 16 years, latterly as Chief-Sub Editor with the BBC Good Food Magazine. Ian Blyth has an academic background as a researcher, lecturer and tutor. He also works as an editor for the Cambridge Edition of the works of Virginia Woolf. Zoe Venditozzi worked for ten years as an English teacher in schools in the UK and New Zealand. She has also been a creative writing tutor.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Menzies Campbell CBE QC MP
Angela Wrapson (Convenor)
StAnza’s Board of Trustees comprises Drew Clegg (Company Secretary), retired company director; Angela Wrapson (Chair), former Chair of the Traverse Theatre and Scottish/Norwegian Project Curator for Stavanger’s Year as European Capital of Culture; Jennie Erdal (Minutes Secretary), writer and translator; Maureen Jack, retired Educational Psychologist; Anna Crowe, poet and translator, and StAnza’s co-founder and first Artistic Director; Chris Jones and Tom Jones, poets and senior academics in the University of St Andrews School of English; Shona Munro, former Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival; Colin Mackay, retired Assistant Rector of Madras College; and Iain Gray (Treasurer), retired auditor.
Margaret Jarvis (Committee Secretary)
StAnza Photographers 1998-2012:
Festival Consultant, former director and
co-founder Brian Johnstone with
Photo: Graeme Mutch
Annie Kelly, Media & Marketing Executive and Ian Blyth, Associate Administrator
Photo: Eleanor Livingstone
Some of the StAnza team sharing
a joke with Jay Parini
Photo: Al Buntin
Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone
introduces a reading from Ghent at the
Distant Voices virtual festival in 2009
Photo: Iain Gray
The Directors of StAnza 2009 with First
Minister Alex Salmond at the Festival Launch
Photo: Al Buntin
Former Festival Director Brian Johnstone (2001-
2010) and new Festival Director Eleanor
Livingstone (2010-) toast the future
Photo: Al Buntin
StAnza: About the Organisation
courtesy of sponsors Fisher & Donaldson
StAnza's mission is to bring to audiences the best of poets, and practitioners in related art forms worldwide. Over the years StAnza, now recognised as one of the leading poetry festivals in the UK and Europe, has featured a strong list of contemporary poets from within Scotland and also from across the UK and the rest of the world. The organisation has brought a range of major poets to the festival, commissioned art works from leading artists, featured both past and present Poet Laureates, and has brought to StAnza poets from over 40 countries worldwide.
Read more about the organisation
from StAnza 2008 programme
StAnza also actively promotes readings in foreign or minority languages and has featured poets reading in many of the national languages of Europe, as well as in regional languages and dialects, not forgetting its regular showcasing of Gaelic and Scots poets.
Other than readings, the festival features performances, in conversations, an annual lecture, workshops and masterclasses, films and video projections, children’s events, stand-up sessions and a range of exhibitions. Songwriting, drama, comedy and storytelling have all played a part in the festival in recent years. Full lists of all previous festival participants can be seen in the past participants section of the site Archives.
The StAnza Festival was planned in 1997 by its founders, three St Andrews-based poets, Brian Johnstone, Anna Crowe and Gavin Bowd, the first two of whom are still involved in the organisation. The first festival took place in 1998, launching on National Poetry Day. StAnza continued to be held each October until its relaunch as a spring festival in 2003, from which time it has been held annually in March. All previous festival programmes can be seen in the past programmes section of the site Archives.
Highlights over the years have included the first appearance by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney in 1998 and his return in 2010, a poetry & jazz performance by the current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in 2003, 2004's Poetry & Art theme with historic vessel The Reaper as StAnza's Poetry Boat plus the controversial Burns Out of His Box exhibition, the Scottish launch of the Poetry Archive by the then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion in 2006, the celebration in 2007 of ten years of StAnza and Alastair Reid's ceremonial burning of his poem Scotland at the 100 Poets Gathering, 2009's Distant Voices virtual festival webcast to 68 countries as a world first, and the festival's launch by First Minister Alex Salmond as part of StAnza's participation in Homecoming Scotland 2009, which led to the festival being shortlisted for a Scottish Thistle Award.
StAnza has now grown to be recognised as the major poetry event in Scotland, attracting audiences from across the country and beyond. It is one of the principal poetry festivals with a nationwide reputation operating in the UK and has been recognised as a major European festival of poetry through its involvement with the Berlin poesiefestival’s European poetry festivals conference. StAnza is also a member of Bookfestival Scotland, the professional association of Scottish literary festivals established in 2009.
from StAnza 2001 programme
Organisational developments saw StAnza becoming a registered charity in 2001. In 2003 the organisation was reformed as a charitable company limited by guarantee under a board of trustees to whom the paid officials – the Festival Director, Artistic Director and Press & Media Manager – were directly responsible. In 2010 the staffing of StAnza was restructured with the appointment of the current Festival Director plus a Festival Consultant, a Media & Marketing Executive and an Associate Administrator. StAnza is an Inland Revenue recognised charity.
The festival is put together by a planning committee formed of volunteers drawn from the local, student and academic communities who plan, organise and develop the programme, meeting throughout the year chaired by the Festival Director. The committee is supported by various voluntary educational, legal and financial advisors.
The current Festival Director is Eleanor Livingstone, who previously served as Artistic Director from 2005-2010. The Chair of the StAnza Board, elected in 2009, is Angela Wrapson, former Chair of the board of Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre and curator of Stavanger 2008, European City of Culture. Brian Johnstone, one of the three festival founders, served as Chairman (1998-2001) and Festival Director (2001-2010); he is currently Festival Consultant.
StAnza funding, from the festival's inception in 1998, has been received principally from the Scottish Arts Council and their successor agency, Creative Scotland. This has increased steadily over the years. Regular funding contributions have been received from Fife Council and, since 2003, from various sections of The University of St Andrews. StAnza received funding to contribute in 2009 to Homecoming Scotland, and therafter from EventScotland. The festival is, however, fully independent of all of these organisations.
Since 2001 international funding for specific events has been received from various international arts bodies, embassies, consulates and foreign cultural institutes.
Principal corporate sponsors for the festival's first three years were St Andrews law firm Pagan Osborne, with the international hoteliers St Andrews Bay fulfilling this role from 2001 until 2006 when Waterstone’s Booksellers became major sponsor. In 2009 Pagan Osborne were welcomed back as Principal Sponsor for StAnza 2010. StAnza also has a strong record of small scale financial support from a broad-based list of local sponsors.hide
StAnza - Scotland's Poetry Festival is a private company limited by guarantee and registered under the Companies Acts (Registered No. SC253342). Recognised by the Inland Revenue as a Scottish Charity (Charity No. SC 031789).
StAnza is a fully independent festival funded by Creative Scotland, with contributions from Fife Council and the University of St Andrews. StAnza is a founder member of Bookfestival Scotland, the professional association of Scottish literary festivals.