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Event Notice: SPL and Aye Write present John Gray as well as 'Best Scottish Poems 2012'

Posted by on in Harry McGrath
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Scottish Poetry Library and Aye Write! join forces

SPL brings controversial thinker to Scotland and announces best poems of the year

Do you have the time to read a poem? Do you have a year to spare? How about a lifetime? The Scottish Poetry Library is pleased to announce its involvement in two events at the Aye Write literary festival: the first involves two novelists judging a whole year’s worth of Scottish poetry; and for the other, one of Britain’s greatest living thinkers reveals the poems that have shaped his life.

My Life In Poetry: John Gray

John Gray, the controversial philosopher, will explore his ‘life in poetry’ with SPL director Robyn Marsack. In his time, he has travelled from Thatcherite champion to an opponent of market fundamentalism while developinga thrillingly pessimistic view of mankind.

The poems he has treasured over a lifetime of mould-breakingthinkingform a sometimes familiar, sometimes surprising collection. This session shines an unexpected light on philosophy, poetry and the formative events of John Gray’s life.

Gray joins a distinguished selection of writers who have taken part in the SPL’s ‘My Life in Poetry’ series; other participants have included Janice Galloway, Alexander McCall Smith, Louis de Bernière and Jackie Kay.

Date: Saturday, 13 April, 12.00pm
Place: Mitchell Library, Glasgow

Best Scottish Poetry 2012

Novelists Zoe Strachan and Louise Welsh have had a year of reading Scottish poetry. From collections put out by major publishers to pamphlets produced by shoestring productions, Strachan and Welsh have hunted down the very best Scottish poetry has to offer in the past year, a titanic task.

At their Aye Write! event, they will exclusively reveal their choice of poems as the ‘Best Scottish Poems 2012’, as well as the identity of next year’s collection, when BSP marks its 10th anniversary. Emerging talent appears alongside established favourites in a selectionthat is becoming established as the annual assessment of the health of Scotland’s poetry scene. The final selection is being kept secret until the night of the event, when a number of the poets featured will read at the event.

Zoe Strachan says: ‘We hope to showcase different voices and languages, established poets and those newer to the scene, but most of all we want to choose poems that we love and would revisit time and time again. Lucky for me, at Aye Write I'll be listening to some of our choices straight from the poet's mouth, and hearing about the inspirations and processes that shaped them.’

Date: Sunday, 14 April, 4.30pm
Place: Mitchell Library, Glasgow

NOTES


John Gray:
regular contributor to The Guardian and New Statesman, author of much praised Straw Dogs: Thoughts in Humans and Other Animals (2002), The Immortalisation Commission (2011) and The Silence of Animals (2013).


Zoe Strachan: won a Betty Trask Award for her first novel Negative Space (2002); latest novel is Ever Fallen in Love (2011); teaches creative writing at the University of Glasgow.


Louise Welsh: author of five novels, the most recent of which is The Girl on the Stairs (Hodder & Stoughton); her 2002 debut The Cutting Room was nominated for the Orange Prize and won the Crime Writers’ Association Creasey Dagger.

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Harry McGrath is a former Coordinator of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He returned to Scotland in 2007. He is Chair of the DotScot registry which was set up to establish a top level internet domain for Scotland, the Edinburgh based Special Adviser to Simon Fraser University's Scottish Studies and advises Scottish Development International on its work in Canada. He writes the only column in Canada regularly dedicated to Scottish affairs and is a book reviewer for the Herald, Sunday Herald and SRB.

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