The poet TJ Dema from Botswana is to take part in StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival in March.
TJ Dema is a poet who favours reading her work out loud. The former chairperson of the Writers Association of Botswana, she participated in the British Council and Lancaster University’s crossing borders program and later mentored the all female national champions for the British Council’s multi-country Power in the voice initiative. An alumna of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, she now runs Sauti A & PM, a Botswana based arts administration organization. She will take part at StAnza along with the current UK Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
StAnza will be held in the historic town of St Andrews, Fife from 5-9 March and is part of Homecoming Scotland 2014, a Scottish Government initiative to celebrate the year that Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games.
Over 70 poets will be appearing in over 100 events, along with artists, writers, musicians and actors in what promises to be one of their liveliest festivals ever. The line-up includes the UK poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Other headlining poets include Paul Muldoon, John Burnside and Douglas Dunn, who recently won the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry.
A main theme for StAnza’s 2014 is A Common Wealth of Poetry anticipating the Commonwealth Games which will take place in July. As part of this theme StAnza has invited poets from a range of Commonwealth countries, and there will also be a focus on poetry connecting with sports at the festival.
The festival opens with a spectacular contemporary circus and modern dance interpretation of the classic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, just one of the ways in which at poetry at StAnza engages with drama, music and visual art.
Festival Director Eleanor Livingstone said: “There’s something for all tastes and every interest in this festival. As well as celebrating Scottish poetry, we are delighted to bring to St Andrews and to Scotland, exciting voices from Botswana and elsewhere around the world.”
Commenting on the Launch of StAnza 2014, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP said: “StAnza 2014 is an important event on Scotland’s literary calendar and it will be all the more special in this, Scotland’s year of Homecoming.
“It is exciting to see the festival celebrate themes that reflect the major events that will take place across the country as part of this very unique year.”