StAnza 2022 hailed a huge success by festival organisers

Published: 13 Mar 2022

A woman stands speaking at a podium, against a black background. To the right of the image a roller banner with the StAnza logo on it

Lyuba Yakimchuk, courtesy of StAnza

StAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival has ended on a high with organisers hailing the 25th festival a huge success.

Festival Director Lucy Burnett said: “The last week has been fabulous – even more wonderful than I dared to imagine - I honestly couldn’t have asked for more for my first festival at the helm, and participants and audience members alike have been hugely appreciative of our commitment to hosting an ambitious festival in live format. Our new hybrid format has also been a huge success, giving the festival a far greater reach and opening up our programme to larger audiences than ever before.

“StAnza set itself the aim of becoming an intervention in poetry, and we have certainly done that during our 25th festival. Under the title Stories like Starting Points StAnza was able to give artists a platform to explore, debate and recognise the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in today, and the role which poetry can play within this.”

StAnza 2022 celebrated Scotland’s Year of Stories and launched with an opening night extravaganza which featured a selection of headline poets, including Edinburgh’s Makar Hannah Lavery, as well as music from Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen. The sell out event, which was also live streamed online, started with a hybrid poetry reading including 15 poets split between the Byre Theatre and Zoom. Earlier that day, StAnza’s new mentoring project Scotland’s Young Makars concluded its first series with six young people sharing a selection of their poems, with readings from Jen Hadfield and Scotland’s Makar, Kathleen Jamie.

StAnza set itself the aim of becoming an intervention in poetry, and we have certainly done that during our 25th festival.- Lucy Burnett, Festival Director

Among the highlights of this year’s programme was undoubtedly Translation in Focus: Beyond Any Curtain, showcasing poetry and translations between Scotland and Ukraine. Despite the worsening crisis in Ukraine, the event was able to go ahead, and made even more incredible by one poet managing to make the journey to Scotland from the war-torn country to appear in person.

Lyuba Yakimchuk who arrived in Scotland on Wednesday morning described her journey: “On Sunday I left Kyiv to get here, it was challenging and very painful as there are a lot of refugees leaving. I crossed the border between Ukraine and Poland on foot.

“When you feel like you have to leave your country over shelling, it’s a very painful experience. Pregnant ladies, with babies and toddlers even were all trying to leave - they are civilian targets. It’s unacceptable, we didn’t do anything to deserve this experience.”

StAnza concluded on Sunday 13 March 2022 after seven days featuring over 120 events including performances, readings, music, drama, talks, workshops and a masterclass, open mic events, films, exhibitions and installations combining live and digital performances involving over 150 artists.

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland said: “StAnza offers the opportunity for poets from Scotland and around the globe to share a stage and connect with audiences, whether in person or digitally. In its 25th year, the success of that innovative digital offering must be congratulated, allowing a new and wider range of people to access these events. This festival’s new aims in becoming an intervention in poetry bring something fresh and Lucy Burnett should be congratulated for this first year at the helm, alongside the full StAnza team.”

StAnza is supported by EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022 and by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

For updates on StAnza, visit You can also find us on Facebook, read the StAnza Blog, and follow us on Twitter.


StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival is held every March in St Andrews and runs one-off events throughout the year. It is funded by Creative Scotland, EventScotland as part of Year of Stories 2022, Fife Council, St Andrews University and is grateful to have received a range of trust funding this year.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. Led by VisitScotland, the Year of Stories 2022 will sustain and build upon the momentum of preceding Themed Years, showcasing a nationwide programme of major events and community celebrations. Join the conversation using #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.

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