2022 Guest Curators

Harry Josephine Giles credit Rich Dyson

Minding Language

Guest Curator – Harry Josephine Giles

Minding Language is a series of events about poetry in these islands that unsettles the languages we use. Exploring Scotland’s many languages, minority language, multilingualism, translation, and ways of writing beyond and against English, the events bring together writers who are expanding the possibilities of language in our poetry and in our lives. Curated by Orkney writer Harry Josephine Giles, each event brings together two world-class poets in readings and conversations that explore new linguistic horizons for poetry.

Harry Josephine Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney, now living in Leith. With a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling, Harry Josephine’s work generally happens in the crunchy places where performance and politics get muddled up. As a poet, Harry Josephine has toured globally, and their poetry collections Tonguit (2015) and The Games (2018) were shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year. Their new book Deep Wheel Orcadia – a science-fiction verse-novel written in the Orkney dialect – came out with Picador in October 2021.

Mara Menzies

The Power of Storytelling

Guest Curator – Mara Menzies

The Power of Storytelling is a series of events about the joy and the power of storytelling in our lives, and the drive to constantly find new ways to tell our stories and pass them on to future generations. These events examine how our multiple heritages can influence the stories we tell, as well as the relevance of ancient stories for modern times. With the help of writers, storytellers and performers, Guest Curator Mara Menzies explores how stories can be transformed from oral tales into book form, and from paper into living, breathing performances.

Mara Menzies is an award-winning performance storyteller who draws on her rich Kenyan/Scottish cultural heritage to re-tell and create new narratives that give insight into her perception of the world. Her first novel, Blood and Gold, came out with Birlinn in October 2021, and explores the legacy of colonialism and slavery through myth and fantasy, rooted in real world events. She has toured globally with the live production that inspired this book, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 as part of the Made in Scotland showcase. She is also the founder of the Kwale Sculpture Park and Heritage Trail in Mbegani Village at the Kenyan coast.

Curator Events