Celtic Connections has barely completed its final bow and Aye Write is almost upon us. And what these two wonderful festivals have most in common I feel is that opportunity they both offer to help facilitate conversations, musical or otherwise, between participants – both on stage and off. These conversations are something the audience is more than welcome to take part in. As the city laureate it is no surprise that the events I’m particular interested in on the Aye Write programme this year provide that same offer to poets. One great example is Sonnets Exchange where three Scottish poets and three Russian poets will showcase translations of each others work emanating out of their time spent together in Moscow last year.And these types of conversation can happen at all stages of a poet’s development. St Mungo’s Mirorrball’s open Mic continues to provide a free opportunity for any poet irrespective of age or experience to step forward to be part of the Aye Write programme and grab their five minutes of fame. It was open mics like this where I made my first tentative steps to try and connect with an audience and I very much look forward to hosting this event at Aye Write I will also be hosting Adam O’Riordan and Rachael Boast - two extraordinary young UK poets who have already made a significant impact in the early part of their career and are reading from two new books – another must see event.As is the opportunity to hear John Burnside talk about his new book of fiction alongside his new poetry collection. And finally and on a personal basis I am looking forward to The Makars event and renewing my conversation with Jackie Kay and Liz Lochhead in what promises to be a great way to spend a Saturday Night.Aye Write has always been built on excellent conversations and that excitement you get when the words jump off the page - can’t wait !
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