More than 60 singers, writers and spoken word acts will be taking over arts centre Summerhall for three days for a major new addition to the city’s cultural calendar.
Scottish Album of the Year winner Nova Scotia The Truth, the first rapper to claim the title, Scottish hip hop favourite Solareye, indie-rock singer Roddy Woo mble, newly-appointed Makar Kathleen Jamie, author Kevin MacNeil, playwright Hannah Lavery and Caribbean poet Lorna Goodison ar e all confirmed to appear at Push The Boat Out.
It is expected to transform “every nook and cranny" of Summerhall from 15-17 October, but is also being planned so it will be able to go ahead in some form if new Covid restrictions are brought in.
Push The Boat Out, which will feature open mic events, film screenings, debates, workshops and live music, song and dance was announced last year to coincide with the centenary of the birth of the late Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s first Makar.
Organisers are creating an app which will allow festivalgoers to experience the streets of Edinburgh through the eyes and ears of more than 25 poets.
They have been commissioned to create new work for bespoke walking tours which can be enjoyed within a square mile of Summerhall.
They say they want to create an environment where all variations of poetry can “grow, evolve and even collide” and explore new ways ways to bring poetry and audiences together by “challenging perceptions of what poetry is and how it can be enjoyed.”
Push The Boat Out, which has been backed by national arts agency Creative Scotland, Edinburgh University and sponsors Baillie Gifford, was developed in lockdown by producer and director Jenny Niven and Kevin Williamson, writer, publisher and co-founder of Edinburgh-based arts collective “Neu! Reekie!”.
Other acts due to appear at Summerhall include Roseanne Watt, Harry Josephine Giles, Ray Antrobus, Clare Pollard, Caroline Bird and Salena Godden.
The Poetry Mile project, which is hoped to help new students navigate their way around parts of Edinburgh, will feature the work of writers like Esa Aldegheri, Janette Ayachi, Helen Boden, Christine De Luca, Jenny Lindsay, Theresa Muñoz, Don Paterson, Michael Pedersen, Julia Sorensen and Alan Spence.
Push The Boat Out would become only Scotland’s second annual poetry festival, after Stanza, in St Andrews, which was launched in 1998 and is held every March.
Ms Niven said: “We’re so excited to be launching our inaugural Push The Boat Out programme after what’s been a difficult year for everyone, not least those working within the arts.
“That said, poetry is all about using language in new ways, to express new experiences, so if ever there was a time to explore this vital and vibrant art form, it is now.
“We feel incredibly lucky to be hosting our inaugural festival in a city so full of talent, at a time when there is so much to say, and off the back of a summer festival season that saw
performance take over more city spaces than ever before.
"With performers and artists spanning the full spectrum of this spectacular artform, from classical verse to hip hop, we can’t wait for audiences to come along and enjoy.”