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Poetic Offensive event

Join Scottish PEN for an evening of poetry and resistance with Sheila Templeton, Iyad Hayatleh, William Hershaw, Vahid Davar & Meg Bateman.

January 26, 2022

Join Scottish PEN for an evening of poetry and resistance with Sheila Templeton, Iyad Hayatleh, William Hershaw, Vahid Davar & Meg Bateman.

About this event

In February 2021, Scottish PEN’s Writers for Peace group joined with Paisley Book Festival and a range of talented poets to tackle the theme of offense and censorship in writing. We wanted to explore the ways that algorithms and artificial intelligence technology could be making automated decisions that silence marginalised voices in art and fail to understand context, satire and humour.

On 10th February 2022 at 7.30pm, the Poetic Offensive event will return online to again question the strange times we live in, and explore artistic responses to important social issues. This time, we will consider the power that language has to subvert norms and promote radical narratives of free expression.

Featuring poetry in Scots, Gaelic and English, join event chair Mario Relich, and writers Sheila TempletonIyad HayatlehWilliam HershawVahid Davar and Meg Bateman, as we dig into the role of poetry in offering resistance and furthering causes of peace.

Book a free place at the link below. Zoom joining details will be circulated in advance.

We look forward to welcoming you along on the night!

While we endeavour to ensure free access to our events, donations to Scottish PEN’s work are always greatly appreciated. You can show your support by donating here.


Writer biographies

Sheila Templeton writes in Scots and English. She has been Makar of the Federation of Writers Scotland and was nominated in 2020 for a Scots Writer of the Year Award. Her poetry has won top prizes in various competition including the McCash Scots Language, McLellan and Neil Gunn Poetry awards. She recently won the McCash Competition with her poem This morn. Her latest full collections are Gaitherin and Clyack, both Red Squirrel Press.

Iyad Hayatleh is a Palestinian poet and translator who was born and grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. He started writing poetry early and published his work in Arabic magazines, giving many readings in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He has lived in Glasgow since the year 2000. His poems have been published in magazines and collective poetry books in Scotland in both Arabic and English, and explore themes of exile and identity.

Vahid Davar is a published Iranian poet and PhD candidate in Persian Studies at the University of St. Andrews. ‘Sefr-e Safar’ (The Book of Journeys), Vahid Davar’s debut poetry collection, was highly commended by the 2019 Ahmad Shamlou Prize, the most prestigious Persian poetry prize. His second book, ‘Ahd-e Nassim’ (Nassim’s Testament) has also been admired by several Iranian poets and literary critics including the late Esmail Khoi. ‘Something the Colour of Pines on Fire’, a pamphlet of his self-translated poems is due to be published soon by Matecznik Press.

William Hershaw is a poet and folk musician who writes mainly in Scots. He is the editor of the Scots Language Society magazine “Lallans”. His most recent poetry collection is “Earth Bound Companions” published by Grace Note Publications. His long poem “The Sair Road” is a version of the Stations of the Cross set in the mining communities of twentieth century Fife.

Meg Bateman born Edinburgh 1959, teaches Gaelic, which she learned in South Uist and Aberdeen University, at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, in Skye. Her poetry collections are Òrain Ghaoil/Amhráin Ghrá (1989), Aotromachd/Lightness (1997), Soirbheas/ Fair Wind (2007) and Transparencies (2013). She has co-edited and translated five anthologies of historical Gaelic verse, and with John Purser, she wrote Window-to-the-West.pdf (uhi.ac.uk) on Culture and Environment in the Scottish Gàidhealtachd.