Rare 1996 Documentary About Burns to be Screened at Wigtown Book Festival

1996 Documentary Robert Burns Wigtown book festival
Dr Maya Angelou at Stirling Castle 1996 CREDIT Taylored Productions Ltd

Angelou on Burns, a rare 1996 documentary written and presented by Dr Maya Angelou about her love of Robert Burns’ work, gets revitalised screening at Wigtown Book Festival on Wednesday 2nd October at 7.30pm.


A Kind of Seeing presents a very special screening event and filmmaker talk in partnership with Driftwood Cinema as the main event of BookSpired, the new film festival launching this year as part of Wigtown Book Festival.


Amazingly at the age of eight on the dirt roads of Arkansas, Dr Maya Angelou, poet, novelist, educator and civil rights activist discovered the poetry of Robert Burns. In 1996 Glasgow-based filmmaker Elly Taylor made Angelou on Burns, a film exploring the strong parallels that existed in their lives. Dr Angelou flew across the Atlantic to Scotland to meet local ‘Burnsians’ in Ayrshire and experience the work and genius of Burns first hand. The journey she takes us on in the film is clearly an emotional one for her.


Elly Taylor will attend the screening at Wigtown County Building on 2nd October to talk about working with Dr Angelou to make the film. Elly will be reunited in the post-screening discussion with international Burns scholar Dr Valentina Bold (who appears in the film in a roundtable with Dr Angelou). Also joining the ‘blether’ will be Edinburgh-based poet Yemurai Chaza whose wide range of inspirations include Angelou and Burns.

The event’s curator and blether chair, Shona Thomson of A Kind of Seeing says: “Elly’s film originally screened on BBC television and widely at international film festivals from Palm Springs to Hong Kong, as well as being nominated for a Scottish BAFTA in 1997. Bringing the film back to the big screen in 2019 re-ignites the significance of the human bond between the struggles Dr Angelou identified in Burns’ words and songs and those she was living through. From the outset, it seems an unusual pairing but it has a real relevance when reading both writers today and considering how their work has been appreciated and appropriated since the film was made.”


Tickets for Angelou on Burns at Wigtown County Buildings on Wednesday 2nd October are available at £7 each.  They can be purchased: in person at the Wigtown Bopok Festival Box Office, 11 North Main Street in Wigtown; by phone on 01988 403222; and online at http://bit.ly/AngelouBurns.