Dumfries and Galloway Writer Named BBC Poet in Residence

A writer who lives and works in Dumfries and Galloway has been named as BBC Scotland’s Poet in Residence for 2017-18.

Stuart A Paterson lives in Kirkcudbrightshire and his award winning work draws inspiration from the region.

He beat off 60 other poets to win the residency, which is conducted in collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library.

Stuart’s appointment was announced by broadcaster Janice Forsyth, who interviewed him for her show on BBC Radio Scotland.

During his interview on the show, he read his poem Margaret Wilson’s Abjuration, about an 18 year year old girl executed in Wigtown in the 17th century for her covenanting beliefs.

The poem comes from his forthcoming collection, Looking South, which is inspired  by Dumfries and Galloway.  The book will include poems featuring Dumfries’s Midsteeple, Whitesands, Southerness, Lockerbie, Hestan Island and many local landmarks.

Stuart’s awarding winning 2015 poetry pamphlet, Border Lines also focussed on the region and its poem Borders featured in the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems of 2015.

Stuart, who grew up in Kilmarnock, writes in Scots as well as English and said he would use the residency to make poetry more accessible.

Stuart said: “I’m thrilled to be appointed BBC Scotland Poet in Residence,’
‘As an Ayrshire poet living in Dumfries and Galloway, I’ve always been inspired by the way Burns used accessible poetry to reflect matters both universal and local. Building on the work of the first Poet in Residence Rachel McCrum, I hope to challenge perceptions of poetry being aloof and for the few, and to offer up work which people throughout our diverse country can relate to and enjoy.’

The residency takes place over four months, running from National Poetry Day (for which the new Poet in Residence will write a poem on the theme of ‘freedom’) to Burns Night. The poet is working with a variety of teams across the BBC. By the end of the residency, he  will have written a clutch of new poems that will be shared across BBC Scotland’s platforms.

Paterson’s  poetry collections are Mulaney of Larne and other poems (University of Leiden, Scottish Writers series, 1991), Saving Graces (Diehard, 1997), Border Lines (Indigo Dreams, 2015), and Aye (Tapsalteerie, 2016). He received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 1992 and a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust in 2014. He has also featured twice in the SPL’s annual online anthology Best Scottish Poems.

The residency offers a unique opportunity for a poet based in Scotland to engage with the wide range of themes and content produced and broadcast by BBC Scotland. Poetry is treasured in Scotland, and is an ideal medium for conveying to audiences the emotional impact and comment on the human condition of features presented in areas like news, current affairs and sport.’

The SPL will, with BBC Scotland, be supporting the poet throughout the residency. Tune into Radio Scotland between September and January to hear the results.

Latest Articles