Poet Laureate event to be live streamed from Aberdeen Central Library

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will perform a live-streamed reading from Aberdeen Central Library on Tuesday as part of his ten-year Laureate’s Library Tour.

Each spring for the next decade, Simon Armitage will give readings across the UK, from the flagship libraries of the big cities to smaller libraries serving rural and remote communities. Using the alphabet as a compass, his journey will celebrate the library as one of the great and necessary institutions.

The Laureate said: “My experience of reading and writing began in the village library where I grew up, then in the nearby town library, then in libraries at various places of study and teaching. For many people they are an invaluable aspect of everyday life, giving access not just to books but to services, learning, conversation and creative thinking. I want to pay my respects to these unique institutions.

“It would have been easy to stream these events from my office or garden shed, but at a time when libraries have been out of bounds during lockdown, reading from inside their physical structures feels like an act of solidarity – with books, with poetry and with communities.”

"Aberdeen is the furthest journey for me this year, and it's a trip that I'm especially looking forward to. I'm already planning which sandwiches to make and what to put in the Thermos.”

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to welcome the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, to Aberdeen and write another chapter in our iconic Central Library’s history.

“While lockdown unfortunately means Simon will not have a live audience, we are still thrilled that he is still committed to appearing at the Library, restrictions permitting, and thanks to our ongoing creative use of technology we are still able to share his, and our guest poet’s, readings with an online audience.

The A-B Libraries Tour comes to Aberdeen on Tuesday 27 April and will be live streamed from 7.30 – 8.30pm as Simon Armitage and guest poet Mag Dixon, a three-times Foyle Young Poet winner from Cruden Bay, will read their poems and tell brief stories around them, live and in-person on site in the Library - travel restrictions permitting.

Simon Armitage is the UK Poet Laureate and was Oxford Professor of Poetry (2015-2019). His numerous accolades include an Ivor Novello Award for song-writing in the BAFTA-winning film 'Feltham Sings' and the 2018 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Armitage has published over a dozen collections of poetry, including 'Magnetic Field: The Marsden Poems' and his acclaimed translation of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'.

His forthcoming book is 'A Vertical Art' (Faber). He also writes extensively for theatre, television and radio, and is the author of two novels and the non-fiction bestsellers 'All Points North', 'Walking Home' and 'Walking Away'. He was appointed Professor of Poetry at Leeds University in 2017. www.simonarmitage.com

Mag Dixon has been writing in spells since they were twelve. Their poetry has always trailed through liminal spaces and eyed the intersection between place and people. They are studying Geography and Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. They miss taking the train home every second Saturday to watch Peterhead FC with their wee brother and getting a chipper supper. Mag was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and credits their confidence and belief in poetry to the competition.

This is a free, ticketed event that will be live-streamed via CrowdCast. It is recommended for adults and teenagers. It has an Audience Advisory 11+ (may contain strong language). Tickets can be booked via www.crowdcast.io/e/aberdeen.

The A-B Libraries Tour is kindly funded by the T. S. Eliot Estate and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. It is also supported by Faber & Faber. We are grateful to our hosts at each of the libraries on this Tour for making this project possible.