Poetic Politics

Culture and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum



Welcome to our website!

‘Poetic Politics: Culture and the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, One Year On’ was an inter-institutional, publicly engaged symposium focused on cultural responses to the referendum. It was held on Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 2015 at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, with a connected evening performance event at a nearby venue. For more information, please visit our About page. Following the conference, the Poetic Politics book project was launched. Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry, published by Luath Press in October 2016, is a collection of recent works from a broad range of writers concerning a multitude of topics from refugees to referenda.

Aiblins now available in Waterstones and Blackwells

In addition to various online retailers like Amazon or Book Depository, you can now find Aiblins in your local Waterstones or Blackwells! Copies are available in all Scottish branches of each. If they’re sold out, or if you live in the UK but not in Scotland, then just ask and they can have one brought to the store with no need to pay for postage as you might with an online sale.

Enjoy your book browsing!


Aberdeen Launch – 21 November 2016

Location: The Underdog, Union St, Aberdeen

Time: 7pm – 9pm

On Mon, 21 Nov., the Underdog (Union St) will host the Aberdeen launch of Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry (Luath Press, 2016). Aiblins is an anthology of new Scottish poetry which tackles a wide range of political issues, both internal and external to Scotland’s borders. Featuring poetry written over a politically tumultuous period of time, this collection reflects Scottish poetry’s deep engagement with a rapidly changing civic landscape.

The launch will feature a discussion with the book’s editors, Katie Ailes and Sarah Paterson, moderated by writer Martin Malone, and a Q&A session with attendees, as well as readings from several of the poets published in the book. The launch event will be free and unticketed; we hope that you’ll join us!

Glasgow Launch details released

On Tues, Nov. 15 the Project Cafe at 134 Renfrew Street will host the Glasgow launch from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. The event will feature an introduction from the book’s editors, Katie Ailes and Sarah Paterson, as well as readings from several of the poets published in the book.

For more information, click here.

Aiblins now available for online purchase and worldwide delivery

You can now buy Aiblins no matter where you live in the world! Just click here to be taken to the Book Depository website.

Alternatively, Aiblins can be purchased directly from Luath Press, and shortly from bookshops around Scotland. For further details and updates, click here.

Book Launch – TONIGHT!

We can’t wait to see some of our wonderful poets and supporters tonight at the Radical Book Fair for the official launch of Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry!!! The books have arrived and are looking gorgeous – make sure you and your friends and family all come and get your hands on a copy! Further details below.

Aiblins Launch: Saturday 29 October 2016, 8.45pm

Aiblins will be launched at the Radical Book Fair on Saturday 29 October 2016 at 8.45pm. The venue is the Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 30-38 Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh.

Entry is free. Music, drinks, and dancing will follow readings from some of the poets featured in the book.

All welcome!

A New Video to Celebrate Going to Print

To celebrate the final manuscript going off to the presses, we’re releasing another one of our wonderful poets, Katy Ewing, reading her poem from the collection, ‘Friday the Nineteenth’.

Click here to go to our youtube channel and see all the latest videos.

Unveiling the Book Launch Date and Cover!

We are delighted to announce that we will be launching ‘Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry’ in Edinburgh on Saturday, Oct. 29th! The launch will be part of the 20th annual Word Power Radical Book Fair, and will take place at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall down Leith Walk. The event will run from 8:45pm – 9:45 and will feature readings from several of the poets featured in the book. It will be free and open to all.

For updates on the launch, you can join the Facebook event here, or see the listing on the Luath Press website, here.

We are currently in the process of organising more launches for the book in locations around the U.K., including Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Belfast: we will share details of these events as they are finalised.


And, drumroll please . . . Here’s the book’s cover! Thanks to Juliette King at Luath Press for the design. Hope to see you at the launch!

Unveiling the cover! Design by Juliette King at Luath Press.

Unveiling the cover! Design by Juliette King at Luath Press.

Update on our forthcoming book

The last few months have been full of action for the Poetic Politics project! After receiving hundreds of submissions for our collection of new Scottish political poetry, the editors met with a sub-editorial team to review every single one individually. The poems were reviewed blind with the poets’ names removed and narrowed painstakingly down to a shortlist from which the editors chose the final 50 poems that make up the volume.

We are thrilled to announce that the collection will be called Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry, and will be released by Luath Press in November 2016.

Thank you so much to everyone who’s supported us on this journey, especially to those of you who submitted and gave us such an extraordinary wealth of material to work with. We can’t wait for you all to see the final result!

Submissions now closed for “Poetic Politics” the book

Submissions are now closed (as of May 15th) for the anthology. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed your work! We’re overjoyed with the number of submissions we received, and we can’t wait to begin reading them and assembling the anthology. We will post updates here as the project progresses; stay tuned!


A full playlist of the event’s videos including Fiona Hyslop and Robert Crawford’s opening speeches are now available via youtube or by clicking here.


Thank you!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated on Wednesday! It was a fantastic day full of thought-provoking ideas and stimulating conversations about the intertwined roles of politics and culture in Scotland today, one year following the referendum. Whether you participated by speaking, performing, or joining the discussion as an attendee, audience member, or online, thank you for contributing to the conversation.

We’re currently sorting through the wealth of videos, photos, tweets, and other materials from the day in preparation for posting them on this blog. Watch this space! In the meantime, we’ve prepared a Storify with all the tweets from the day; check it out here: https://storify.com/KathrynAiles/poetic-politics

Thank you also to the NLS for hosting us in such a beautiful space, and to Amy Todman, the NLS Referendum Curator, for committing so much time, energy, and creativity to making this conference possible. Thank you to our funders, the University of Strathclyde Public Engagement Fund, the Strathclyde Research Support Fund, and the Strathclyde Research Cluster for Literature, Culture, and Place/Digital Humanities for making this possible!

Important Schedule Update

Please note that registration will now be open from 8:30am till 8:50pm for a prompt 9am start.

Thank you for your assistance, we’re looking forward to seeing you all!

Registration Update

Please note that the Day Programme is fully booked. However there are still spaces on the equally exciting Evening Programme (details below and via the Evening Programme tab). To book your place for only £5.95, please click here and select ‘Evening Programme’.

Thank you all so much for your support, and we look forward to seeing you all very soon!

Evening Programme Update

We are excited to announce that Augustine United Church on George IV Bridge will be our venue for the Evening Programme!

Scotland’s Makar, Liz Lochhead, Alan Riach, Alan Bissett, MiKo Berry, Jenny Lindsay, Chris Agee, Harry Giles, Alec Finlay, Aonghas MacNeacail, Gerda Stevenson, Bram Gieben, and Marc Sherland will be performing their works inspired by the referendum for us in this beautiful venue. Proceedings begin at 8pm. Although the church does not have a licence to sell drinks we will be operating a BYOB. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us, details are on the Contact Tab. More information on performers is available here.

To register please visit our eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetic-politics-culture-and-the-2014-scottish-indyref-one-year-on-tickets-17705860706

Tickets are selling out quickly so be sure to book soon!

Time to Register!

Registration for the conference is now open and spaces are filling up quickly! The Referendum workshop has already sold out but there’s still plenty of action to look forward to in the Day and Evening Programmes! Book now via Eventbrite to secure your place.


Conference Schedule Now Available

We are pleased to announce that our conference schedule has been confirmed and is available to view on the main menu of this website or by clicking here.

It’s packed full of fascinating topics and contributors to the 2014 Independence Referendum from all sides of the debate. Plus there’s a sneak peak at some of the incredible poets who’ll be joining us at the evening performance!

We hope to see you there! Registrations will be opening in July.

Thanks for your submissions!

The deadline for papers has now passed and we’re thrilled with the response we’ve received from a variety of subject areas and universities around the UK. We’ve looked at every single one of them and have contacted all who submitted abstracts. Keep an eye on the website for a provisional schedule!

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted abstracts, we hope to see you all in September as either a speaker or attendee.

Sarah and Kathryn



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