About The Festival

Forged in the flames of 2020, Edwin Morgan’s centenary year, our festival takes its title from his unforgettable poem ‘At Eighty’. Forward-looking and progressive; the poem encapsulates his persistent, indefatigable curiosity for the unknown, whatever it holds, come what may. The project pays homage to his inestimable contribution to poetry, his international perspective and to his restless pioneering spirit.

The festival was created to capture the vibrancy and dynamism of contemporary poetry, and to celebrate its ever-increasing influence. Our aim is to not only give poetry a new platform, but to create an environment where all variations of this vital artform are encouraged to grow, evolve and even collide. We want to explore fresh, inventive ways to bring poetry and audiences together by challenging perceptions of what poetry is and how and where it can be enjoyed. We seek to programme work which reflects and engages directly with the world around us in all its complexity and diversity; and to contribute to Scotland’s long legacy – and future – as a place where poetry and the arts are thriving.

The brainchild of producer and director Jenny Niven and Kevin Williamson (Neu Reekie!, Rebel Inc.), our first festival ran in October 2021. Sixty artists came together in a joyful explosion of words and community, and with the project immediately welcomed, the good ship PTBO embarked on a second voyage immediately. In 2022, we were delighted to welcome over 100 artists and contributors, with an even broader range of brilliant events from poetry to performance, and workshops to hip hop. With a talented team on board for 2023, we look forward to seeing you at Summerhall, November 24  – 26, and to continuing to evolve and develop our festival model in the coming years. Get in the boat, compañeros!

Read the 2022 Festival Report

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Read the 2021 Festival Report

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