Tom Pow reflects on A Year of Conversation 2019. MORE


These pieces have been specially written - or, on a couple of occasions, adapted - for the Conversations section of the A Year of Conversation 2019 website. Our debt to their authors is immense. The Conversations reflect a number of the main concerns of the year. Here they have been grouped by theme, the clearer to see the contribution their authors have made. MORE


This has been a theme running through A Year of Conversation. These final thoughts are drawn from the Cove Park Translation Week in November 2019 MORE


A project, in collaboration with the Fruitmarket Gallery, that bridges 2019 and 2020. MORE


Tom Pow reports at the end of a project with the Super Power Agency, considering a question that is key question for Moat Brae. MORE


A Year of Conversation has been busy in Book Week. You can find here Tom Pow's introduction to the Blether book, of which 100,000 are distributed free across Scotland, along with some further reflections on the importance of the value of the blether. MORE

Scotland and The Arctic: A Conversation

Tom Pow reports on the two week conversation which touched on Scotland's past, present and future relationship with the Arctic. MORE

Translation as Tourism

Meg Bateman and Padraig Macaoidh, two of the most respected poets in Gaelic, consider here not Translation as Conversation, but, intriguingly, as Tourism. MORE


In the time when Extinction Rebellion is once again taking its message to the streets of our cities, we publish a piece by an activist, Bella Crowe, responding to the question, Climate Change - Beyond Conversation? MORE


On National Poetry Day, whose theme this year is Truth, we publish Questions of Truth, a brief look at the conversation poem, which includes a specially written poem by Diana Hendry and Hamish Whyte. MORE


To mark International Day of Translation, we are delighted to publish 'Turning Together' by Fionn Petch, an essay, which captures the way his life experiences became the resources for his work as a translator. MORE

Market Talk

Jim Carruth's poem, Market Talk, responds to the tangible power of words to evoke memory and place. It makes a strong pairing with Patrick Laurie's prose piece, Taking The Bait. MORE

Taking the Bait: In a conversation with place and with the past

Patrick Laurie considers the isolation of the farming life and how it can be enriched with a bit of banter. MORE

Poetry and Conversation

In this essay, Miriam Gamble explores the complexity of 'conversation' in her own writing. There are resonances with Becket and with WS Graham in their expressions of the impossibility of communication with others and with the silences we write into. MORE


Writer, Sara Sheridan, on collaboration, being a smelly feminist and writing for kids. MORE

Enlightening Conversations

James Robertson (The Fanatic, Joseph Knight, The Testament of Gideon Mack) ruminates on Edinburgh and the Scottish Enlightenment. MORE


Tom Pow's Edinburgh International Book Festival session was with writer, Roanna Gonsalves. Issues of remembering and forgetting were discussed. As part of the conversation, audience members were issued with a card on which to write, 'I choose to remember...' and 'I choose to forget...' These were read by Roanna and Tom Pow at the end of the session. Here is the poem they made. MORE


Throughout much of the world, we can see borders limiting the possibility of conversation. Kapka Kassabova shows us that they can also lead to conversations that share space but not history. MORE

Growing Up A Reader: Conversations with children and young people about reading

Dr Sarah McGeown on what does it mean to be a young reader in the 21st century. MORE

A Walking Conversation

Poets Gerrie Fellows and Gerry Loose conducted this thoughtful conversation over roughly three months. There is a Quechua saying, 'A human being is earth that walks. We are earth that walks. Human beings - earth.' There is something of this sensibility in these exchanges. MORE


An extract from Ken Cockburn's blog as Wigtown Book Festival Spring Fling Writer in Residence in association with A Year of Conversation 2019 MORE


EXTENDING THE POSSIBILITIES - Translation as Conversation MORE

Time to restore the fine art of curiosity

Young children have become our most persistent philosophers, but too often we see curiosity channelled through the supercomputers in our hands, writes Tom Pow, Creative Director of A Year of Conversation. MORE

Conversation with a Cailleach

Linda Cracknell has made walking a significant part of her writing practice. In this extract, which she has selected from Doubling Back: Ten Paths Trodden in Memory, she shows her sensitivity to landscape and to encounter, in this instance a conversation that extends from deep in the past to the present moment. MORE


A conversation between JL Williams and James Iremonger, who perform together in the poetry and music band Hail of Bright Stones MORE


Em Strang and prisoners at HMP Dumfries describe CONVERSATION IN PRISON. MORE

The Importance of Conversation

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONVERSATION Marjorie Gill, Founder of Open Book, describes how literature sparks conversations. MORE


In this latest article in our A Year of Conversation – Translation as Conversation series, Jennie Erdal shares her thoughts on translation as someone who has practised its art. MORE

Conversations and Childhood (2 of 2)

As the Scottish Book Trust's Bookbug Week starts today, 13th May. we'd like to remember that Bookbug is not just for children. Here is the second of two reflections by one of our finest writers on conversation and childhood, Christine de Luca, a poem about conversation with her own son when he was a child. MORE

Conversations and Childhood (1 of 2)

As the Scottish Book Trust's Bookbug Week starts today, 13th May. we'd like to remember that Bookbug is not just for children. Here is the first of two reflections by one of our finest writers on conversation and childhood, Christine de Luca. This first is a memory of conversation in her own childhood on Shetland. The next in the series is a poem about conversation with her own son when he was a child. MORE

When You Walk/Whan ye traik

'Only football can do this,' said Michael Owen at the end of Liverpool's most unlikely triumph. It will be top of the list of many sporting conversations today and for many years. As our way of honouring the occasion, here is Liverpool's most famous anthem, for the first time, in Scots. MORE


In our third piece on Conversation and Place, Jemma Neville shows us the understanding and the rewards that can come from starting conversations where we live. MORE

SOLVITUR AMBULAND0 by Richard Frazer

The act of journeying, and meeting the stranger along the way can be a subversive, even revolutionary act MORE

Conversing with a Town

As the conversation opener in our thread on Conversation and Place, Matt Baker of The Stove Network writes about the Stove's conversing with the town of Dumfries, describing a practice that is transferable wherever there is the will to engage. MORE


Beginning our thread on Conversation and Place, David Francis discusses the importance of place and how it can open up a "search for commonality". MORE

“Don’t Start Me Talking: I Could Talk All Night.” -- Solitary translation and multiple conversations

Richard Price is one our most innovative and ambitious poets. He is also one of the most reflective regarding issues surrounding translation. This piece is part of our on-going engagement with Translation as Conversation. MORE

Conversations against all odds: the story of Nicaraguan Sign Language by Marieke Schouwstra

As we prepare for A Day of Conversation, we shall also be publishing, in Conversations, articles on Conversation and Walking, Conversation and Place, Conversation and Childhood, as well as continuing our thread on Translation as Conversation. Today we publish a wonderful article - almost a parable for our times. It's a second piece by Marieke Schouwstra, this time telling the story of the birth of Nicaraguan Sign Language. MORE

Conversation and the Arts

In certain universities in America, medical students are asked to contemplate a painting for fifteen minutes in silence and then to hold a conversation about it. The value of the exercise is clear: reflecting on emotion and relationships, coming out of comfort zones, respecting openness. MORE

Translation as Conversation

To the Edinburgh launch of The Other Tiger, Recent Poetry from Latin America, edited and translated by Richard himself (Seren 2017), Richard brought two Mexican poets, a Chilean poet and the Argentinian poet and translator, Jorge Fondebrider. In a short discussion, Jorge commented, “It's very hard to have a conversation with you (the audience), because you are so ignorant – pardon me for saying so.” MORE

Stimulating Conversation

Are we losing the art of conversation? Tom Pow explains how a project in Scotland is using the arts to stimulate communication. MORE

Translation as Conversation

Here A Year of Conversation Creative Director Tom Pow celebrates the act of translation as conversation, and invites us to participate in conversations across borders throughout the year. MORE


A Selection of Comments after A CONVERSATION ABOUT TRANSLATION held in association with A Year of Conversation. StAnza 10 March 2019. Participants: Richard Gwyn, Ken Cockburn, Madeleine Campbell, Mónika Ferencz. Chaired by Tom Pow. MORE

An ACE-aware Scotland? Let’s be an arts-aware nation too, for all children.

National charity Children in Scotland is running a campaign called 25 Calls, which sets out 25 changes to improve children’s lives. Here, Tom Pow, AYOC2019 Creative Director, responds to Starcatcher's call on the need for children to access the arts from the earliest age, explaining how creativity can kindle hope in the midst of adversity. MORE

Conversation Without Words

Dr Marieke Schouwstra has written for us a most engaging piece about her research on Conversation without Words - the title of her session at the Art of Conversation event on Saturday 16 Feb. MORE

Questions for Mr Burns

At ‘Conversations with Burns’ at the Bakehouse in January, audience members were asked to write on conversation cards something they’d like to say to Mr Burns. These are a selection of responses... MORE

The Art of Looking

Tom Pow responds to Allan Little's Crichton Conversation and looks forward to the Art of Conversation day at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. MORE

Oh, What a Company! Burns and Conversation

Alan Riach wrote this piece as a response to Rab Wilson’s ‘A Crack wi Robert Burns’. Both articles complement ‘Conversations with Burns’, an event with Tom Pow at the Bakehouse in Gatehouse of Fleet on January 26th – one of the first events in A Year of Conversation 2019. MORE

Allan Little on "The Art of Conversation"

Allan Little responding to the question 'What do you think is The Art of Conversation?' MORE

A Crack wi Robert Burns

Rab Wilson wrote this piece to complement ‘Conversations with Burns’, an event with Tom Pow at the Bakehouse in Gatehouse of Fleet on January 26th – one of the first events in A Year of Conversation 2019. MORE