Pennie’s Bestseller/Longfellow Festival/Inspiration For McNish – Poetry News Roundup March 4th

We begin the week on My Poetic Side with articles about Len Pennie’s poetry collection, the Longfellow Days Festival and what inspires Hollie McNish.

Instant Bestseller Poetry Collection for Len Pennie

Scots poet Len Pennie, who through her Scots Word of the Day which appeared on social media, has helped to popularise the Scots language has seen her debut poetry collection shoot to the top of the bestsellers chart.

The poetry collection which is titled “Poyums” has received over 5,000 pre-orders.

Pennie, who is just 24 years old, has been writing a regular column for The Herald and says that getting onto the bestsellers list is the most incredible feeling. Her poetry anthology covers a number of topics including mental illness and domestic abuse, which she wrote about to help others realise that they are not alone in going through these things. The collection is written in a mixture of both English and Scots and deals in a very frank way with some difficult topics.

The pre-orders include 1,200 signed copies of the book and also some dedicated copies which have been sold through The Portobello Bookshop, and independent bookstore in Edinburgh. There were also a further 1000 copies which have been pre-ordered as audiobooks. Pennie is a passionate advocate for survivors of domestic abuse, marginalised languages and the importance of the de-stigmatisation of mental illness. The has a following of around 1x.5 million fans including fellow poet Lemn Sissay, actor Michael Sheen and TV cook Nigella Lawson.

“I’m No’ Havin’ Children” the final poem in the collection went viral in 2020 and gained almost 1.2 million views.

Pennie has been touring the country as part of her sell out promotion for the book, with performances and speaking events taking place at seven locations in Scotland and a number of over UK wide venues.

Published by Canongate, “Poyums” is their second ever poetry best seller, closely following “Let the Light Pour In” by Lemn Sissay, which was released towards the end of September 2023.

Longfellow Days Festival Celebrates 217th Anniversary of the Poet and its Own 20th Anniversary

February marked the end of a month of celebrations for the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when the memory, and the birthday of the writer are commemorated with a range of different events including poetry and music.

Now in its 20th year the event has grown significantly over the years from just 5 poets in its inaugural year to the huge numbers who take part now and come from all over the region to do so.

Hollie McNish “I wanted a Job Where I Could Roller Skate”

In a recent interview the poet and writer Hollie McNish stated that when she was younger, she never wanted to be a writer but instead really wanted a job involving roller skates!

She also talked about some of the poets who have had an influence on her own writing. Wilfred Owen changed her mind about war with his poem Dulce et Decorum Est, and Seamus Heaney changed her mind about poetry whilst at school – although she did wonder why they were reading about potatoes. Perhaps most surprisingly her favourite poem is “Please Mrs Butler” by Allan Ahlberg, which makes her laugh.

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