Keats’ House Licence Dropped/Scots Language Awards/Mekong Literature Awards – Poetry News Roundup September 16th

We begin the week with a look at the alcohol licence for Keats House, the first Scots language awards, and the Mekong River Literature Awards.

Keats House Drops Licence Quest

Last week we reported the story of Keats House, the former home of the poet John Keats, and their application for an alcohol licence which had upset the locals.

However, following the objections to the plans from many of the locals – including several rather famous ones – the museum has now dropped its plans to serve alcohol at the screening of its films.

In addition to being the home of the romantic poet, the local area was also a source of inspiration for other poets of the time like Joanna Baillie.

Keats House is owned by The City of London Corporation have now made some amendments to the plans they submitted. They propose to hold only 50 events per year with a maximum capacity indoors for 100 people. There are now no plans to sell alcohol and what alcohol they want to sell will only be done at no more than six outdoor events with a capacity of 200 people.

The 16th-century inn, just across the Heath, has instead been suggested as the perfect place for museum visitors to go instead. It was here that Keats wrote “Ode to a Nightingale”.

Inaugural Scots Language Awards


A playwright and street poet from Dundee has been named as the Scots Performer of the Year in the first year of the Scots Language Awards.

Gary Robertson, who is from Fintry, has written several plays and poems in the dialect of his native Dundee. Many of them have been performed for the public at the Rep Theatre.

Robertson, who is a refuse collector by day was delighted when he learned that he had been shortlisted for the award. He received the news of his nomination on Twitter!

He believes that the award is an important way of preserving the many dialects that exist in Scotland, especially as so many words and phrases from American TV are appearing in everyday vocabulary.

His most recent work, which he is currently working on is a fictional story that is set in Dundee. “End of the Line” is based on the decline of the industrial heritage of Dundee.

The award ceremony will take place at the Mitchell Theatre, which is in Glasgow, on 27th September.

Mekong River Literature Awards

Two well-known writers in Cambodia have been selected to receive awards in the 10th Mekong River Literature Awards, which will take place in Myanmar.

The pair, a poet – Moeun Samnang, and Dr Setharin Penn, a short story writer – will travel to Myanmar for the ceremony which will take place between 11th and 14th October.

From the Siem Reap province in Cambodia, Samnang wrote his winning poem in the traditional Khmer verse style. Love Along the River tells the story of a fisherman who braves the elements to catch a fish that his wife can sell.  

The Awards came into being in 2006, and were set up to honour those writers who hailed from the member countries on the writer’s associations of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In 2007, they presented their first award; only 15 writers from the founding countries entered.

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