Poetry Residencies

In October and November we are delighted to welcome poets Sean Wai Keung (Glasgow) and John Glenday (Carnoustie) for residencies and public workshops in the New Scriptorium in collaboration with Scottish Poetry Library and Hospitalfield.

Come to visit the writers on Thursday 9 November from 2.30 – 3.30pm to meet both writers and hear about their work at the New Scriptorium in Arbroath Abbey.

Sean Wai Keung in residence from 6 – 10 November 2023

Sean Wai Keung is a Glasgow-based writer specialising in poetry. His work is often concerned with issues to do with community and place, inspired by his own experiences of being mixed race as well as his family history of migration. His pamphlet ‘you are mistaken’, used classical taoist principles as starting points for poetry, and subsequently won the Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2016. His debut full length collection, ‘sikfan glaschu’, was then published by Verve Poetry Press in April 2021 and went on to be shortlisted for the 2022 Kavya Prize. It was described as “joyful, earnest and offering unexpected poignancies from everyday life” by The Scotsman.

Sean loves to experiment with form and as part of his residency he will be collecting un-needed paper from within the local Arbroath community in order to recycle it into new paper on which to write new work.

He can be contacted via his website where you can also get to know his work seanwaikeung.carrd.co

John Glenday in residence from 30 October – 3 November 2023

John Glenday grew up in Monifieth, attended school in Arbroath and now lives in Carnoustie. He is the author of four collections. ‘Grain’ (Picador 2009) was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, and ‘The Golden Mean’ (Picador 2015) was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Poetry Book of the Year and won the 2016 Roehampton Poetry Prize. His most recent publications are a limited edition artbook, ‘mira’, (Coast to Coast to Coast 2019) and a pamphlet, ‘The Firth’ (Mariscat Press 2020). His Selected Poems was published by Picador in 2020.

“I am very much looking forward to my Scriptorium Residency. I’m keen to use the time it grants me to engage with local charities and groups and advise them on writing their own ‘Declarations of Arbroath’ – detailing their good works, their aspirations and goals. I’ll also give Abbey visitors the chance to visit me in the Scriptorium and write their own instant poems, with my help.

In collaboration with artists from Hospitalfield, I’d like to explore the possibility of creating contemporary equivalents of the illuminated manuscripts that the original Scriptorium would have produced.

And if time allows, I’ll be pursuing my own writing too!”

Get to know some of John’s poetry here:

The New Scriptorium at Arbroath Abbey

The New Scriptorium is devised as a place for writing and a place for conversation – a place of activity and to celebrate the power of literacy and learning. The structure of the programme for the New Scriptorium includes Writer’s in Residence, events, schools’ projects and more. This programme of activity, in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland, transforms the building into a working space.

The New Scriptorium imagines the Abbey when it was a busy working environment with a library or scriptorium at its heart. The Benedictine order of monks who established the Abbey were from the French Tironensian order, each monk had their own craft or skill, literacy and the making of books was one of the most influential. The town of Arbroath grew up around the Abbey and so too; the red sandstone of the town with the streets running down to the harbour. The great Abbey, with its Round ‘O’ towering above the town, are completely inseparable formally and historically.

The New Scriptorium is an artist designed and built structure be sited on the Abbey grounds initiated by Arbroath 2020 committee in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, Hospitalfield and part of the Angus Place Partnership Programme.