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EIF reveal more about this year’s Encounters

By | Published on Friday 27 July 2012

Robert McCrum

The Edinburgh International Festival has announced more information about its Encounters strand this year, the series of debates supported by the British Council that sees artists and performers join cultural commentators and academics to “explore, debate and challenge issues inspired by the programme for Festival 2012”.

The series will kick off on 12 Aug by looking at the meaning of ‘Britishness’, taking as its starting point the arguments of Observer Associate Editor Robert McCrum (pictured), who argues that “Britishness can be redefined for the modern age and act as a passport to a renewed and vigorous participation in global affairs”. British Council chief Martin Davidson will lead the debate on the issue.

Then on Monday 13 Aug the theme will be developed further with a session exploring “the voices of the four nations of the United Kingdom” featuring Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, Scots poet and novelist Jackie Kay, writer and Wales’ first National Poet Gwyneth Lewis and English poet Lavinia Greenlaw.

Other topics set to be covered over the Encounters season this year are the influence of the classical world on modern culture, the role of satire in literature, and the role of myth and fairytale in Scottish and European traditions.

Commenting on the Encounters programme, Lloyd Anderson, Director British Council Scotland, told ThreeWeeks: “Encounters is a timely series of debates that addresses some of the biggest questions of our times. The changing political status of the UK nations is leading to fundamental realignments in identities. This raises the question of how a British identity will relate to national feeling in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the future. British Council Scotland is delighted to present this series in partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival”.