While Aberdeen already possesses a Word Centre devoted to creative writing, the Grierson Centre has hosted events featuring creative writers presenting their more straightforwardly academic research.

Notably, in 2017 we welcomed Alec Finlay , who gave a fascinating talk on Scottish cultural geography in honour of WFH Nicolaisen, covering place-names, misnames, the Fianscape, shee (fairy) lore, and the tidal nature of meaning and language. This was followed by a seminar on mapping forms, as well as a short poetry reading by Dr David Wheatley. Our events on the theme of classical reception in English have also been a particular strength, with a strong focus on textual criticism. 

Here is a list of some of our other past events:

November 2019: Tom Pickard poetry reading and film screening: a combined poetry reading and screening of unseen archival material from the 1970s by the poet and film-maker Tom Pickard.

Angela Leighton poetry reading and discussion: a poetry reading by the poet and Cambridge academic Angela Leighton, combined with a discussion on combining the roles of poet and critic. 

A symposium on Irish women’s poetry took place as part of the RIISS Beyond the Border conference, but was originally conceived as a separate Grierson Centre event, and was programmed by David Wheatley. The invited speakers were Dr Ailbhe Darcy (Cardiff) and Aifric Mac Aodha (Dublin), who gave a poetry reading, and Professor Matthew Campbell, who gave a paper, as did David Wheatley 

October 2018: W. S. Graham Centenary Tribute Reading: Word Centre/Grierson Centre joint event, featuring readings and discussion by Christopher Reid and Róisín Tierney, as well as Aberdeen staff and students.

January 2018:The Dooble Tongue’: Modern Poetry and Translation: a day-long event featuring contributions from Clémence O’Connor (Aberdeen), John Goodby (Swansea), Martin Malone (Aberdeen), Lesley Harrison (Aberdeen/Hull), Patrick Crotty (Aberdeen), David Wheatley (Aberdeen), Patrick McGuinness (Oxford), Gill Russell (independent artist), ad Maryem Bouzid (Aberdeen).

July 2017: ‘The Uses of Euhemerism’: a two-day interdisciplinary symposium on the reception of Euhemerus and euhemerist interpretation of myth from the C3rd BCE to the C19th CE, with contributions from scholars in English, Classics and Religious Studies, and visiting speakers from the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Vienna, Princeton, California (Santa Barbara and Los Angeles), Maryland, and Boğaziçi (Turkey). A volume based on the symposium, titled Euhemerism and Its Uses: The Mortal Gods, edited by Syrithe Pugh, is currently in press under contract to Routledge.

January 2016: ‘Subversions of Classical Learning: A Conference to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sir Herbert Grierson’ : a three-day interdisciplinary conference featuring speakers from Aberdeen and from the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, and Cambridge in the UK, and Brown, Maynooth and Toronto in the US.

May 2015: ‘Reviving the Dead: Classical Imitation in Renaissance Literature’: a two-day interdisciplinary symposium, with contributions from several Aberdeen scholars and visiting speakers Philip Hardie (Cambridge), Lynn Enterline (Vanderbilt, US), Stephen Hinds (Washington, US), Andrew Laird (Warwick), Emma Buckley and Simon Kay (both St. Andrews). A selection of the papers has been edited by Syrithe Pugh and has been published by Manchester University Press under the title Conversations: Classical and Renaissance Intertextuality.

Ongoing events and links to live streaming will be hosted here:


Wednesday 4 May 2022: 12-2pm, Lower Ground Seminar Room, Sir Duncan Rice Library

Deep Wheel Aberdonia is an event celebrating writing from and about Scottish islands. We take our title from Harry Josephine Giles’s recently published verse novel Deep Wheel Orcadia, in which Orkney and its language are taken on a strange science-fiction journey, carving out a radical new space for Scottish writing.

Harry Josephine Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney, now living in Leith. She has lived on four islands, each larger than the last. She has a MA in Theatre Directing from East 15 Acting School and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Stirling. Harry Josephine’s work generally happens in the crunchy places where performance and politics get muddled up.

As a poet, Harry Josephine has toured globally, given feature sets at venues from the Bowery Poetry Club to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, performed at festivals from the New Zealand Writers Festival to Montreal’s Metropolis Bleu, and won multiple slams including the BBC Scotland Slam 2009. Their poetry collections — Tonguit (Freight Books 2015) and The Games (Out-Spoken Press 2018) — were shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award (twice), the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year. Their verse novel Deep Wheel Orcadia appeared from Picador in October 2021. 

The event will be chaired by Centre co-director Professor David Wheatley and will feature two other readers, both PhD students at the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture. Writer Ian Grosz will share work coming out of a recent residency on the Isle of Lewis, and Orcadian poet Ingrid Leonard will read from her recently-published pamphlet Rammo in Stenness (Abersee Press).

The Grierson Centre was delighted to welcome Jana Prikryl for a live reading and discussion on 19th May, introduced by Professor David Wheatley and chaired by PhD student and poet Ingrid Leonard at the School of LLMVC.

Jana Prikryl is the author of two collections of poetry, The After Party (2016) and No Matter (2019). She was born in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, and now lives in New York where she is the executive editor of the New York Review of Books. She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The reading and discussion was live streamed and can be viewed here.

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