Our Mission Statement
The Wee Gaitherin
The Wee Gaitherin SCIO (having first staged its festival in Stonehaven over two days, summer 2021) strives to be the most democratic poetry festival in Scotland, offering a platform for poets – from the unknown to the acclaimed – to showcase their work on an equal footing.
Our motto of ‘Turn up, tune in, take part’ reflects the inclusive ethos of the festival, which encourages participation from all marginalised and traditionally under-represented sections of society, including younger and working-class poets in particular who may struggle to gain exposure for their work. In a radical departure from the norm - in a spirit of good will any poet, with a desire to share their work, can contact us with a request to perform and we will endeavour to offer an opportunity to take part.
The Wee Gaitherin will also act as a focal-point for the diversity of talent from the Scottish regions – not least in the Scots, Doric and Gaelic languages, as well as for independent poetry publishers and event organisers. Being the first of its kind in the area, the festival is dedicated to highlighting the vitality of Scottish and international poetry to new and receptive audiences across North East Scotland and beyond. To that end, it is free at admission to all-comers. As well as indoor and outdoor readings, the festival also acts as a forum for discussion, debate, workshops, and an exchange of ideas on the role of poetry in society, and its intrinsic value to the greater good of society.
Who we are
The Wee Gaitherin Trustees
Hugh McMillan is a poet from Penpont in South West Scotland. His work has been published widely in Scotland and beyond, and he has won various prizes, most recently the Callum MacDonald Memorial Award in 2017 for Sheep Penned, published by Roncadora; he won the same award in 2009 for Postcards from the Hedge...
Cáit O’Neill McCullagh
An archaeologist, curator, educator and essayist, Cáit started writing poetry in December 2020. Since then, she’s had numerous poems published in journals, anthologies and exhibitions, including: Northwords Now, Poetry Scotland, Ink Sweat & Tears, Howl: New Irish Writing, New Writing Scotland, The Storms, The...
Neil Young hails from west Belfast (1964 batch) and now lives in north-east Scotland. He worked as a labourer, kitchen-porter, stage-hand, barman and studied drama before becoming a journalist. Neil’s publications include Lagan Voices (Scryfa, 2011), The Parting Glass – 14 Sonnets (Tapsalteerie, 2016), Jimmy Cagney’s...
Lesley Benzie is Aberdonian but calls Glasgow home. She writes in Scots Doric and English. She has 2 poetry collections her first, Sewn Up and more recently, Graham Fulton, says of her collection, Fessen/Reared (Seahorse 2020) that it is ‘Lyrical, incisive, true…Gently brilliant’. She has also been published in numerous...