Reading Scotland: Jen Hadfield, Landscape and Light

Poet Jen Hadfield sometimes writes outside near her home on Shetland, taking a notebook with her and disappearing into the landscape, returning when she gets cold and hungry. The islands – situated between Scotland and Norway – have provided fertile inspiration for Hadfield, allowing her to collapse the divisions between the land, sea and creatures (human and other) that make the archipelago home. Hadfield does this with such deftness that there is a delicate ambiguity of who is talking: are these the words of the poet, or are one of the many Geos spotted around Shetland speaking back to us? Her latest book of poetry is The Stone Age, a glorious collection of dialogue between a writer and the world. Joining from Shetland, Hadfield has worked with Glasgow filmmaker Alison Piper to create a new short film based on the collection, which premiered at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival as part of our Reading Scotland series, chaired by Scottish singer and songwriter Karine Polwart.

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