Ryan has a poem as part of the WW100 Project

March 2, 2018

I was commissioned to write “The Watcher“, a poem in commemoration of the sinking of the Tuscania, by the Islay Book Festival. Huge thanks to the festival team for inviting me to Islay, and you can read the poem here.

Ryan facilitates a Poetry Translation Workshop in Riga

December 12, 2017

In October this year I facilitated a poetry translation workshop in Riga, Latvia, between four UK-based and four Latvian poets: Llyr Gwyn Lewis, Katherine Sowerby, William Letford, McGillivray, Inga Pizan-Dilba, Aivars Eipurs, Henriks Ellias Zegners, and Katrina Rudzite. You can see the results in this video, made by filmmaker Toms Harjo.

Ryan reads at Hear Hare Here #5

November 12, 2017

I’ll be reading this Thursday 16 November, 6.30pm at Golden Hare Books‘ poetry series Hear Hare Here, alongside Jonathan Bay and Rachel Rankin, hosted by Golden Hare’s own poet and bookseller Alice Tarbuck. Tickets are £5, hope to see you there.

Ryan Van Winkle is a poet, editor and live artist living in Edinburgh. His second collection, The Good Dark, won the Saltire Society’s 2015 Poetry Book of the Year award. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner and The American Poetry Review. As a member of Highlight Arts he has organised festivals and translation workshops in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and a residency at The Studios of Key West in 2016.

Jonathan Bay, a Creative Writing PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. He has been published in The Inkwell, Hearts and Minds, Gutter and most recently won the Jupiter Artland Inspired to Write competition. He enjoys travelling.

Rachel Rankin is a poet from Coatbridge who currently lives in Edinburgh, where she is a student on the MSc Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. She has had both poetry and book reviews published in a variety of journals , including Gutter, Antiphon, The Riveter and on the Scottish Review of Books’ website following her participation in their inaugural Emerging Critics Mentoring Programme. Rachel was shortlisted for the annual Jane Martin Poetry Prize organised by Girton College at the University of Cambridge in 2017 and is a recipient of a Dewar Arts Award, which is being used to fund her postgraduate studies. As well as this, Rachel has performed her work and competed in competitions both nationally and internationally. You can find her on Twitter at @rakelrank.

Ryan hosts Five Simmer: A Night of Poetry and Flavour

November 11, 2017

This Friday 17 Novemeber, Claire Askew, Jo Clifford, Christine De Luca and Harry Giles will give readings matched with four dishes in collaboration with Edinburgh Food Studio, for the newest installment of the Simmer reading and dining series.

The dinner costs £45 per person, with an optional drinks pairing of £35 with drinks chosen to match the menu, and, of course, the poems. Dinner is served at 8pm and guests are welcomed to join us from 7:30pm onwards. You can book your tickets here.


This unique collaboration series between food & poetry will use flavour, scent, and colour in response to some of Scotland’s most distinct voices. A delicious evening which will touch all of your senses.

Hosted by Salitre award winning poet  Ryan Van Winkle, ‘Simmer’ pairs four poets with dishes carefully selected & prepared to illuminate and echo their work. Readings will be from Claire Askew, Christine DeLuca, Jo Clifford, and Harry Giles.

Photo by  Sally Jubb Photography

Photo by  Sally Jubb Photography

Claire Askew’s debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and was shortlisted for an Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, the 2016 Saltire First Book Award, the 2017 Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize, and the 2017 Michael Murphy Memorial Award.  Claire is also a novelist, and her debut novel — winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize — is forthcoming from Hodder & Stoughton in August 2018.  Claire is the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh.


Edinburgh-based Christine De Luca writes in English and Shetlandic, her mother tongue.  She was Edinburgh’s Makar for 2014-2017.  Besides children’s stories and a novel, she has had seven poetry collections and four bi-lingual volumes published (French, Italian, Icelandic and Norwegian) and participated in festivals e.g. in Canada, India, France, Norway and Iceland.  

JoClifford_HH250216_004_2 (1).jpg

Jo Clifford is a playwright, poet, performer and teacher who is also a proud father and grandmother. She is the author of about 90 plays, many of which have been performed all over the world. 

Work this year includes “The House of Bernarda Alba” (Graeae and Royal Exchange, Manchester), “War in America” (Attic Collective). She has also been performing her “Gospel According to Jesus Queen Of Heaven” and the play continues to tour Brazil in a Portuguese translation. She has just returned from Uruguay and Argentina where the play is touring in Spanish. In the summer she performed “EVE”, which she co-wrote with Chris Goode, during the Edinburgh Fringe at the Traverse Theatre and the at the Citizens in Glasgow in a National Theatre of Scotland production. She is currently writing a new play for Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Photo by Rich DysonPhoto by Rich Dyson

Harry Giles is from Orkney and lives in Edinburgh. Their latest publication is the collection Tonguit from Freight Books, shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. They were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion, co-direct the live art platform ANATOMY, and have toured participatory theatre across Europe and Leith.


If the previous iteration of Simmer is anything to go by, it will be a surefire success, and a joy for all. The dinner costs £45 per person, with an optional drinks pairing of £35 with drinks chosen to match the menu, and of course, the poems. Dinner is served at 8pm and guests are welcomed to join us from 7:30 onwards.

Ryan on Latvian TV

September 15, 2017

Sometimes one finds a version of oneself on Latvian National Television discussing poetry workshops in Riga with a new name and a surprisingly rich Latvian voice.

With Latvia’s International Writers and Translators House & Literature Across Frontiers we’ll be reading the results of our workshops at The Nice Place TELPA on Saturday 16 September at 18.00.



Ryan reads at Poetic Fall in Druskininkai, Lithuania

September 10, 2017

From Wednesday 4 – Monday 9 October, I’ll be in Druskininkai, Lithuania, for the Poetic Fall festival. I’ll be reading and some poems will be translated and published for an anthology commemorating the 2017 festival.

Ryan judges the Wigtown Poetry Competition

September 9, 2017

On Saturday 30 September I’ll be in Wigtown for two events around the Wigtown Poetry Competition 2017. At 1.30pm I’ll be in The Print Room for a reading and conversation with Matthew Fitt and Myles Campbell, the judges of the Scots Language and Scottish Gaelic categories respectively. And at 6pm we’ll be back in The Print Room to announce the winners. Hope to see you there.

Ryan hosts a schools workshop and poetry jukebox on Jura

September 7, 2017

On Thursday 28 September I’ll be running two events on Jura, as part of the Islay Book Festival. The first is a workshops for schoolkids at Small Isles Primary School in Craighouse, from 2.15-3.15pm, followed by Poets Aloud at Jura Care Centre, in which I take requests for poems from the audience, from 3.30-4.30pm.

Ryan in Riga for Translation Workshops

September 5, 2017

From Monday 11 to Sunday 17 September I’ll be in Riga, facilitating a poetry translation workshop with four UK poets and four Latvian poets.

I’ll also be doing a writing workshop in a local high-school, sharing workshop skills with a Latvian counterpart.

We’ll be performing at the NicePlace on 16 September at 18:00 as part of Riga’s Poetry Days Festival.



British participants are:

Latvian participants are:

The workshop is organized & supported by Latvia’s International Writers and Translators House, the Latvia Publishers Associatio, the Latvian Literature platform and is a part of the Literary Europe Live project.

Ryan at Station Literature 22 in Poland

September 4, 2017

This Saturday 9 September I’ll be in a panel discussion representing Highlight Arts at the Station Literature 22 festival in Stronie Śląskie and Sienna, Poland.

We’ll be discussing, among other things, ways to engage audiences with poetry & literature through music, one-to-one performances, and the special relationships fostered though Highlight Arts’ translation workshops in places like Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.