Scottish writer Kenneth White will deliver a lecture and a reading of his own poetry at this weekend’s May Festival.
His visit to the University will also mark the publication of his three new books, which are published by the University’s Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies (RIISS), and edited by Professor Cairns Craig.
Poet, essayist, travel writer, radical theorist, intellectual historian and literary critic, Kenneth White has been, since the publication of his early work in both English and French in the 1960s, one of the outstanding figures of modern European literature, having been awarded the Grand Prix du Rayonnement Français by the Académie française in 1985.
He is also one of the few to have made literature into an active force in the political world, through the activities of the International Institute of Geopoetics which he founded in Paris in 1989.
Later this year, the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen (RIISS) will commence publication of White’s Collected Works, a major project that will be co-ordinated by its Director, Professor Cairns Craig. In preparation for that publication, which will begin with an English version of White’s early novel Les limbes incandescents (1975), a book that has only ever appeared in French, the Research Institute is publishing three new books by White: a collection of essays on cultural politics, Ideas of Order at Cape Wrath; a new collection of poetry, Latitudes & Longitudes; and a ‘way-book’, The Winds of Vancouver’, which charts White’s travels in British Columbia and Alaska.
Professor Craig said: “These three new books show that, in his seventies, Kenneth White is still travelling into new territories – socio-cultural, historical and geopoetic. And he is still as determined as ever to discover those moments when mind and world open to each other in the revelation of a new harmony.
“Few modern Scottish writers have had such a global perspective or such a significant influence across Europe as White, and we felt it was important that the whole body of his work should be made available in English, since so much of it has only ever appeared in French. By making all of his works available it will be possible for the first time for anglophone readers to gauge the real scale of his achievement’.
Kenneth White will lecture at the May Festival on the King’s College campus on Friday, May 10 at 4pm, and will give a reading of his poetry on Saturday, May 11 at 1.30. Copies of Ideas of Order at Cape Wrath and Latitudes and Longitudes will be available for purchase. The Winds of Vancouver will be launched on June 22 in Vancouver at an international Irish-Scottish conference, ‘On the Edge’, co-sponsored by RIISS.