Andy Willoughby (UK)

Photo: private collection

Andy Willoughby is a poet, dramatist, publisher and producer from the North East of England. He has a long history of collaborating with writers and musicians from Finland and Estonia since the early 2000s. He was Tartu UNESCO City Of Literature writer in residence in 2019 and had work commissioned by Turku City of Culture in 2011. As a Co-Director he was able to invite Tartu poetry legend Jaan Malin to the T Junction International Poetry Festival in Middlesbrough. His works include Tough (Smokestack Books), Sampo: Heading Further North with Bob Beagrie (Red Squirrel Press – also published in Finnish and Estonian) and his latest book was Between Stations (Smokestack Books) which has been translated into Estonian and Finnish by Kersti Unt and Kalle Niinikangas and will be launched by Enostone Press at Prima Vista. His work is featured in many anthologies including The Land of Three Rivers: The Poetry of North East England (Bloodaxe Books ), From the Ancestors: Poems and Prayers for Future Generations (Trancemission Press) and Summer Anywhere (Dreich Press).

When asked what his impossible dream was, Andy replied: “My Impossible Dream is that the connection to nature we felt during the Covid Pandemic is not completely lost. Like many others, my wife Rebecca and I felt a great healing presence during lockdown from the nature all around us. It was amplified in the great silence with nature returning so quickly to thrive as society suddenly stopped polluting everything, we saw deer in the local parks, otters in the local ponds and heard the birds thriving all around us, most people yearned to connect and it was clear to see if we as humans just stop, look and listen we realise we are not alone and separate but part of this great spirit of being, we need it much more than it needs us. There is no true happiness possible in living while ignoring its magic. When Ron Whitehead asked me for a poem for his From the Ancestors anthology I was drawn to write about this feeling in our Durham locality and realised its universality. My impossible dream is we remember the power of the days the earth stood still, the great silence, work to heal the harm we have done as humans to nature remembering how we are in turn nurtured and healed by it.”

Friday, May 12th 15.00; meeting place by the fountain Kissing Students at the Town Hall Square

Saturday, May 13th 18.00 at the Tartu Literary House Culture Club Salong