Shetland Arts have announced the appointment of former Head of Glasgow Libraries and founder and director of Aye Write! Karen Cunningham, as the new curator of Wordplay, Shetland Arts Festival of Words and Ideas.

Karen has a long standing enthusiasm and interest for Shetland, and has described the role as ‘a dream opportunity’.

In addition to her former role as Head of Libraries and Cultural Venues with Glasgow Life, Karen has extensive experience working with festivals and cultural events. She is a former judge for the Orange Prize for Fiction, founded Aye Write! (and Wee Write!), Glasgow’s Book Festival in 2004, and has since gone on to work as Director of the Festival of Architecture 2016.

As well as exploring literary themes, she has deep connections with politics and journalism, a thread which she hopes to bring into her work with Wordplay this year. She is a founding director of Future News, an international consortium for the education and training of aspiring young journalists, and has recently been commissioned Newsquest Scotland (Herald & Times Group) to develop a Future NEWS Scotland programme for Year of Young People 2018.

The appointment comes as after a period of consultation with audiences and stakeholders regarding the future of literature in Shetland, which identified a desire for more events with high profile writers, amongst other things.

Graeme Howell, General Manager of Shetland Arts said ‘We’re delighted to welcome Karen to the Shetland Arts family. Her enthusiasm, experience and connections make her the ideal candidate to develop Wordplay in new and exciting directions, and we’re very much looking forward to working with her.’

Wordplay takes place between 2-5 November 2017. Full programme information will be available at nearer the time.

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