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Day 1 – ‘Masters’ comes to the Hills of Ayrshire

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It’s hard to believe that the Lapraik Speaking Competition is now in its 10th year. To celebrate the Anniversary, the organisers of the Lapraik Festival have invited all previous winners of the World John Lapraik Speaking Competition to return this year to compete for the ‘Lapraik Masters’ trophy and title……….a once in a decade opportunity! The line-up for the competition reads like a ‘who’s who’ of Burns reading talent with Wull Horne, Alister Sim, Jimmy Law, Bobby Jess, Ian Buick, Neil Macgillivray, Graham Wight and Susan Chown all agreeing to compete. A judging panel of Professor Gerry Carruthers, Mrs Karen Kane and Mr Bill Dawson have agreed to take on the challenge of finding a winner among such a talented field and the exuberant Angus Middleton will be MC for the event. RBWFL President Bobby Kane will be there to support the event and present prizes. The competition starts at 2pm on Saturday 3rd June 2017 at Muirkirk Caravan Park… the Hills of Ayrshire!


But that’s not all!………..our Annual John Lapraik World Speaking competition also takes place on the same day and at the same venue…but with a 10 am start. The line-up of competitors has not yet been finalised (at the time of publication) but well-known readers such as Willie Waugh, Hugh McHarg, Willie Dick and local favourite, Eric Dempster have already thrown their hats in the ring. The judging panel for this competition is Jim Thomson, Dr Rhona Brown, Susan Chown and James Waite with Angus Middleton, once again, leading the programme.


The John Lapraik Memorial Reading will be given at Lapraik’s grave in the Muirkirk Parish Kirkyard at 1pm……..during the break between the 2 competitions. The competitions are all-ticket events and tickets, costing £5 for each competition, can be obtained by contacting Festival Co-ordinator, Douglas McKenzie at or via the contact page on this website.


These competitions are part of the Lapraik Poetry Festival which also includes ‘Crambo-jingle and Sang’….an evening of Tradition Music and Poetry. Headlining the event this year is celebrated fiddler Alistair McCulloch. (watch out for news of the rest of the line-up).
Other events include the Young People’s Speaking Competition, which encourages our World Speaking champions of the future.
Another first for this anniversary year is our partnership with the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Rab Wilson, Scriever in Residence at the Museum, will be running Scots Language workshops for Muirkirk Primary School children during the Festival week (. ‘I think my ideas are more barren in English than in Scottish’ Robert Burns to George Thomson, April 1793)………and on Sunday 4th June, at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Rab Wilson joins Professor Alan Riach to discuss (and read from) their new works, set in the context of Robert Burns’ relationship with John Lapraik…………’Brither Bards’!


To quote Rab… ‘In a speerit o comradeship in the Scots Leid, this year the Lapraik Festival is teamin up wi the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum an twae o Scotland’s leadin contemporary poets, Alan Riach an Rab Wilson, wi a ‘partner’ poetry event at the Burns Museum oan Sunday 4th June. The poets wull be readin frae their raicently published new collections……. sae come alang an hear twa o Scotland’s finest poets readin poetry that hus a rael Scots souch tae it an cairries the torch o Burns an MacDiarmid intil the 21st Century – an ayont!

For more information please use the contact details above……..and the RBBM website
In the next couple of days we will publish more details of the ‘Brither Bards’ event.