Brian Johnstone was born in Edinburgh in 1950, and has lived in the Fife countryside since 1972. Since returning to writing in the late 1980s, he has published three full collections, and two pamphlet collections, and has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary journals and other publications. His work has been published in Europe and North America as well as the UK, and has been translated into more than a dozen different languages.
In 1998 Johnstone was a founder of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival which takes place in St Andrews each March. He served as Festival Director of StAnza from 2001 to 2010, as Festival Consultant from 2010 to 2013 and is now an Honorary President. He was a founder of Edinburgh’s Shore Poets in 1991, and has organised readings for several arts festivals, as well as being an events chair for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Wigtown Book Festival.
Johnstone is a frequent collaborator with visual artists, and is the poet member of Trio Verso, a collaboration with saxophonist Richard Ingham and bassist Louise Major, dedicated to presenting live poetry and improvised jazz-inflected soundscapes. His work has been arranged by composers Rebecca Rowe, for vocal ensemble Capella Nova, and Richard Ingham for 20 piece jazz orchestra.
Brian Johnstone has published seven poetry collections, and his memoir, Double Exposure, was published in 2017.