Brian Johnstone is a poet, performer and literary events organiser. Born in Edinburgh in 1950, he has lived in the Fife countryside since 1972. Since returning to writing in the late 1980s, he has published three full collections, Dry Stone Work (Arc, 2014), The Book of Belongings (Arc, 2009) and The Lizard Silence (Scottish Cultural Press, 1996) as well as two UK pamphlet collections, Homing (Lobby Press, 2004) and Robinson: A Journey (Akros, 2000) , and has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary journals and other publications.
His work has been published throughout Scotland, as well as in the UK, Europe and North America and has been translated into more than a dozen different languages and published in the respective countries. In 2009 Terra Incognita, a small collection of his poems in Italian translation, was published by L’Officina (Vincenza). He 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.
In 1998 Brian 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 2001-2010, as Festival Consultant from 2010-2013 and is now Hon. President. He was a founder of Edinburgh’s Shore Poets in 1991, ran Cave Readings for the Pittenweem Arts Festival throughout the 1990s and has organized readings for Visual Arts Scotland, Words Out! festival, Perth, Leith Festival and An Tuireann Arts Centre, Skye. He has been an events chair for the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Wigtown Book Festival for whom he also judged their annual poetry competition in 2011. In 2014 he served on the poetry panel for the Scottish Book Trust's New Writers' Awards.