In the four hundred years since Shakespeare's death, the Sonnets have invited imitation, homage, critique, parody and pastiche.

Within the UK-Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016 and global Shakespeare Lives festival the “Sonnet Exchange” project gathered six contemporary UK and Russian poets for a series of events dedicated to translation of contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare sonnets supported by the Scottish Poetry Library and Edwin Morgan Trust.

In September 2016 Scottish poets Stewart Sanderson, Christine De Luca, British poet Jen Hadfield and Russian poets Marina Boroditskaya, Grigory Kruzhkov and Lev Oborin participated in a three day translation workshop in Moscow in Dostoevsky’s Library. Taking Shakespeare's sonnets as a starting point, either thematically or formally, poets came together to work on translations of each other’s work and share ideas on how Shakespeare's poetry can enrich the ways in which poets are writing today. The public readings of the poems, and their translations into both languages, took place in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Six months on, in March 2017, the poets reunited in Scotland to present their final works, along with a trilingual anthology of poems – four from each poet.

Find out more information about the participants


  • The Scottish Poetry Library
  • Edwin Morgan Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. It was set up to administer the generous Award which the poet wished to create from the earnings of a long and distinguished writing career. His practical encouragement of young Scottish poets through this legacy is typically forward-looking. The Trust ensures that talented poets have a focus for extending the scope of their writing through national competition, publication and mentoring.
    The Trust’s main aim is to advance the experience of poetry in Scotland, and to encourage its teaching and practice, through a competitive Award for a published or unpublished collection by a young poet. More generally, it supports the practice of poetry writing and translation through a range of workshop opportunities for young people in different parts of Scotland. It works closely with the Scottish Poetry Library in these activities.
    The main terms of reference for the Trust are the poet’s final wishes. He designated the terms and structure of the Award, and invited four trustees to carry it forward. The trustees also act as his literary and legal executors. They have power to make decisions about the details of the Award, within the spirit of the poet’s original vision.