New Manx Bard Announced for 2019/2020


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Huge congratulations to Zöe Cannell who became the next Manx Bard at Sunday’s event! 

Zöe takes over from Annie Kissack who has held the position for the last year.

The 6th Manx Bard, Zoe Cannell, is absolutely delighted with her appointment for the 2019/2020 year:-

This is a role that I have aspired to ever since I attended its first initiation in 2014 at Jabberwocky in Douglas. It is a real honour to be following in the footsteps of the posthumous Bard, TE Brown, and the previous four local living Bards before me. 

I am full of ideas, which I am already starting to implement. A year is not as long a time period as it sounds and I am certainly not going to waste any of it. I have already penned my first poem – a gift for the Island’s new Deputy High Bailiff who is being invested on Monday.

The hard work starts here. But I also intend to have a lot of fun and fully embrace the whole magical experience.

I am so proud. I haven’t stopped smiling. Thank you very much to all involved for affording me this opportunity.

The Bard is a cultural initiative sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council and endorsed by Culture Vannin and Manxlitfest - the winning poet is selected by a panel of judges based on their poems, performance and bringing innovation to the role. 
Well done, Zöe! 


The Inauguration of the 6th Manx Bard

You Had To Be There

Words by Bridget Carter

Excitement grew as people began to arrive, the sound of bagpipes played throughout by piper, Sharon Christian, for the Inauguration of the 6th Manx Bard.   With their refreshments, consisting of not only tea and coffee but also lots of lovely homemade food, in hand, they headed to comfy chairs and hay stacks where they were soon propelled into the diverse world of performance poetry, together with a wealth of entertainment delivered by some well-known local musicians. 


Meri Wade, one of the younger poets reading at the event last Sunday.

A spectacular turn out with people travelling from all over the Island to find out who the next Manx Bard would be.  The event is hosted each year at Moorehouse Farm, by Paul Costain, in one of Paul’s fabulous Barns in Colby, Paul, a well-known local farmer, with a big personality and an even bigger voice, is the winner of a number of Cleveland medals, and together with family and friends, rallies round, ensuring the barn is as welcoming as it has been in previous years and this one didn’t disappoint. 

The Manx Bard is sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council and supported by Culture Vannin and Shoprite and attracts many new followers by the day.  This year’s occurrence saw a fabulous array of entertainment including songs by Phil Gawne, Greg Joughan, Richard Corlett and Bill Corlett, with an electrifying blend of poetry performed by the Bards, Manx Youth Bard, Holly MacRea, runner up to the Youth Bard, Esther Walters, an incredibly talented and very young, Meri Wade, who read two beautiful poems, one of which was in Manx Gaelic, also very talented, Kinley Clugston and the youngest, at only 7 years old, Finn Franklin. 

The Lieutenant Governor, Sir Richard Gozney, announced, as the audience waited with bated breath, that the 6th Manx Bard was the fabulous Zoe Cannel.  Zoe went on to read a collection of magnificent poetry ending with one that had the audience in stitches of laughter.

Zoe will now follow in the inspirational footsteps of T. E. Brown, named posthumously as the 1st Manx Bard in 2014, Stacey Astill, the 2nd and first living Manx Bard, John “Dog” Callister the 3rd Manx Bard, Sara Goodwins, the 4th Manx Bard and our most recent 5th Manx Bard, Annie Kissack.

Zoe has some hard acts to follow but we are both, excited and confident that she will shine very bright in her role of current Manx Bard.

The event concluded with everyone singing the traditional Ellan Vannin, a truly captivating and thrilling afternoon all round.


More about the Manx Bard Initiative


A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government
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