PLANS for an Edgar Allan Poe Festival in Irvine are kicking off – with hopes of an international connection in years to come.

North Ayrshire arts company Poetic Justice Productions are planning a two day ‘taster’ event in Irvine next month, to honour the links with the famous poet and author, who spent part of his childhood in the town.

Ravenfest will take place on Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 at the Townhouse and other venues.

The Ayrshire company has now been in contact with the PoeFest International, in Baltimore, who run an annual event celebrating the author next to the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in the city.


Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe.


Poe spent much of his working life in Baltimore and died there in 1849 at the age of just 40. He was found semi conscious and delirious in the street, repeatedly calling out the name ‘Reynolds’ before his mysterious death from unknown causes.

Neil Smith, Poetic Justice Productions director, said: “PoeFest International were delighted we’d got in touch with them about our own event and very keen to share their expertise with us.

“We have already been asked to make a short film detailing Poe’s stay in Irvine, which will also discuss much of the town’s history – as well as other famous writers who lived there in the same era, such as Robert Burns and John Galt.

“We’ve a tight deadline, but we hope to shoot over the next few days in time for the film to be shown on their website during their festival at the start of October.”

He added: “While this year’s event is only a two day taster - due mostly to the pandemic - we are hoping to have a three day festival with new plays, Poe adaptations, some gigs featuring bands who will fit into the Gothic feel of Poe’s work , films, literary talks and perhaps a Day of the Dead walk and a masked ball for 2022.

“We’ve had great support from North Ayrshire Council and fantastic feedback from locals.

“We believe this could become an annual legacy festival for Irvine. Studies have shown that similar events have led to massively increased footfalls for the towns concerned, giving a real boost to the economy – and something for people from all walks of life to enjoy.”