Outlander conference among latest events called off

Major events across Scotland have fallen victim to safety measures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of Glasgow has cancelled two international conferences it was organising and holding – the Outlander Conference Glasgow 2020 and the Edwin Morgan 100 Conference.

Diana Gabaldon, author of the books on which the hit TV series Outlander is based, was due to give a keynote speech at the four-day event in June.

Meanwhile, the Edwin Morgan 100 would have brought together academics, writers, and publishers to the poet’s home city for two days next month.

A statement from the university said: “Both events were due to take place at the University of Glasgow – the Edwin Morgan 100 Conference on April 27-28 2020 and the Outlander Conference Glasgow was scheduled for June 2-6 2020.

“The organisers of both conferences hope to work to reschedule their events at a later, yet to be decided, date.

“The decision to postpone the conferences follows increased concerns about the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.”

It added: “It was felt this was the best way to proceed for everyone due to take part in both conferences which would have had delegates from around the world travelling to Glasgow.

“We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold these events at the moment and know this disappointment will also be shared by those hoping to attend.

“But we feel it’s the right decision based on the information we have today relating to the global outbreak.”

Further updates will be shared by the university online for the Outlander Conference and via delegates’ registration emails for the Edwin Morgan 100.

Elsewhere, a media call for the Edinburgh International Festival has been cancelled with the event’s launch also postponed.

Organisers are still hopeful of “planning to deliver a festival this August” but have also temporarily updated its refund policy.

Francesca Hegyi, festival executive director, said: “In the light of the rapidly changing coronavirus situation, we will postpone the launch of the 2020 programme including the planned media briefing tomorrow and the digital launch of the Edinburgh International Festival programme on Wednesday.

“It is important to emphasise that we are still planning to deliver a festival this August but we think it best to wait a number of weeks before launching our programme.”

She added: “We are working as quickly as we can to provide certainty to everyone.

“Our focus remains on presenting the festival and getting artists back on our stages and audiences back into concert halls and theatres as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Please bear with us whilst we navigate staging this international festival at a particularly unusual time.”

The 2020 Edinburgh Marathon has been postponed until September 5/6 after discussions with the city council and East Lothian Council.

Neil Kilgour, festival race director said: “We are grateful that an alternative date has been secured for the event and we want to thank those who have been part of making this happen.

“We know how important the event is for our affiliate charities and those who have been committed to training through the winter months to put themselves on the start line.”

He added: “The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is a beacon of positivity, at a time when it is needed most.

“It gives people the opportunity to focus on what comes beyond the concerns and uncertainty of the coming weeks, to know that it will pass and that they still have the opportunity to achieve something truly great.

“2020 does not need to be defined by the virus, it can remain defined by our participants as a year of personal triumph.”

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