Len Pennie

Len Pennie - Composed by John C Grant (https://johncgrant.com). Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Len Pennie stands as a prominent Scottish poet, championing both the Scots language and mental health awareness. Her ascent to recognition burgeoned during the tumultuous COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 in Scotland, courtesy of her captivating “Scots word of the day” and poetic videos, shared across social media platforms. As of March 2022, her Twitter and TikTok accounts have collectively amassed an impressive following of over 400,000 individuals from around the globe.

Len Pennie’s poetic journey sprouted during her school years, marked by participation in Robert Burns poetry recital competitions.

Amid the initial COVID-19 lockdown in Scotland, when Len Pennie found herself furloughed from her restaurant job, she seized the opportunity to share daily videos on Twitter, unraveling the pronunciation, meaning, and contextual usage of Scots words. A viral sensation, her poems radiate with creativity, including a particularly resonant piece titled “I’m no havin children.” This composition delves into the nuanced contrast between the English “children” and the Scots “weans.” The attention garnered by her posts was, however, accompanied by the unfortunate presence of online abuse, encompassing misogyny, disparagement of Scots as a language, and even critique from figures such as George Galloway. Critics questioned her authenticity or perceived alignment with Scottish nationalism. Nevertheless, the steadfast support she garnered from notable figures including actor Michael Sheen, comedian and advocate Janey Godley, author Neil Gaiman, and other luminaries, solidified her place as a voice of distinction. The eloquent verses emerging from her lips led Godley to describe her as “Miss Punny Pennie,” embodying a spectacular linguistic prowess.

Len Pennie’s talents have extended to commissioned works, reflecting her prowess as a versatile poet. She contributed to a Lidl Christmas campaign centered around the Daft Days, penning a poem among a cohort of five poets. Her recitation of Robert Burns’ “Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin” echoed through the corridors of the Scottish Poetry Library, and her poetic presence graced virtual stages, captivating audiences of over 1,200 for the University of St Andrews’ online Global Burns Night and the National Trust for Scotland’s grand Big Burns Night in January 2021. A poignant collaboration saw her penning and performing a heartfelt piece for the Witches of Scotland’s film “In Memorial,” dedicated to the memory of those, especially women, persecuted under the Witchcraft Acts. Her expressive journey transcended borders, with a commission from the Saint Andrew’s Society of Los Angeles yielding the evocative “Scots Nothin Tae Dae Wae That.” In March 2021, she achieved the prestigious title of Poet Laureate of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Los Angeles. As a judge for a BBC Radio Scotland young writers competition centered on climate change, she actively influences the literary landscape. Additionally, her advocacy shines in her contribution to TES, underscoring the significance of incorporating Scots into educational curricula.

Len Pennie - Composed by John C Grant (https://johncgrant.com). Traditional composer from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.

A guide track for ‘Len Pennie’ is available below for listening: -

You can download a PDF of the sheet music here - or braille format here.

The track is additionally available within the following collections and sets: -

Associated Collections: -
6/8 Bagpipe Jig The Tarbolton Collection