Jackie Kay named National Poet for Scotland

15 March 2016

Picador author Jackie Kay has been named the new Makar, National Poet for Scotland. 

The final selection was made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and former first ministers Alex Salmond, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Henry McLeish.


© Photos courtesy of the Scottish Government

Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 and grew up in Glasgow. She has written all her life. Several of her adult poetry collections have won or been shortlisted for awards across the board. She is currently chancellor of Salford University and lives in Manchester with her son. 

On receiving the honour Jackie said, 

'I'm absolutely delighted and honoured to have been chosen as Scotland's new makar and to follow in the footsteps of such really inspiring and wonderful poets as Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead.

I hope that I can do my country proud and do them proud. It's a really wonderful day for me, my family and everyone that loves me. It feels a little like a fairytale for me.

I was born in Edinburgh, adopted, and my mum said to me the other day 'who would have thought that that wee baby they brought home in a basket would end up being the makar'.

Poetry has an extraordinary role to make a difference in the world. In these times we live in, in troubled times, poetry can lend a hand and be a player and I look forward to looking at all the different ways we can use poetry to develop Scotland's conversation, not just with itself but with the rest of the world. It seems to me to also be a very, very exciting time to be in Scotland at the moment.'

The role will see Kay create new work and promote poetry throughout the country and encourage young people to engage with the art form.

Read Jackie's poem Fiere now

Discover some of our other favourite modern poets from North of the border here

 

Life lacking in poetry? Join our Picador Friday poem email and we'll send you a hand-picked poem each week.

 

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