Cultural Engagement


Cultural Fellow Jackie Kay named Scots makar


Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Cultural Fellow and Honorary Graduate Jackie Kay is Scotland’s new makar.

The poet and novelist takes over from fellow GCU Cultural Fellow Liz Lochhead, whose tenure as national poet ended in January.

Ms Kay was made an MBE in 2006 and received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from GCU in 2010.

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

“Poetry has an extraordinary role to make a difference in the world. 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 be a very exciting time to be in Scotland.”

University Secretary and Vice Principal Jan Hulme said: “GCU offers warmest congratulations to our Honorary Graduate and Cultural Fellow Jackie Kay who has been appointed Scotland’s national poet. Our Cultural Fellows engage with our students, staff and the University’s wider community to share their creativity with us and to help develop and shape ours. In her talk at GCU on Love, Life and Identity, Jackie explored the inspiration behind her award-winning work.”

The role of makar was established in 2004 by the Scottish Parliament. Ms Kay will create new work, promote poetry throughout Scotland and encourage young people to engage with the art form.

Announcing Ms Kay’s appointment, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Jackie Kay's poems sometimes deal with challenging subjects, taken from her own life experiences, and she has a particular Scottish brand of gallus humour. She is hugely respected, is known for her poignant and honest words, and is a role model for many. I am delighted to name her as the national poet for Scotland.”