Jackie Kay appointed Scotland's Makar

Jackie Kay appointed Scotland's Makar

Manchester-based Scottish poet Jackie Kay, who was given first publication by Bloodaxe, was appointed as Scotland’s Makar (Poet Laureate) in March 2016.  She took over from Liz Lochhead, and will be Makar for a period of five years.

Jackie Kay was given first publication by Bloodaxe Books, who published her debut collection The Adoption Papers in 1991.  As this is a set text on many courses, this remains in print as a stand-alone edition.

In 2007 Bloodaxe published Darling: New & Selected Poems.  This includes most of the poems from Jackie Kay’s four previous books of poetry from Bloodaxe, The Adoption Papers (1991), Other Lovers (1993), Off Colour (1998) and Life Mask (2005).  Darling also includes a small selection of Jackie Kay’s poetry for children.  Jackie Kay then moved to Picador, who published her memoir Red Dust Road in 2010 followed by her next poetry collection Fiere in 2011.

Jackie Kay will serve for two years alongside another poet given first publication by Bloodaxe: Simon Armitage was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in May 2019.


Jackie Kay is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and co-edited the anthologies Out of Bounds: British Black & Asian Poets (Bloodaxe Books / Newcastle University, 2012) with James Procter and Gemma Robinson, and The Mighty Stream: Poems in celebration of Martin Luther King (Bloodaxe Books / Newcastle University, 2017) with Carolyn Forché.


The Observer ran a profile of Jackie Kay on 20 March 2016.  This feature included the whole of Jackie Kay's touching poem about her ageing parents, 'George Square', orginally from Life Mask and now included in her Bloodaxe retrospective Darling: New & Selected Poems.

Desert Island Discs, 23 October 2016

Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar, was Kirsty Young’s guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 23 October 2016.  Her Bloodaxe debut The Adoption Papers was discussed early on in the interview.

Click here to listen to the programme.


Woman's Hour Takeover Week, Wednesday 15 June 2016

Jackie was guest editor of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour on Wednesday 15 June 2016, part of 'takeover week'.  She invited fellow poet Imtiaz Dharker onto the programme to talk about writing poems to commission.

Click here to listen the the whole programme.

Click here to listen to Imtiaz Dharker reading her poem 'Beware the Books' on Woman's Hour (NB strong language warning)


Essential Classics, BBC Radio 3, 28 March to 1 April 2016

Jackie Kay was Sarah Walker's guest on BBC Radio 3's Essential Classics from 28 March to 1 April 2016. Click here to download the podcast

[14 May 2019]

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