15 March 2016 –14 March 2021
|Preceded by||Liz Lochhead|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen Jamie|
Jacqueline Margaret Kay
9 November 1961
|Alma mater||University of Stirling|
|Occupation||Professor of creative writing at Newcastle University; |
|Known for||Poet and novelist|
Jacqueline Margaret Kay,(born 9 November 1961), is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, known for her works Other Lovers (1993), Trumpet (1998) and Red Dust Road (2011). Kay has won a number of awards, including the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998 and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award in 2011.
From 2016 to 2021 Kay was the Makar, the poet laureate of Scotland.She was appointed as chancellor of the University of Salford in 2015.
Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1961, to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple, Helen and John Kay, and grew up in Bishopbriggs, a suburb of Glasgow.They adopted Jackie in 1961, having already adopted her brother, Maxwell, about two years earlier. Jackie and Maxwell also have siblings who were brought up by their biological parents.
Her adoptive father worked for the Communist Party full-time and stood for Member of Parliament,and her adoptive mother was the Scottish secretary of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. As a child Kay suffered racism from children and teachers at school. John Kay died in 2019 at the age of 94.
As a teenager she worked as a cleaner, working for David Cornwell—who wrote under the pen-name John le Carré—for four months. She recommended cleaning work to aspiring writers, saying: "It’s great ... You’re listening to everything. You can be a spy, but nobody thinks you're taking anything in." Cornwell and Kay met again in 2019; he remembered her, and had been following her.
In August 2007, Kay was the subject of the fourth episode of the BBC Radio 4 series The House I Grew Up In , in which she talked about her childhood.
Initially harbouring ambitions to be an actor, she decided to concentrate on writing after Alasdair Gray, a Scottish artist and writer, read her poetry and told her that writing was what she should be doing.She studied English at the University of Stirling and her first book of poetry, the partially autobiographical The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award in 1992. It is a multiply voiced collection of poetry that deals with identity, race, nationality, gender, and sexuality from the perspectives of three women: an adopted biracial child, her adoptive mother, and her biological mother. Her other awards include the 1994 Somerset Maugham Award for Other Lovers, and the Guardian Fiction Prize for Trumpet, inspired by the life of American jazz musician Billy Tipton, born Dorothy Tipton, who lived as a man for the last fifty years of his life.
In 1997, Kay published a biography of blues singer Bessie Smith; it was reissued in 2021.An abridged version read by the author featured as BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in the last week of February 2021.
Kay writes extensively for stage (in 1988 her play Twice Over was the first by a Black writer to be produced by Gay Sweatshop Theatre Group),screen and for children. Her drama The Lamplighter is an exploration of the Atlantic slave trade. It was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in March 2007, produced by Pam Fraser Solomon, during a season marking the bicentenary of the Slave Trade Act 1807, and was published in printed form as a poem in 2008.
In 2010 Kay published Red Dust Road, an account of her search for her biological parents, who had met each other when her father was a student at Aberdeen University and her mother was a nurse. The book was adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and premiered in August 2019 at the Edinburgh International Festival in a production by National Theatre of Scotland and HOME, at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.
She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University,and Cultural Fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University. Kay lives in Manchester. She took part in the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six Books , her piece being based on the book of Esther from the King James Bible. In October 2014, it was announced that she had been appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Salford, and that she would be the university's "Writer in Residence" from 1 January 2015.
In March 2016, Kay was announced as the next Scots Makar (national poet of Scotland), succeeding Liz Lochhead, whose tenure ended in January 2016.
She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2006 Birthday Honours for services to literature, and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours, again for services to literature.Kay was on the list of the BBC's 100 Women announced on 23 November 2020.
Kay is a lesbian.In her twenties she gave birth to a son, Matthew (whose father is the writer Fred D'Aguiar), and later she had a 15-year relationship with poet Carol Ann Duffy. During this relationship, Duffy gave birth to a daughter, Ella, whose biological father is fellow poet Peter Benson.
|Jackie Kay, vimeo format|
Some other poetry used in GCSE Edexcel Syllabus
Dame Carol Ann Duffy is a British poet and playwright. She is a professor of contemporary poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Poet Laureate in May 2009, resigning in 2019. She is the first woman, the first Scottish-born poet and the first known LGBT poet to hold the position.
Helen Dunmore FRSL was a British poet, novelist, and short story and children's writer.
A makar is a term from Scottish literature for a poet or bard, often thought of as a royal court poet.
Liz Lochhead HonFRSE is a Scottish poet, playwright, translator and broadcaster. Between 2011 and 2016 she was the Makar, or National Poet of Scotland, and served as Poet Laureate for Glasgow between 2005 and 2011.
Caitríona O'Reilly is an Irish poet and critic.
Kathleen Jamie FRSL is a Scottish poet and essayist. In 2021 she became Scotland's fourth Makar.
Imtiaz Dharker is a British poet, artist and video film maker. She has won the Queen's Gold Medal for her English poetry and was appointed Chancellor of Newcastle University from January 2020. In 2019, she was considered for the position of Poet Laureate following the tenure of Carol Ann Duffy, but withdrew herself from contention in order, as she stated, to maintain focus on her writing."I had to weigh the privacy I need to write poems against the demands of a public role. The poems won," said Dharker. For many Dharker is seen as one of Britain's most inspirational contemporary poets. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2011. In the same year, she received the Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. In 2016 she received an Honorary Doctorate from SOAS University of London.
Stewart Conn is a Scottish poet and playwright, born in Hillhead, Glasgow. His father was a minister at Kelvinside Church but the family moved to Kilmarnock, Ayrshire in 1941 when he was five. During the 1960s and 1970s, he worked for the BBC at their offices off Queen Margaret Drive and moved to Edinburgh in 1977, where until 1992 he was based as BBC Scotland's head of radio drama. He was Edinburgh’s first makar or poet laureate in 2002-05.
John Agard FRSL is an Afro-Guyanese playwright, poet and children's writer, now living in Britain. In 2012, he was selected for the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Julia Copus FRSL is a British poet, biographer and children's writer.
Tishani Doshi is an Indian poet, journalist and dancer based in Chennai. In 2006 she won the Forward Prize for her debut poetry book Countries of the Body. Her poetry book A God at the Door has been shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Forward Prize under best poetry collection category.
Fiona Ruth Sampson, is a British poet and writer. She is published in thirty-seven languages and has received a number of national and international awards for her writing.
Bernardine Anne Mobolaji Evaristo,, is a British author and academic. Her eighth book, the novel, Girl, Woman, Other, won the Booker Prize in 2019, making her the first black woman and the first black British person to win it. In 2020 she won the British Book Awards: Fiction Book of the Year and Author of the Year, as well as the Indie Book Award for Fiction as well as many other awards. The novel was one of Barack Obama's 19 Favourite Books of 2019 and Roxane Gay's Favourite Book of 2019. In June 2020 she became the first woman of colour and the first black British writer to get to number 1 in the UK paperback fiction charts, where she held the top spot for five weeks. There are over 50 foreign language translations of Evaristo's books ongoing. Evaristo's writing also includes short fiction, drama, poetry, essays, literary criticism, and projects for stage and radio. Two of her books, The Emperor's Babe (2001) and Hello Mum (2010), have been adapted into BBC Radio 4 dramas. Her ninth book, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up is published by Penguin UK October 2021 and Grove Atlantic USA (2022).
Kate Clanchy, MBE is a Scottish poet, freelance writer and teacher.
John Glenday grew up in Monifieth.
Neil Astley, Hon. FRSL is an English publisher, editor and writer. He is best known as the founder of the poetry publishing house Bloodaxe Books.
Sasha Dugdale FRSL is a British poet, playwright and translator. She has written five poetry collections and is a translator of Russian literature.
Ailbhe Darcy is an Irish poet and Wales Book of the Year award laureate.
Mary Jean Chan is a Hong Kong Chinese poet, lecturer, editor and critic. Her first poetry collection, Flèche, won the 2019 Costa Book Award in the Poetry category. She was also a 2019 recipient of an Eric Gregory Award for a collection by poets under the age of 30. Chan is a Ledbury Poetry Critic and was guest co-editor of The Poetry Review for Spring 2020.
Darling: New & Selected Poems is a poetry book by Jackie Kay. It was first published by Bloodaxe Books on 27 October 2007. Gap Year, Keeping Orchids, Lucozade, My Grandmother's Houses, Old Tongue, and Whilst Leila Sleeps are all National 5 Scottish texts.
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