National Poet for Scotland
The position of Scots Makar – the National Poet for Scotland – was created in February 2004 by the Scottish Executive. ‘Makar’ is the Scots word for the author of a literary work, and particularly for a poet or bard.The appointment of Liz Lochhead was announced by Alex Salmond on 19 January 2011. The tenure of the post was specified as five years and the role is to advance the role of poetry in the lives of the people of Scotland, from all ages and walks of life. The post of National Poet is now supported by Creative Scotland. The post is administratively based at the Scottish Poetry Library.
As the National Poet of Scotland nears the end of her third year in the role, there is no sign of interest in her, the position of the Makar or of poetry flagging. Requests and invites arrive every day inquiring whether the Makar would care to lend her name to a good cause, read at a literary festival, or sit on a committee dealing with some aspect of writing, language or education.
The Makar also sets aside time to help, where she can, charities who have contacted her. In addition to being the patron of Includem, who work with society’s most troubled and vulnerable young people, Liz was one of the judges for the Epilepsy Scotland Media awards. She helped the Royal National Institute for the Blind celebrate Book Week Scotland by visiting the RNIB’s transcription centre in Patrick, where she saw her poems turned into Braile.
Of course, the core business of the Makar is writing poetry, and she has, despite a crammed workload, found time to pen lines, from a contribution to Carol Ann Duffy’s anthology Jubilee Linesto a tribute to her friend Michael Marra, who passed away last year. For a full list of the Makar’s activities since she accepted the post in 2011 can be found on the Scottish Poetry Library’s website here.
More details on Scottish Poetry Library’s website