‘Captivating’ poet Jackie Kay takes to Braemar’s Burns Night stage

Jackie Kay will talk to broadcaster Fiona Kennedy about her life and works.

Mark Davey
Sunday 09 January 2022 23:08
Scotland’s Makar, the national poet, Jackie Kay (Denise Else)
Scotland’s Makar, the national poet, Jackie Kay (Denise Else)

Scotland’s former Makar, the national poet, Jackie Kay will take to the stage of St Margaret’s Braemar on January 23.

A spokesperson for St Margaret’s Braemar said: “The ‘in conversation’ event, chaired by renowned singer and broadcaster Fiona Kennedy, will delve into the fascinating life and work of the captivating Scottish poet, playwright and novelist whose works have featured in over thirty literary collections.”

The event takes place two nights before Burns Night on January 25.

Ms Kay has recently concluded her five-year term, from 2016 to 2021, as Makar (the Scottish equivalent of Poet Laureate) and is professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Jackie Kay is one of the most enthralling writers we have in Scotland right now

Broadcaster Fiona Kennedy

Ms Kennedy said: “Jackie Kay is one of the most enthralling writers we have in Scotland right now and it will be an absolute delight to hear her talk about her life and listen to some of her work.

“She has such warmth, humour, an infectious smile and the ability to draw in an entire audience who will no doubt hang on her every word.

Singer, songwriter and broadcaster Fiona Kennedy (Photo Jane Barlow/PA)

“And what a back catalogue we can hope to delve into — over 30 years of published work and Jackie’s sharp, imaginative and witty observations on life and love in poetry, plays and prose. ”

Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father and adopted at birth.

She was brought up in Glasgow studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Stirling University – where she read English.

The experience of being adopted and growing up within a white family of communist activists inspired her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers.

More recently, her book Red Dust Road won Scottish Book of the Year in 2010, while poetry collection Fiere was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and Saltire Society Book of the Year.

Ms Kennedy added: “On the eve of Burns Night in Braemar — a village steeped in connections from Robert Louis Stevenson to Nan Shepherd — where better to hear from one of Scotland’s living literary greats.”

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