New Delhi: Internationally acclaimed dramatist and poet Liz Lochhead has been confirmed as the new Scots Makar, or national poet. The Scottish bard supersedes Edwin Morgan who died last year, aged 90, who had held the post since it was created by the Scottish Government in 2004.
Lochhead said she was “as delighted as I am surprised by this enormous honour”.
Lochhead, who works as a poet, author, translator, playwright, performer and broadcaster, has written plays including ‘Blood and Ice’, ‘Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off’, ‘Britannia Rules’, ‘Quelques Fleurs’, ‘Perfect Days’ and acclaimed adaptations of Moliere`s Tartuffe and Bram Stoker`s Dracula.
Announcing Lochhead`s appointment at a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, first minister Alex Salmond said she had a natural ability to reach all ages and touch both sexes through her writing besides being a champion of the Scots language.
“In creating the post of national poet, the communities of Scotland demonstrated the importance it places on the many aspects of culture which lie at the heart of our identity. As an author, translator, playwright, stage performer, broadcaster and grande dame of Scottish theatre, Ms Lochhead embodies everything a nation would want from its national poet”, he said.
Lochhead said she accepted the award on behalf of poetry itself – “which is, and always has been, the core of our culture, and in grateful recognition of the truth that poetry – the reading of it, the writing of it, the saying it out loud, the learning of it off by heart – all of this matters deeply to ordinary Scottish people everywhere.”
Lochhead will be paid a £10,000 annual stipend for the job by Scotland`s amalgamated arts funding agency, Creative Scotland.
Lochhead holds honorary doctorates from ten Scottish Universities and is a fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She was writer in residence at Edinburgh University from 1986 to 1987 and held the same post with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988.