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The Scots Makar

Poet and playwright Liz Lochhead was announced as Scotland's new Makar in January 2011. She will hold the appointment as Makar or National Poet for 5 years. Liz Lochhead replaces Edwin Morgan who sadly passed away in August 2010.

The responsibilities of the National Poet are:

  • In the course of their tenure to produce a poem or poems commenting on significant national events
  • To read his/her poems publicly and to be free to comment publicly on poetry, the arts and any and all related matters in Scotland and internationally
  • To give public lectures/readings through Literary Festivals/organisations in Scotland
  • To encourage the reading and writing of poetry, particularly by young people.

Literature Working Group

The final report of the Literature Working Group was published on 12 February 2010. The group was tasked with recommending a new approach to support for literature in Scotland, focusing particularly on writers and publishers. The group was asked to examine the provision both financial and non-financial for all areas of literature: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, journalism, children's books, and any other forms of writing that are published in book or journal/magazine form, whether in English, Scots or Gaelic (there may be some exceptions to this, among them oral literature); to address the needs of publishers and literary magazines; and of festivals, libraries, and all bodies working to promote literature.

The Literature Working Group was led by Rosemary Goring, and included Hugh Andrew, Valentina Bold, Matthew Fitt, Rody Gorman, Jen Hadfield, Allan Massie, Andrew Nicoll, Don Paterson and Timothy Wright.

The Scottish Government response to the report was published in February 2011. This tasked Creative Scotland with the lead role in implementing the recommendations which will boost the literature and publishing sectors in Scotland. These actions include:

  • Establishing a National Book week, the first to be held on Monday November 26 until Sunday December 2, 2012
  • Building the existing provisions of bursaries for writers through the Creative Futures programme
  • Working with the Scottish Book Trust and Learning Teaching Scotland actively to promote Scottish Literature across Scotland’s schools