Arts, culture and heritage: Scotland's Makar - national poet for Scotland

Details of the role of the Makar and the 2021 appointment of Kathleen Jamie as Scotland’s fourth Makar.

The First Minister appointed Kathleen Jamie as Scotland’s fourth Makar on 18 August 2021

The role of Scotland’s Makar or National Poet for Scotland, is a is a unique Scottish Government appointment.

It is a significant national role which attracts much interest

The role rewards an accomplished poet who can speak for the nation’s community of poets and to their readers, and who represents the diversity of Scotland. 

They are also asked to undertake a leadership role in promoting poetry and to encourage the reading and writing of poetry in Scotland. This especially includes encouraging young people as well as personally participating in poetry events and writing poems. 

Previous holders of this role include Edwin Morgan (2004-2010), Liz Lochhead (2011-2016) and Jackie Kay (2016-21).

Each incumbent shaped the role to their own interests and talents.

Appointment process 2021

We used a new process to choose the Makar in 2021.

Following Jackie Kay’s departure from the role in March 2021 we convened an expert panel to consider nominations for the next Makar.

They met a number of times to consider potential candidates against the role description.

They compiled a confidential shortlist of potential candidates and agreed upon a recommendation which was put to the First Minister for endorsement. 

She accepted that recommendation.


If you would like to invite the Makar to attend an event or write a poem email:

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