Praise from Sturgeon as 'inspirational' Jackie Kay's five-year tenure as Scotland's makar ends

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Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has praised the "outstanding contribution" of makar Jackie Kay, as her term of office as Scotland's national poet comes to an end.

Scotland's third makar – who succeeded Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead – described her time in the role as an "incredible journey". She held the title for the past five years.

Jackie Kay said: "It has been an extraordinary journey these last five years and I've gained so much in terms of peoples' love and interest in poetry. I've found out so many things about my country. I wanted to take poetry to unexpected places and I feel that I have achieved that. Up until the lockdown I was on and off boats, on and off trains, in and out of cars and buses, travelling north, south, east and west, going to all sorts of different places I hadn't been to before.

She added: "It's been a glorious, joyous, interesting ride to have been to every major city and to have been to so much of the Highlands and Islands, rural parts of Scotland. It gave me a real sense of the country and its changing attitudes to politics, to race to diversity and to poetry."

Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter: "Thank you @JackieKayPoet for being such an outstanding and inspirational makar. You have taken the beauty of poetry to every corner of Scotland, and graced so many of our nation’s key moments with your words. You will be the hardest of acts to follow.”

In reply Jackie Kay tweeted: “It’s been an honour - enlivening to be makar in a country that takes poetry seriously and allows its national poet to address parliament.”

She also posted pictures of her late mother and father and said: “Term’s up!  When I became makar, my dear dad, who was 91 at the time said - how long is your term in office? 5 years Dad, I said. Well your mother and I will just need to see oot your term in office, he said. And they very nearly did. Here’s to them and to all of you. Thank you!”

Her replacement is set to be announced in the coming months.

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