Liz Lochhead awarded Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry

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Scotland's national poet Liz Lochhead has been named as the winner of this year’s Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. The poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who chaired the medal's judging committee, said: "Liz Lochhead has made a unique contribution to Scottish poetry. Since the early 1970s she has influenced an entire generation of other writers, bringing a new kind of poetry performance to the stage, as well as a different set of rhythms to the page.

"From the start, she spoke in her own feisty, female voice, mixing old Scots with new Scots - as aware of Burns as of Morgan - and she did this with a galvanizing spirit and vitality that helped to change the landscape of British poetry."

At a reading last year Lochhead herself said of her poetry: “I do write quite a lot of 'occasional' poems - often rude-and-rhyming poems, entertainments, out-loud performance pieces, dramatic monologues - and I'm certainly not ashamed of them at all. They are good fun, as well as, sometimes, technically, quite hard work to write."

The poet and playwright – pictured taking part in a heat of the BBC slam at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 - was the unanimous choice of the poetry medal committee on the basis of her body of work. The Queen will present her with the honour next year.

Liz Lochhead was born in Motherwell in 1947, and attended Glasgow School of Art where she wrote her first poems in the library, which was destroyed by fire last year. In 2011 she was named as the second Scots makar - the national poet for Scotland - a post which has a five-year term. The Gold Medal for Poetry is awarded for excellence in poetry for either a body of work or an outstanding poetry collection published during the year of the award.

 

Background: Liz Lochhead warms up for the Fringe in Devizes    

 

PHOTOGRAPH: GREG FREEMAN / WRITE OUT LOUD

 

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