Makar’s new work to be performed at Holyrood’s 20th Anniversary


Scots Makar, Jackie Kay will write and perform a specially-commissioned new piece of poetry before Her Majesty The Queen and MSPs to mark 20 years of the Scottish Parliament.

THE LONG VIEW explores how the Parliament has changed, and changed Scotland, over the past 20 years and celebrates some of those who were born on 1 July 1999, the same day the Parliament received its powers.

Many of those born that day will be present in the Chamber when the Makar performs her work, which she will perform along with celebrated jazz musician Suzanne Bonnar; BSL performer Moira Anne McAuslan; and Scottish Youth Theatre performer Lewis McCaskill performing in Gaelic.

Scots Makar, Jackie Kay commented:

“At a time of political change.  it is lovely to have something to celebrate.  I think we can all be justly proud of our Parliament’s journey and just how much it has involved and engaged the people.  I wanted to try and capture that journey and to celebrate the young in particular.”

In advance of the 29 June performance, Jackie Kay has revealed the opening stanza from THE LONG VIEW:-


When you were born, my daughter, my son

The half-moon grinned and the sun shone


You came after a long song of a labour

Of years and years - and then some!


It was July when you at last appeared, hanselled 

With the mace from her Majesty – Ma’am, Good Day -


bright eyed, flushed, newest day!

And the crags at your tiny feet, and Arthur’s seat.


When you were born, bairn,

Red Arrows flew over your city


And everyone you met, Pet,

Wanted to join you on your journey -


Between the lochs and the ferns

Between the braes and the bens


Between the crofts and the bothies

Between the Rowans and the pines.


Between the high rise and the tenements

And the Wimpey houses in the big cities


Between the north and the south, the east and the west,

And the land and the seas…


The highly-acclaimed poet, who is renowned for the warmth, generosity and humour of her performances, will be one of highlights at Saturday’s event at the Scottish Parliament.  Full programme details will be unveiled later this week. 

The day’s overall events will include:

* Her Majesty The Queen addressing MSPs in the Chamber and poetry from Scots Makar.

* A fun packed afternoon for all the family.  With a programme that has something for everyone, the gardens and doors of the Parliament will be open to all to explore, observe and participate in a full programme of events including Music and Dance, Science and Nature, Art activities for Kids and much more.  

Background on Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is the third poet to become Makar since the post was established in 2004, succeeding Liz Lochhead and her mentor Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s first Makar.

The writer won the Guardian fiction prize in 1998 for her first novel, Trumpet, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006.  Her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and named Scottish First Book of the Year.  She is currently the chancellor of Salford University.

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