Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay

Part of our Literature guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet Jackie Kay. Photograph by John Parker Lee.

Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay, online, 28 May 2020, free entry - Find Out More

This new online show mixing poetry, music and chat, headed by the Scots Makar Jackie Kay, is running for 16 weeks, keeping us entertained well into August. Produced by National Theatre of Scotland in association with HOME Manchester, Edinburgh International Book Festival and The School of Arts and Media University of Salford, each episode sees Jackie invite along (virtually, of course) another guest “makar”, or maker, to chat about their work and influences, and read from both old and new poems. Spoiler alert: the pandemic and the resulting lockdown feature fairly heavily in the new work being shared probably for the first time.

A wee bit of company from our living rooms to your living rooms… an old-fashioned, rich but heady mix of poetry and music – Jackie Kay

The music element, meanwhile, comes courtesy one of three resident singers – and sometimes the guest poet, as in the case of multi-award-winning Don Paterson in the second week, who came armed with guitar (and pet dog). Katherine Philpott was the second week’s singer; week one kicked off proceedings on 14 May with Peggy Hughes (Programme Director for Writers’ Centre Norwich, and, previously, of Literary Dundee, the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh International Book Festival) asking Jackie questions, and songs from Suzanne Bonnar. Episode three on Thursday 28th welcomes singer Claire Brown while the “makar” is Gerda Stevenson, award-winning Scottish actress, director and writer.

The Scots Makar is the position of national laureate established in 2004 by the Scottish Parliament; the equivalent of the English Poet Laureate, but maybe with fewer sacks of sherry. Jackie Kay was announced as the third holder of the post in 2016, following in the footsteps of Liz Lochhead and Edwin Morgan, to whom she refers often to help contextualise her own position. The idea, says Jackie, is to: “Provide a wee bit of company from our living rooms to your living rooms… an old-fashioned, rich but heady mix of poetry and music.” Makar To Makar livestreams via YouTube every Thursday at 7pm, finishing just before 8pm so you still clap, with the video kept online for posterity in case you miss it on the actual night.



Makar to Makar with Jackie Kay, online

28 May 2020 7:00 pm
Free entry

Dates and Times

  • 28 May 2020 7:00 pm
  • 4 June 2020 7:00 pm
  • 11 June 2020 7:00 pm
  • 18 June 2020 7:00 pm
  • 25 June 2020 7:00 pm
  • 2 July 2020 7:00 pm
  • 9 July 2020 7:00 pm
  • 16 July 2020 7:00 pm
  • 23 July 2020 7:00 pm
  • 30 July 2020 7:00 pm
  • 6 August 2020 7:00 pm
  • 13 August 2020 7:00 pm
  • 20 August 2020 7:00 pm
  • Always double check dates and times with the venue before making a special visit