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Jackie Kay has been officially appointed as the third Scots Makar, Scotland’s national poet.

The poet and author follows previous incumbents Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead.

The role will see Ms Kay, who is chancellor of Salford University, create new work and promote poetry throughout the country and encourage young people to engage with the art form.

The new Makar, who pledged to address issues of national identity in the role, said she already spent “at least half” of her time in Scotland and said she felt living over the border would give her an advantage in the role.

She said she hoped to write a poem for the re-opening of the Scottish Parliament later this year, and perhaps use her role to draw attention to the plight of refugees.

Kay has always explored themes of identity and belonging through her writing. Trumpet tells the story of a jazz musician who, after his death, is revealed to have been a woman.

In her best-selling memoir, Red Dust Road, Kay describes the search for her birth parents – a young nurse from the Highlands and a Nigerian student at Aberdeen University in the early sixties.

Born in Edinburgh in 1961, Kay was adopted and brought up in Glasgow, later discussing the rarity at that time of being a mixed-race child brought up by white parents.

Ms Kay, who was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be chosen as Scotland’s new Makar, following in the footsteps of such wonderful poets as Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead.

“As Robert Burns demonstrated, poetry holds up a unique mirror to a nation’s heart, mind and soul. It is the pure language that tells us who we are.

“I hope to open up the conversations, the blethers, the arguments and celebrations that Scotland has with itself and with the rest of the world, using the voice of poetry in its fine Scottish delivery.”

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