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5 Questions for Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay MBE is a Scottish poet and novelist who has also written extensively for stage and screen. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and last year her memoir Red Dust Road was named Scottish Book of the Year at the Scottish  Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards. Fiere, her latest collection of poetry, was also shortlisted in the Costa Book Awards 2011.

Whats the starting point for your writing?

It always starts with an idea, an idea that already comes in clothes, with a voice and a form.

Where’s your creative place? Either your workspace, or another place that sparks your imagination.

My study at home, but I love making makeshift studies on the road, and staying in cottages in the country and making a writing space from whatever table is available.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I ever received was from the poet Audre Lorde who told me I didn't need to choose between being Scottish or African - I could be both, and it changed my writing and what I felt I could do.

Who is your “one to watch” for the future or someone overlooked from the past that you feel should be better known?

Audre Lorde, I would say from the past alongside her compatriot Grace Paley. And sticking to that side of the Atlantic, Nathan Englander, who is here in Edinburgh for the Book Festival, is someone to watch out for for the future, his stories are astonishingly good.


Why do you (whoever you may be) bother? (Question submitted by Craig Coulthard)

I bother because I'm bothered, because the answer to the question 'am I bovvered?' for me is a definite Yes.

This article was published on 12 Mar 2014