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Jackie Kay

Kirsty Young interviews Jackie Kay, writer and Scotland's Makar, the Scottish poet laureate.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the poet and writer Jackie Kay. Born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple, Helen and John Kay, and grew up in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. Her father worked for the Communist Party and her mother was the Scottish secretary for CND. She began to write seriously at the age of 17 when recovering from a moped accident, and while reading English at the University of Stirling she became a feminist and politically active in the arena of gay and lesbian rights and racial equality.

Her first book of poetry, the partly autobiographical The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and won the Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award. She won the 1994 Somerset Maugham Award for Other Lovers, the Guardian Fiction Prize for Trumpet and in 2010 published Red Dust Road, an account of her search for her biological parents. She is now Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and Chancellor of Salford University and was appointed Makar - Scotland's Poet Laureate - in March 2016.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 28 Oct 2016 09:00

Music Played

  • Bessie Smith

    Kitchen Man

    • The Complete Recordings: Volume 4.
    • Columbia.
  • Lee Wilkof and Michael Mulheren

    Brush Up Your Shakespeare

    • Kiss Me, Kate (New Broadway Cast Recording).
    • DRG.
  • Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie

    Honeysuckle Rose

    • A Perfect Match.
    • Pablo Today.
  • Nina Simone

    Mississippi Goddam

    • Gold.
    • Universal.
  • Ali Farka Touré


    • The River.
    • World Circuit.

    • Frédéric Chopin

      Sonata for Piano and Cello in G minor op. 65

      Performer: Martha Argerich. Performer: Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich.
      • Chopin: Cello Sonata.
      • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Ray Charles

    Hit the Road Jack

    • Ray Charles Collection.
    • Arcade.
  • Robert Burns

    Green Grow the Rashes, O

    Performer: Jean Redpath.
    • The Songs of Robert Burns, Vol 3 & 4.
    • Greentrax.

    The Complete Works of Robert Burns


    Self-filling hipflask of Islay malt whisky


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Jackie Kay
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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