|2 February 2016|

The search is on for Scotland’s next national poet, or Makar, after previous incumbent Liz Lochhead ended her term last week.

During her tenure she has undertaken more than 300 engagements, conducting workshops in schools and prisons as well as representing Scotland in the UK and beyond in venues ranging from as the Scottish Parliament to Westminster Abbey and the Bookworm Festival in China.

She has written poems to order on a number of subjects, including whisky and theatre, the opening of the fourth session of the Scottish Parliament, the 200th anniversary of works by Wordsworth and Coleridge, Commonwealth Day in 2012, and the value of the arts to society.

Last year Ms Lochhead won the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Her replacement is expected to be announced in the Spring.

Thanking Ms Lochhead for her work, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Liz Lochhead has brought poetry to every level of society in Scotland without fear or favour. She has brought vitality, warmth, wit and tremendous talent to the role of Makar.

“In her time as Scotland’s National Poet, Liz has worked astoundingly hard. She has a real conviction that poetry enriches and transforms lives which she bring to everyone she meets.

“Liz’s work over the past five years has made a lasting and positive impact on many people, in particular the young students she has worked with, and she has played an ambassadorial role for Scotland.

“It’s fitting that last year she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, chosen by her fellow poets.

“Work is continuing to find Liz’s replacement. We have much to thank her for.”