16th February 2004

Scotland appoints its first modern Makar

Edwin Morgan was appointed the first modern Makar, or national poet for Scotland, after being selected by the Scottish Parliament. Candidates for the role are now considered by an expert panel, which makes its recommendation, via the Scottish Government, to the First Minister.

Although the term generally runs for three years, with a £15,000 allowance for the costs involved in writing poems to mark significant events, promoting poetry, and travelling to events, Morgan remained Makar until his death on 19 August 2010, when he was succeeded by Lanarkshire-born Liz Lochhead.

Individual Scottish cities, including Dundee and Edinburgh, have since instituted their own Makars.

Although the modern Makar role was established in 2004, the name ‘makar’ itself is not new, with a history stretching back some 600 years. The term was then more generally used to describe a notable poet.

Edwin Morgan, first modern Makar

Morgan was born in Glasgow in April 1920, was educated at the University of Glasgow – where he later became a lecturer – and died in the city in August 2010. He was a conscientious objector during the Second World War, actively supported LGBT rights after coming out in 1990, and had one of his poems read at the 2004 opening of the Scottish Parliament.

He actively compiled scrapbooks throughout his life. These, along with a more extensive archive of papers from his life, are now cared for by the University of Glasgow.



Other events that occured in February

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