Red Dust Road

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Live Events, United Kingdom on 2019-08-06 20:50Z by Steven

Red Dust Road

National Theatre of Scotland
2019-08-10 through 2019-09-21


Elaine C. Smith and Sasha Frost

Based on the soul-searching memoir by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, adapted by Tanika Gupta, and directed by Dawn Walton.

“You are made up from a mixture of myth and gene. You are part fable, part porridge

Growing up in 70s’ Scotland as the adopted mixed raced child of a Communist couple, young Jackie blossomed into an outspoken, talented poet. Then she decided to find her birth parents…

From Nairn to Lagos, Red Dust Road takes you on a journey full of heart, humour and deep emotions. Discover how we are shaped by the folk songs we hear as much as by the cells in our bodies.

Opening at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2019, and at HOME, Manchester in September 2019

Touring to Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling and Eden Court Theatre, Inverness in autumn 2019.

For more information, click here.

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Margo Jefferson with Jackie Kay

Posted in Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2017-08-05 21:29Z by Steven

Margo Jefferson with Jackie Kay

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Studio Theatre
13-29 Nicolson St
Edinburgh EH8 9FT, United Kingdom
Sunday, 2017-08-20, 20:45-21:45 BST (Local Time)


Feminism and Civil Rights

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson is the author of a bold, defiant and astonishingly accomplished memoir, Negroland. Powerfully demonstrating that a ‘post-racial’ America is far from being a reality, Jefferson explores the challenge of reconciling feminism (often regarded as a white woman’s terrain) with black power (sometimes seen as a black male issue). Jefferson discusses her compelling life story with Scotland’s Makar, the poet and novelist Jackie Kay.

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Jackie Kay announces makar’s tour of all the Scottish islands

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-07 20:21Z by Steven

Jackie Kay announces makar’s tour of all the Scottish islands

The Guardian
2016-10-07

Libby Brooks, Scotland Correspondent

The poet has revealed plans for ‘an odyssey’ that will take in overlooked parts of Scotland and form the basis of a long poem about the country

As the UK lurches towards xenophobia, it is a writer’s responsibility to “tell the time”, says Scotland’s national poet Jackie Kay.

Kay, whose complex relationship with her Scottish identity provides inspiration for much of her work, warned that poets should not shy away from addressing current and acute political divisions…

Read the entire article here.

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Scotland’s national poet writes for those who’ve been asked ‘where are you from?’

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2016-09-10 21:46Z by Steven

Scotland’s national poet writes for those who’ve been asked ‘where are you from?’

PBS NewsHour
2016-09-08

Jackie Kay is Scotland’s first black national poet. Adopted as a child, much of her poetry and prose speaks to her own experience of not feeling entirely welcome in her own country. “I wrote the poems that I wanted to read and I wrote about the experiences that I wanted to find,” she says. Jeffrey Brown reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now a Scottish literary talent whose work on identity and belonging, among other themes, has helped propel her to a unique role and a popular writer there.

Jeffrey Brown has our profile.

JACKIE KAY, Scottish Poet & Novelist: “And this is my country, says the fisherwoman from Jura. Mine, too, says the child from Canna and Iona. Mine, too, says the Brain family. And mine, says the man from the Polish deli.”

JEFFREY BROWN: Jackie Kay wrote her poem “Threshold” for the Scottish Parliament and a special guest, Queen Elizabeth.

JACKIE KAY: Let’s blether some more about doors, revolving doors and sliding doors.

JEFFREY BROWN: In the wake to of the recent Brexit vote to leave the European Union, it was a plea to keep doors and the country open to the outside world. As Scotland’s new national poet, Kay made it personal.

JACKIE KAY: Scotland’s changing faces — look at me!

I like the idea of trying to change the face of Scotland. But, traditionally, when somebody thinks of somebody Scottish, they see a white man with red hair in a kilt and a — and they don’t see me.

JEFFREY BROWN: Jackie is the adopted daughter of John and Helen Kay. Her birth mother Scottish. Her father was then a Nigerian student studying in Scotland.

JACKIE KAY: I was an illegitimate child. And being picked to be a national poet is probably a pretty legitimate thing.

(LAUGHTER)

JEFFREY BROWN: I will say…

Watch the interview here.

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Poet Jackie Kay recites her first commission as Scots Makar at Opening Ceremony

Posted in Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2016-07-02 18:08Z by Steven

Poet Jackie Kay recites her first commission as Scots Makar at Opening Ceremony

The Scottish Parliament
2016-07-02

The poet, Jackie Kay has recited her first commission as Scots Makar, “Threshold”, at today’s Opening Ceremony of the Scottish Parliament.

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The SRB Interview: Jackie Kay

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-04-11 01:33Z by Steven

The SRB Interview: Jackie Kay

Scottish Review of Books
Volume 11, Issue 3 (2016)

Opening one of Jackie Kay’s books is like walking into a busy metropolitan bar that has accommodated within its walls the deep past, character and charm of a country pub. You know you will encounter stories comic and sad, that you will never leave thirsty, and that the mind will feel renewed with the spirit, musicality and colour of life. Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. She was adopted at birth by Helen and John Kay, who lived, and still live, in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. Helen was a primary school teacher who was also secretary of the Scottish peace movement and John worked full time for The Communist Party. When Kay was pregnant with her son Matthew she started a search for her birth parents, and this long experience, along with her Scottish upbringing, is recounted in her memoir Red Dust Road (2010). Kay’s writing style is as varied and vivid as her life, and her ability to inhabit voices and capture them on the page was demonstrated in her first poetry collection, The Adoption Papers (1991). It incorporated themes still prevalent in her work today: ‘what is identity? Is identity a shifting, fluid thing? How much are we made up by genes, and how much by stories? How much is it possible to escape the constraints of our own DNA and invent ourselves? How much does love define us, and make things possible? Does being loved change the shape of your face, or change the look in your eyes, or change your voice, or your body?’

Kay’s output is too prolific to give but a précis. Her second poetry book, Other Lovers (1993), explored the impact of colonialism and slavery on black culture, and it was a topic she returned to in her play The Lamplighter (2008). She has a written a sequence of poems about Bessie Smith, and she also wrote a biographical portrait of the great blues singer, which was published in 1997. Jazz and blues have been a lifelong love, and her novel Trumpet (1998), republished this year as a Picador classic, is about a jazz musician called Joss Moody. Upon his death, the trumpet player is found to have been a woman, and the novel refracts Moody’s life through the lens of those who knew him and the media eye. Kay’s short story collections include Why Don’t You Stop Talking (2002) and Reality, Reality (2012). Her most recent poetry collections are Fiere (2011) and the pamphlet The Empathetic Store, published in 2015 by Mariscat Press. In progress is a new novel, Bystander.

Kay has lived in Manchester for the last twenty years, although she has said ‘in my mind I also live in Scotland’, and frequently is at home in Glasgow seeing her parents. Nick Major met Kay in HOME, a new arts centre and theatre space near Manchester’s old industrial centre. They sat in the upstairs restaurant beside tall glass windows that afforded a view of the sun. The room was baked in a heat that defied the cold winter’s day outside. They had a long afternoon lunch, punctuated with coffee to keep the mind fresh. The clatter of other lives, other lunches, was all around them. Small in stature, large in mind, she was wearing a red jumper that matched the city’s prevailing colour, and two silver discs hung from her ears, shimmering in the light. Kay is a fast talker, and often spoke in long looping sentences that circled every subject, always prodding and poking at it in a search for a newer, clearer understanding. As this edition of the Scottish Review of Books went to press she was appointed our new Makar.

The Scottish Review of Books: You’ve lived in Manchester for many years now, but do you still think of Glasgow as home?

Jackie Kay: I think of Glasgow as my home in the many ways that a person can think of a home. My parents live in exactly the same house I grew up in. Nobody’s been in that house except our family. It’s a Lawrence house. But Glasgow as a city is a spiritual home, and I love the robust energy of the place and all the contradictions. It’s a city of doubles and amazing contrasts. It often gets less attention because Edinburgh is like a beautiful twin sister, but Glasgow is beautiful in its own different way. It is a city that can still surprise you; you can keep getting to know it because it keeps on changing…

Read the entire interview here.

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Jackie Kay the new Scots Makar, Shaping the Body

Posted in Arts, Audio, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-03-26 23:17Z by Steven

Jackie Kay the new Scots Makar, Shaping the Body

Woman’s Hour
BBC Radio 4
2016-03-25

The acclaimed writer Jackie Kay has just been announced as the next Scots MakarScotland’s national poet. She tells Jenni about the plans she has for her new role.

Today a new exhibition examining how food, fashion and lifestyle have shaped women’s bodies and lives opens at York Castle Museum. The curator Ali Bodley and fashion historian Lucy Adlington join Jenni to talk about 400 years of squeezing and binding. And, how the current vogue for big bottoms and padded underwear echoes the false rumps of the past.

Mary Magdalene – what do we know about the woman who was described as the constant companion of Jesus, who wept at the foot of the Cross, and who gave the first account of the empty tomb? What is it about her story that continues to fascinate and what evidence is there that she was a prostitute or even the wife of Jesus? Michael Haag author of The Quest for Mary Magdalene speaks to Jenni.

Penrose Halson author of “Marriages are Made In Bond Street” traces the history of one of Britain’s most successful marriage bureaux founded by two twenty-four year olds in the Spring of 1939. Penrose eventually became the proprietor and she tells Jenni about the remarkable cross-section of British society in the 1940’s who found partners through this tiny London office.

Listen to the episode here. Download the episode here.

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Jackie Kay unveiled as the new National Poet, or Makar, of Scotland

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-03-20 16:33Z by Steven

Jackie Kay unveiled as the new National Poet, or Makar, of Scotland

The Herald
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
2016-03-15

Phil Miller


Poet and author Jackie Kay

The acclaimed writer Jackie Kay is the new National Poet for Scotland.

Ms Kay, who lives in Manchester, who was awarded an MBE for her services to literature in 2006, will succeed Liz Lochhead as the National Poet.

Ms Kay said she spend around half her time in Glasgow, the city where her parents live.

The final selection of Ms Kay was made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and former first ministers Alex Salmond, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Henry McLeish.

The First Minister made the announcement at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh where Ms Kay read one of her own poems, ‘Between the Dee and the Don’.

Ms Kay was born in Edinburgh and raised in Glasgow.

She said she would like to write a poem for the re-opening of the Scottish Parliament later this year, after the Holyrood elections, as well as highlight the plight of refugees.

The announcement was made by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, who said: “Poetry is part of Scotland’s culture and history, it celebrates our language and can evoke strong emotions and memories in all of us…

Read the entire article here.

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Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots – Theresa Muñoz

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, United Kingdom on 2016-03-20 16:05Z by Steven

Jackie Kay’s Quest For Her Roots – Theresa Muñoz

Scottish Review of Books
Volume 6, Issue 3 (2010-08-12)

Theresa Muñoz

Adopted at birth, Jackie Kay discovered neither of her birth parents were who she’d thought they’d be, her new memoir recalls.

“If you have skin my colour” writes Jackie Kay in her memoir Red Dust Road, “you must be a foreigner.” All of her life, people have asked her where she is from. Glasgow, she’d tell them. Then people would inquire, but where are her parents from? Her parents are from Glasgow and Fife, she’d say. But she would also add that she’s adopted and her birth father is Nigerian. “They’d nod,” Kay says, “with a kind of ‘That explains it’ look”.

Since I moved to Scotland, people have asked me where I’m from. “Vancouver, British Columbia,” I reply. Most leave it at that because they have relatives or friends in Canada and would rather discuss them. But others persist: “Where are you really from?” Once, an older gentleman in the library in Dumfries asked if I was from the Far East. “Yes, I live in Edinburgh,” I replied. He left me alone after that.

It’s not that people shouldn’t ask. I’m happy to tell others that both my parents were born in the Philippines and immigrated to Canada, individually, in the Seventies. (They later met in what used to be Simpson’s department store in Toronto.) But the nature of these questions can make you feel like an outsider. As Kay says, “I felt it was being pointed out to me, in a more sophisticated manner, that I didn’t belong in Scotland”.

Other comments are just plain ignorant. Walking down West Princes Street in Glasgow, I passed a man who muttered something about a tan. “Nice tan,” I think he said to me. Kay has also been asked about her tan. In Wigtown a woman asked her and her mother, “Is that lady your daughter? Oh? Your daughter is awful tanned. Is she that colour every day?”

Once or twice things have turned ugly. A fight broke out in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane, when a drunken man asked my Scottish boyfriend where he “bought me”. Kay’s experiences have been much more humiliating. In 1980, during the rise of the British Movement, posters were put up around Stirling University that asked: “Would you be seen with that Irish-Catholic wog called Jackie Kay?” Kay locked herself into her student apartment and was offered police protection.

Racism happens without warning. You never know how to react. Dignity? Fury?…

Read the entire review here.

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The Adoption Papers

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United Kingdom on 2015-07-20 00:59Z by Steven

The Adoption Papers

Bloodaxe Books
1991
64 pages
21.6 x 13.9 x 0.5 cm
Paperback ISBN: 978-1852241568

Jackie Kay, Professor of Creative Writing
Newcastle University

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