Poet Alan Spence has been nominated to become the Scottish Capital’s next poet laureate.
A report to the City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Communities Committee next week (Tuesday 12 September) recommends Spence as the next writer to be inaugurated as the Edinburgh Makar.
If agreed, Spence will take over the honorary role from Christine De Luca later this year at a special reception hosted by the Lord Provost within the City Chambers.
A highly-respected poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer, Alan lives in Edinburgh but was born in Glasgow. His writing spans many genres and themes, often falling somewhere between literature and philosophy with poetry inspired by Zen and meditation. His writing covers many forms including haiku and tanka, often in collaboration with artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder and Alison Watt.
The Edinburgh Makar is a civic post instituted in 2002 by the City of Edinburgh Council. The writer is selected and nominated by representatives of the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish PEN, The Saltire Society, Edinburgh City of Literature Trust, and the Council.
The meaning of the Scots word Makar stresses the role of the poet or author as a skilled and versatile worker in the craft of writing. Edinburgh has always been a literary city, and to celebrate the importance of writers in the Capital the Council continues to show its commitment to the promotion of writers and literary projects, which enhance Edinburgh’s international reputation, including the post of the Edinburgh Makar.
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “Alan Spence is an accomplished and highly-regarded writer whose work often features a hint of Scottish wit and shines with beautiful observations and revelations.
“He is the fifth addition to an illustrious group of writers who have filled this important role in Edinburgh – the original City of Literature. Each writer has enthralled and benefited the city with their talent and Alan is an excellent choice.
“He will fill the shoes of the brilliant Christine De Luca, whose poetry has been prolific over the last three years. It has been an absolute joy to experience her perspective of Edinburgh and its people and I would like to thank her for the energy and insight that she has brought to the role.”
Alan Spence said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be nominated as the fifth Edinburgh Makar, the Poet Laureate for this wonderful city that has been my home for over 40 years.
“I look forward to following in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, Stewart Conn, Valerie Gillies, Ron Butlin and Christine De Luca. I know them all and they’re fine poets who have done a great job. We live in troubled times and poetry has never been so important.”
Christine De Luca said: “I am delighted that Alan Spence is to be our next Makar. Besides being a wonderful writer, he is out-going and generous-hearted. I’m sure he’ll take the role in fascinating new directions.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the Edinburgh Makar and found nothing but support from the Council and its staff and from the other organisations supporting the role. Local poets too have been hugely encouraging and have willingly taken part in a range of projects.”