To celebrate her final year as Scotland’s Makar, poet Kathleen Jamie will embark on a national tour of Scotland’s libraries; from the Highlands and Islands to the Borders.
The Makar is the national poet laureate of the country and is currently Kathleen Jamie, who was appointed in August 2021. Kathleen made a call out to public libraries across Scotland to submit proposals for hosting an activity with Kathleen and a local writer.
The Makar’s Tour starts on National Poetry Day (October 5) and first stop will be Bettyhill Library in Sutherland. The event starts at 7.30pm and will also feature support from Mandy Haggith of Achmelvich.
The event is free to the public. Seats can be reserved by email at Bettyhill.Library@highlandlifehighland.com, or phone 01641 521 754.
Kathleen will be visiting public libraries in Dunblane in November and Fort William in December. A further call out to public libraries for the second phase of the library tour in 2024 will be made later this year.
Kathleen Jamie has always been a passionate supporter of public libraries, saying: “Every community has a library, or ought to. They’re the sustainable centres of community action and communication, as well as houses of mind-expanding literature and knowledge. As National Poet, there seemed no better way of getting out around the country than to visit local libraries and bring people together in shared interest and curiosity.
“Each event will be what each library wants to happen. The libraries know their own communities best, so I will be responding to their ideas of what an exciting event would look like.”
“The role of the Makar is to keep poets and poetry at the heart of public life. It’s easy to think of poetry as being in some way ‘private’ – and it can be – but it also has huge public impact. In my time as Makar, only two years, I have written public poems for the State Opening of Parliament, for the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, on the death of Queen Elizabeth – large public events in Scotland. We have created public, collective poems on the state of nature, and in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
She says that libraries were asked if they would like a visit, and Bettyhill was one of those which said “yes please”. They described themselves as a “wee, wee place”, but the best things are found in small packages, adds Kathleen. “I like the idea of celebrating National Poetry Day with the good people of Bettyhill.”