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Billy Kay is one of the country’s leading advocates of Scots language. Kay’s exploration of the influence of Scots language and the Scottish Diaspora are celebrated in his best-selling books Scots: The Mither Tongue and The Scottish World.
Also well-known as a broadcaster, Kay presented an eight-part series for BBC Scotland entitled A History of Scottish Literature. In the field of creative writing, Billy has published poetry and short stories. His play They Fairly Mak Ye Work was staged at Dundee Rep, and broadcast as Jute on BBC Scotland. His radio play on the Miner’s Strike of 1984-85 Lucky’s Strike was also broadcast on BBC Scotland. In 1999, he made a television series on Scots for Channel 4 Schools called Haud Yer Tongue.
Kay’s awards and recognition include The Sloan Prize for writing in Scots, being an Honorary President of the Scots Language Society, and the Oliver Award (given to the person who has done most to promote Scottish identity and self-confidence).
The lecture is the SPL’s inaugural annual Scots language event supported by the estate of Betty Boyd.