We were so impressed with the impact of our inaugural SPL Poetry Ambassadors initiative that we have decided to make it a mainstay of the work that we do in reaching out to poets and audiences nationwide, including speakers and writers of Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
This year, Sheena Blackhall will be commissioning work in Scots, and will be our guest editor for selecting Scots language poems for inclusion in this year’s Best Scottish Poems anthology. Likewise, Martin MacIntyre will select Scottish Gaelic writers and poems. Martin Malone, based in Caithness, and Tom Murray, based in Dumfriesshire, will also help the SPL to extend our reach beyond the urban centres of the Central Belt.
The ambassadors will also participate in the selection of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Poetry in Scotland’ award, which was presented to the publisher and poet Joy Hendry in 2020.
Our ambassadors’ initial engagement will be to each commission five new poems themed to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott. Once we have received these 20 works, hopefully before the end of July, they will be presented on our website and through the SPL’s social media platforms.
Hugh McMillan, an ambassador in 2020, will be selecting the English language poems for inclusion in our Best Scottish Poems anthology for 2021, which will be published on our website next year.