Situated in the courtyard outside of the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh, Makars’ Court is an evolving national literary monument with the famous words of great Scottish writers inscribed in its flagstones. And today, as the sun filtered in over the buildings in Lady Stair’s Close, the newest addition to the collection of flagstones was unveiled, in memory of Scottish poet George Campbell Hay (1915 – 1984).
Anne Artymiuk, a doctoral student at Scotland’s University of the Highlands and Islands, worked with Gillian Findlay from the Writers’ Museum to fundraise and set up plans for installing for the tribute. In speaking about the process she said:
I am delighted to see the tribute set in stone and am very grateful to everyone for their support
The ceremony saw the unveiling of the brand new flagstone, which was accompanied by an original composition written by Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Liam Patterson, with vocals by Scottish Opera baritone Andy McTaggart, as well as a recording of Alasdair Whyte singing Hay’s Gaelic song, Luinneag.
The tribute to Campbell Hay features a quote in both English and Gaelic:
The hert’s the compass tae the place
That ye wad gae whan land ye lea.
Cha chuir ceann is cridh’ air iomrall thu.
Bi iomlan is bi beò.
William Soutar’s Flagstone
As well as this, the second addition to Makars’ Court is set to be unveiled next week on 28 April, featuring a flagstone commemorating the life and work of poet and diarist William Soutar (1898-1943).
Soutar’s inscription will read:
William Soutar (1898 – 1943)
I thocht the hale o the world was there
Sae sma in a small room
The ceremony will take place at 11.15am in front of the Writers’ Museum, and will include speeches and readings. The commemorative flagstones were created thanks to the work of their sponsors, Anne Artymiuk and the Friends of the William Soutar Society, as well as the Makars’ Court Committee of the Scottish Saltire Society.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:
Makars’ Court is a highlight of the Old Town tourist trail and the addition of these two new inscriptions celebrates these poets’ skills in their craft. Scotland – and not least its City of Literature capital – has produced an extraordinary number of accomplished writers and Makars’ Court is an excellent place to pay tribute to them and celebrate their work.