Meet the Makar
Edinburgh’s Makar is Christine De Luca. Makar is an old Scots word that stresses the role of the poet or author as a skilled and versatile worker in the craft of writing. We have many such folk living in Scotland, and to celebrate the importance of writers in our lives, Edinburgh has adopted its own version of the Poet Laureate: the Edinburgh Makar.
The fact that UNESCO recognised Edinburgh as its first City of Literature was an amazing achievement. This was brought about by a creative working together of several cultural bodies that could quite easily have seen themselves as rivals. And the fact that the city council decided to appoint a Makar and has continued to support this role, working with these other bodies, is an indicator of the value it places on poetry in the life of the city.
Christine De Luca
The Edinburgh Makar is an honorary role, created by the City of Edinburgh Council in support of the UNESCO City of Literature designation, and every three years an Edinburgh poet is appointed Edinburgh Makar. They are tasked with various civic duties and they work as an Ambassador for the written and spoken word in our City of Literature. The best Edinburgh-based person for the job is selected at a meeting of the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish PEN, The Saltire Society, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council.
Since the title was formed in 2002, Ron Butlin, Valerie Gillies and Stuart Conn have held the post. Christine De Luca’s appointment as Edinburgh Makar will run from 2014 to 2017.
Makars’ Court at The Writers’ Museum celebrates the lives and works of Scottish writers. Each of the writers is commemorated by a quotation inscribed in stone and set in the paving leading from the Mound and the Lawnmarket to the door of The Writers’ Museum.