Ron Butlin

  • A Recipe for Whisky

    A Recipe for Whisky

  • Histories of Desir

    Histories of Desir

Ron Butlin was appointed Makar in May 2008, taking over the post from Valerie Gillies. As well as poetry, Ron is an award-winning novelist, librettist and short story writer. A colourful and varied career – from footman to barnacle-scraper and art model – has given Ron a wry take on life, most evident recently in his collection The Magicians of Edinburgh published by Polygon.

Imagine my surprise when, one cold winter’s morning in 2008 I was phoned up out of the blue and asked if I would accept the post of Edinburgh Makar (Poet Laureate). Would I!! I was gobsmacked – and delighted! A real honour. The work is varied – everything from giving the occasional speech at public events, writing occasional poems, attending receptions, giving talks and readings everywhere from St Giles’ Cathedral to the House of Lords. I’ve been imprisoned outside the Scottish Parliament and been auctioned for charity (incredibly, I went for bids in excess of £500 – twice!). Unlike Andrew Motion I feel Laureateship is A Good Thing. Whether the commissioned poem is about The Gathering of the Clans or the opening of a poetry garden, I try to re-interpret the subject and make it my own. Then, as best I can, I write from the heart.

– Ron Butlin