Jackie Kay

Connections and Reconnections

Thursday 27th August

12 noon

In her final year as Makar, Scotland’s poet laureate Jackie Kay opens our festival with some reflections on the principal themes for this year’s events: making new connections and renewing existing ones. With a dose of wisdom and humour, and a couple of poems, Jackie shares her musings on the lockdown, a period which has seen an explosion of online cultural engagement as well as movement for social change.

How to watch this event

This event starts at 12 noon on Thursday 27th August. To watch the event just visit this page at the start time and you'll be able to watch the event for free.

Subtitles/Closed Captions

If you would like to access YouTube's automated subtitles while you're watching the event, just click on the small 'CC' icon, which you'll see at the bottom right of your video screen, and then the subtitles should appear for you. Please note that as these are automated they are not always 100% reliable.


Donate via PayPal

We are paying all of our contributors, so although the events are free we do still have costs. All donations, however small, are very gratefully received and will support our authors and our festival during a difficult time.

About the speaker

Poet and novelist Jackie Kay is the third modern Scots Makar, or national poet of Scotland. A favourite of our 2019 festival, Jackie’s poetry, which deals candidly with issues of identity, race, nationality, gender and sexuality, has won multiple awards and she also writes extensively for the stage. Born in Edinburgh, in 1961, to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, Jackie was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple and grew up in Bishopbriggs, a suburb of Glasgow. Jackie’s memoir, Red Dust Road, is an account of her search for her biological parents, who had met each other when her father was a student at Aberdeen University and her mother was a nurse. The book was recently adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival last year. Jackie now lives in Manchester and is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 and then a CBE in 2020, both for services to literature. In 2014 she was appointed Chancellor of the University of Salford, where she has been the University ‘Writer in Residence’ since 2015.

Browse all the books featured in the Islay Book Festival 2020 at The Celtic House

2 thoughts on “Jackie Kay

  1. Unfortunately I missed this as I was in hospital having had a fall and broken my wrist. Jackie is one of my very favourite people and Islay one of my favourite places. I am deaf so, unless you have subtitles, I will not be able to hear. I am hoping there might be subtitles on the UTube recordings. Jackie, being the lovely person she is, arranged this to happen for me on the Makar2makar UTube and I wondered if it would be possible for you to organise that please. Until it happened to me I didn’t realise how limiting and isolating deafness is. It would be wonderful if you could organise something for all of us unable to enjoy the Festival. I wish you the very best of luck and many good audiences.

    1. Hello Doris. YouTube does give you the option of selecting ‘Closed Captions’, which will provide you with automated subtitles while you’re viewing the video. To access these you just click on the small ‘CC’ icon, which you’ll see in the bottom right of the video screen, and then the subtitles should appear for you. If you have any issues at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do what we can to help. This is an option that you can use for all of our event videos, and this is one of the main reasons we used YouTube as the platform for our festival. We look forward to you joining us on the day. Very best wishes, Isla.

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