Poet and playwright Liz Lochhead, who championed the Scots language for decades, has been recognised with a lifetime achievement award.
Born in Motherwell in 1947, the former Scots Makar, began to write while studying at the Glasgow School of Art and her first book of poetry was publishing in 1972, selling 5,000 copies and winning a Scottish Arts Council Book Award.
She has written numerous plays including Blood and Ice, Dracula, Cuba and possibly most famously Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off.
She translated and adapted Molière’s Tartuffe into Scots, which premiered at the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum in 1987, and the script of her adaptation of Euripides’ Medea for Theatre Babel won the 2000 Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award.
Liz was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Edinburgh in 2000. In 2005 she was made Poet Laureate of Glasgow and in 2011 she became Scots Makar.
She has published ten collections of poetry, her latest of which, A Handsel: New and Collected Poems, was published in October this year.
The Scots writer has now been awarded the 2023 Saltire Society Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Scottish literature and was described by judges as a literary trailblazer.
The Saltire Society, the charity that has been organising the literary awards since 1937, gives the award to Scottish writers who have made a lasting impact.
Previous winner have included poet Douglas Dunn, author Alexander McCall Smith and Alasdair Gray.
‘I am even more surprised than I am honoured at the news I am to receive this award,’ Liz said.
‘I will accept it with gratitude of course, although I genuinely don’t feel that I deserve it. But then I have been very, very lucky all my writing life — particularly with the timing of when I was first published.
‘Very few women poets were being published then – and there was a hunger for a female voice. I was a novelty.
‘I am very glad there are at least as many women as men writing and being published today.’
The Judges said: ‘Liz Lochhead is the very epitome of an exceptional and versatile writer who has made an outstanding contribution to the Scottish literary ecology.
‘She has been a literary trailblazer, inspiring generations of young people who study her work, and writers wishing to emulate her authenticity.
‘Liz has inspired and impacted the careers and creativity of countless contemporary poets around Scotland, and beyond. We owe her a debt of gratitude.’
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