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Jackie Kay

(1961-), Poet, novelist and makar (Scottish Poet Laureate)

Sitter in 2 portraits
Born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, Kay grew up in Glasgow after being adopted as a baby by Helen and John Kay, a white Scottish couple. Kay became interested in literature and poetry, studying English at the University of Stirling. At the age of 17 she 'came out' to her adoptive mother as a lesbian. She is the author of The Adoption Papers (1991) in which she explores themes close to her heart: identity, race and sexuality. Kay is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. Her novel Trumpet, was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998. She was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006 and appointed as the Makar in 2016.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Jackie Kay, by Mary McCartney - NPG P1356

Jackie Kay

by Mary McCartney
C-type colour print, 2008
On display in Room 32 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1356

Jackie Kay, by Caroline Forbes - NPG x131833

Jackie Kay

by Caroline Forbes
digital bromide print, 2007
NPG x131833


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