Award-winning writer to be Edinburgh’s next Makar

New Makar Alan Spence
New Makar Alan Spence
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AWARD-WINNING writer Alan Spence is set to become the Capital’s next poet laureate.

If councillors approve his nomination next week, he will take over the honorary role of Edinburgh Makar from Christine De Luca later this year.

Highly respected as a poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer, Mr Spence was born in Glasgow but lives in the Capital.

He and his wife run the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre in the city.

He said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be nominated as the fifth Edinburgh Makar, the Poet Laureate for this wonderful city that has been my home for over 40 years.

“I look forward to following in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, Stewart Conn, Valerie Gillies, Ron Butlin and Christine De Luca. I know them all and they’re fine poets who have done a great job. We live in troubled times and poetry has never been so important.”

Mr Spence’s writing spans many genres and themes. His most recent novel is Night Boat, published by Canongate, which is based on the life of Zen master Hakuin.

For almost 20 years he taught creative writing at Aberdeen University, where he founded the successful WORD Festival, and where he is now emeritus professor.

Councillor Donald Wilson, convener of the council’s culture and communities committee, said: “Alan Spence is an accomplished and highly-regarded writer whose work often features a hint of Scottish wit and shines with beautiful observations and revelations.

“He is the fifth addition to an illustrious group of writers who have filled this important role in Edinburgh - the original City of Literature. Each writer has enthralled and benefited the city with their talent and Alan is an excellent choice.

“He will fill the shoes of the brilliant Christine De Luca, whose poetry has been prolific over the last three years. It has been an absolute joy to experience her perspective of Edinburgh and its people and I would like to thank her for the energy and insight that she has brought to the role.”