Makar’s new work to be performed at Holyrood’s opening ceremony


Jackie Kay.  Credit: Mary McCartney Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, will write and perform a specially-commissioned new piece of poetry before MSPs and Her Majesty The Queen at the opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament.

In advance of her 2 July performance, Jackie Kay has revealed an excerpt from Threshold, her first commissioned work as Makar.

The Makar’s poem celebrates Scotland’s sheer variety, and calls on people across the country to come together to protect its incipient democracy; continuing many of the themes of Edwin Morgan’s poem, Open the Doors! which was commissioned for the Opening of the new Scottish Parliament building in 2004.

Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay commented:

"It's a supreme privilege to have been asked to write a poem for the re-opening of Scottish Parliament.

“I am so proud of our country and of our First Minister and our Parliament, particularly in these challenging times, and I hope that the language of poetry can contribute something to the new words we all long to hear.

“Poetry has a space in the public and the political world and it is wonderful to be part of a country that gives poetry that acknowledgement."

Excerpt from: Threshold

Find here what you are looking for:

Democracy, in its infancy: guard her

Like you would a small daughter -

And keep the door wide open, not just ajar…

The highly-acclaimed poet, who is renowned for the warmth, generosity and humour of her performances, will be one of highlights at Saturday’s Opening of the Scottish Parliament.  Full programme details will be unveiled later this week.

The day’s overall events will include:

  • Her Majesty The Queen addressing MSPs in the Chamber and poetry from Scotland Makar. 
  • Local Heroes taking part in the Riding procession down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, along with around 2,000 other participants in a colourful, historic tradition. The Riding will feature people from all walks of public life and local community groups, plus music and entertainment.
  • Holyrood’s Big Day Out – a fun packed afternoon for all the family. With a programme that has something for everyone, the gardens and doors of the Parliament will be open to all to explore, observe and participate in a full programme of events including a mini-Highland games, Music and Dance, Science and Nature, Art activities for Kids and much more.

Background on Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay was the third poet to become Makar since the post was established in 2004, succeeding Liz Lochhead and her mentor Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s first Makar.

The writer won the Guardian fiction prize in 1998 for her first novel, Trumpet, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006. Her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers, was published in 1991 and named Scottish First Book of the Year. She is currently the chancellor of Salford University.


Big Day Out

For more information on the free events for all the family at the Big Day Out, visit:

Download a PDF copy of the Big Day Out programme:

To add the Big Day Out to your calendar, visit 


Picture credit: Mary McCartney

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