Literary editor’s report cited in ‘national poet’ recommendations

THE report of a group led by Rosemary Goring, literary editor of The Herald and Sunday Herald, is said to have influenced a recommendation to give Scotland’s next national poet more prestige and more financial reward.

The Herald yesterday reported on Venu Dhupa’s first interview since taking a key role at Creative Scotland, the nation’s new arts funding body – in which she said the successor to the late Edwin Morgan should receive more than the £5,000 a year he was paid for the role of Scotland’s Makar.

Dhupa is one of three directors of creative development at the newly-launched Creative Scotland, and, according to The Herald’s arts correspondent, Phil Miller, she has been studying two reports on the future of literature in Scotland: the Literature Forum’s report, and the report of the Literature Working Group, led by Goring.

Dhupa said both reports advocated promoting the value and prestige of the sector, and the role of Makar was a key part of that drive.

“We want to make sure there’s a good national poet for Scotland,” she told the newspaper, “because I think the previous post holder [the late Edwin Morgan] had a stipend but it was not really enough to make them a figurehead, or give [him] enough opportunities, nationally or internationally, to promote that idea of value and prestige.

“The stipend that he received, it was not that valuable. He would go on with his work, but he did not have that figurehead function and so I think it would be good if we could enable that to happen, so we could see the next national poet out and about.”

The Scottish Government, which appoints the Makar, is currently formulating plans to begin the search for a successor to Morgan, who died in August at the age of 90.