A Perthshire poet has been awarded the prestigious honour of being named the new Maker for the Federation of Writers Scotland.
Jim Mackintosh was announced as the ambassador for the national association on Thursday after being chosen by those who had previously held the position.
The writer told The Courier he was “fair chuffed” with his new role and he hopes to help poets old and new.
“I’m especially proud to represent Perthshire,” said Jim.
“I follow on from an incredible list of fine poets. I’m not the first from Perthshire – Andy Jackson was the Makar in 2017.
“This year’s Makar Finola Scott has a difficult year trying navigate through the pandemic and having to pivot all her events on to online engagements.
“I imagine my year will continue in a similar vein until we hopefully start to emerge from our isolations so my plans are very much going to be influenced by reality which seems to change every day as we try to find what is normal.”
Though the role is mainly one of ambassador, the Makar has important duties including judging the Federation competition and empowering writers at whatever stage of their careers.
Jim said: “The remainder of the post is a development of whatever initiatives the Makar feels are appropriate to the objectives of the Federation and from which poets old and new would benefit from the experience.”
Jim is currently the Makar of the Cateran EcoMuseum, in East Perthshire and the Angus Glens and the Poet in Chief at the Hampden Collection.
He is also the poetry editor of Nutmeg Magazine and is currently working on projects with Perth Theatre responding to the lockdown of the arts industry through public responses.
Jenifer Harley, chairwoman of the federation, said she was delighted that Jim had accepted the role of Makar for 2021.
“We are looking forward to working with Jim on various projects and drawing from his poetic experience especially his collaborations with other creative disciplines,” she said.
“His reputation is well earned as an advocate of the best in Scottish writing and someone who supports important initiatives by harnessing writing talents across the nation.”
Jennifer pointed to Jim’s work in publications such as The Darg, an anthology of new poetry celebrating the centenary of Hamish Henderson’s birth and Mind the Time, in support of the Football Memories project and Alzheimer’s Scotland.”
Other projects of Jim’s include Hidden Voices, encouraging poetry from the inmates across Scotland’s prison estate and a football specific project being launched in the spring.
During lockdown the former poet-in-residence at St Johnstone teamed up with the former poet in residence at St Johnstone with Stephen Watt, the current poet in residence at Dumbarton FC, to create Tied To My Clubs – an collection detailing the footballing season during coronavirus.