Makar Liz Lochhead at heart of literary plans

Scotland's new Makar, Liz Lochhead, is to play a role in promoting Scottish literature at home and internationally.

The poet will work with Creative Scotland to raise the profile of poetry, plays and novels being written in Scotland.

She will also compose a work for the 2012 Commonwealth Day Observance, which will be read at the event to a worldwide audience.

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The announcement was made under fresh proposals to boost the literature and publishing sectors in Scotland.

The Literature Working Group was formed in April 2009 to make recommendations to ministers on how to maximise public sector support for literature. Under the proposals, Creative Scotland will also look at holding a National Book Week, the first to be held in 2012, as well as adding to bursaries for writers through the Creative Futures programme.

But plans for a Scottish Academy of Literature modelled on France's prestigious Academie Franaise were rejected by the Scottish Government.

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said: "Scotland's new Makar, Liz Lochhead, is a superb advocate for Scottish literature. Creative Scotland will work with Liz and others to ensure the full potential of the role is realised.

"Scotland boasts both cutting-edge gritty writers as well as literary giants of the past.

"This beguiling combination of literary heritage and vibrant contemporary talent attracts visitors to Scotland and raises our cultural profile around the world. That is why we must do all we can to support and boost the sector."

Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: "Literature is one of Scotland's greatest national assets, with many of our writers, past and present, renowned both at home and internationally."