Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay

Scottish author and poet of Nigerian descent, whose latest book is Red Dust Road...

Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She was adopted by a white couple at birth and was brought up in Glasgow, studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Stirling University where she read English.

The experience of being adopted by and growing up within a white family inspired her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers (1991). The poems deal with an adopted child's search for a cultural identity and are told through three different voices: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter. The collection won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year Award and a commendation by the Forward Poetry Prize judges in 1992. The poems in Other Lovers (1993) explore the role and power of language, inspired and influenced by the history of Afro-Caribbean people, the story of a search for identity grounded in the experience of slavery. The collection includes a sequence of poems about the blues-singer Bessie Smith. Off Colour (1998) works around themes of illness, health and disease through personal experience and metaphor. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and she has written widely for stage and television.

Her first novel, Trumpet, published in 1998, was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Inspired by the life of musician Billy Tipton, the novel tells the story of Scottish jazz trumpeter Joss Moody whose death revealed that he was, in fact, a woman. Kay develops the narrative through the voices of Moody's wife, his adopted son and a journalist from a tabloid newspaper. Her books, Why Don't You Stop Talking (2002) and Wish I Was Here (2006), are short story collections, and she has also published a children's book, Strawgirl (2002).

Her novella, Sonata, was published in 2006, and her latest book of poems is Darling: New and Selected Poems (2007).

Jackie Kay lives in Manchester. In 2006, she was awarded an MBE for services to literature.

Fact file

Name: Jackie Kay

Education: University of Stirling

Date of birth: 1961

Place of birth: Edinburgh

Current home: Manchester

Similar authors: Laura J Hird

Our
choice

Red Dust Road

Red Dust Road

(Hardback)

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, the journey that Jackie Kay...
Read more ....

 

Select Releases

Bessie Smith - Outlines S.

Bessie Smith - Outlines S. (Paperback)

by Jackie Kay

Format: Paperback 160 pages
Published: 07/10/1997
Publisher: Absolute Press

Not in stock

Usually despatched in 2-3 weeks

Bessie Smith was certainly the greatest blues singer who lived and probably one of the greatest and most influential singers of the twentieth... Read more

£8.99

Add to basket

The Adoption Papers

The Adoption Papers (Paperback)

by Jackie Kay

Format: Paperback 64 pages
Published: 03/01/1998
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd

In stock

Usually despatched within 24 hours

Jackie Kay tells the story of a black girl's adoption by a white Scottish couple- from three different viewpoints: the mother, the birth mother,... Read more

RRP £9.95

£7.96

You save: £1.99

Add to basket

Red, Cherry Red

Red, Cherry Red

by Jackie Kay

Format: Mixed media product 96 pages
Published: 01/10/2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

In stock

Usually despatched within 24 hours

Jackie's latest collection of poetry is full of the dramatic power associated with her work, and plenty of music too. She explores the theme of... Read more

RRP £6.99

£5.99

You save: £1.00

Add to basket

Darling: New and Selected Poems

Darling: New and Selected Poems (Paperback)

by Jackie Kay

Format: Paperback 224 pages
Published: 10/10/2007
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd

In stock

Usually despatched within 24 hours

Humour, Gender, Sexuality, Sensuality, Identity, Racism, and Cultural Difference. When do any of these things ever come together to equal poetry?... Read more

RRP £9.95

£7.69

You save: £2.26

Add to basket

Red Dust Road

Red Dust Road (Hardback)

by Jackie Kay

Format: Hardback 192 pages
Published: 04/06/2010
Publisher: Picador

Not available online. Check availability in branch

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and... Read more