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Liz Lochhead (born December 26, 1947) is a Scottish poet and dramatist.
Lochhead was born in Motherwell and raised in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, and later attended Glasgow School of Art. She lectured in fine art for eight years before becoming a professional writer.
In the early 1970s, Lochhead joined Philip Hobsbaum's writers' group, a crucible of creative activity - other members were Alasdair Gray, James Kelman, Tom Leonard, Aonghas MacNeacail and Jeff Torrington. Her plays include Blood and Ice, Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (1987), Perfect Days (2000) and a highly acclaimed adaptation into Scots of Molière's Tartuffe (1985). She adapted the medieval texts of the York Mystery Plays, performed by a largely amateur cast at York Theatre Royal in 1992 and 1996. Her adaptation of Euripides' Medea won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award in 2001. Her plays have been performed on BBC Radio 4: Blood and Ice (11 June 1990), The Perfect Days (16 May 1999), Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (11 February 2001) and The Stanley Baxter Playhouse: Mortal Memories (26 June 2006). Her adaptation of Helen Simpson's short story Burns and the Bankers was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Burns Night, 25 January 2012. Like her work for theatre, her poetry is alive with vigorous speech idioms; collections include Memo For Spring (1972), True Confessions and New Clichés (1985), Bagpipe Muzak (1991) and Dreaming Frankenstein: and Collected Poems (1984). She has collaborated with Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra to whom she dedicated the poem 'Ira and George'.
In January 2011, Lochhead was named as the second Scots Makar, or national poet, succeeding Edwin Morgan who had died the previous year. She is currently the Honorary President of the Caledonian Cultural Fellows at Glasgow Caledonian University.
She is a vocal supporter of Scottish independence, having performed with pro-independence group National Collective and written in The Guardian that Robert Burns would have voted for independence.
- 2012: Liz Lochhead: Five Plays. Nick Hern Books.
- 2010: Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off. Nick Hern Books.
- 2009: Blood and Ice. Nick Hern Books.
- 2009: Educating Agnes. Nick Hern Books.
- 2006: Good Things. Nick Hern Books.
- 2003: The Colour of Black and White. Polygon.
- 2003: Dreaming Frankenstein and Collected Poems, 1967-84. Polygon.
- 2003: Thebans. Nick Hern Books.
- 2003: True Confessions: And New Cliches. Polygon.
- 2002: Misery Guts. Nick Hern Books.
- 2001: Cuba (with Gina Moxley). Faber & Faber.
- 2000: Medea. Nick Hern Books.
- 1999: Bagpipe Muzak. Penguin Books.
- 1999: Perfect Days. Nick Hern Books.
- 1978: Islands. Print Studio Press.
- 1972: Memo For Spring. Reprographia.
|Radio Plays adapted by Liz Lochhead|
|Date first broadcast||Play||Director||Cast||Synopsis
|25 January 2012||Burns and the Bankers||Amber Barnfather||Sophie Thompson, John Sessions, Greg Wise, Peter Forbes, David McKay, Angela Darcy, Siobhan Redmond, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Maynard Eziashi||Helen Simpson's satirical and poignant short story, dramatised for radio by Liz Lochhead. Nicola Beaumont (English, partner in a law firm, mother of four) reluctantly sits down to a long-winded corporate Burns Supper. At first impatient with the whisky-fuelled pomposity around her, Nicola finds herself surprisingly moved as the traditional rituals of a Burns Night unfold. What she comes to learn about the eighteenth-century Scots poet brings new self-knowledge and helps her through the night's violent emotions and climactic events.||BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama|
- BBC profile
- Scottish Poetry Library profile
- Peter Childs and Michael Storry (eds), The Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture. Routledge: 2009, p.311.
- 'Ira and George', The Colour of Black and White (Polygon: 2003), p.8
- "Liz Lochhead confirmed as new Scots Makar". BBC News. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- BBC – Afternoon Drama – Burns and the Bankers
- Liz Lochhead at British Council: Literature includes a "Critical Perspective" section
- Scottish Poetry Library. Profile of Lochhead
- BBC profile
- National Centre for Early Music - archive of Mystery Plays
- Scottish Poetry Library podcast on the 40th anniversary of Memo For Spring