POET, playwright and novelist Alan Spence has become Edinburgh’s fifth Makar, succeeding Christine De Luca, who has held the post for the past four years.

Spence, who was born in Glasgow but has lived in Edinburgh for 40 years, was formally welcomed to the role of the capital’s poet laureate by Lord Provost Frank Ross at a reception in the City Chambers after De Luca read the last poem she created as Makar.

The 1996 Scottish Writer of the Year, Spence’s works include the play Sail-maker and the novel The Pure Land. Spence’s name is now available to view on the Edinburgh Makar commemoration plaque.

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His writing spans many genres and themes, often falling somewhere between literature and philosophy with poetry inspired by Zen and meditation. His writing covers many forms including haiku and tanka, often in collaboration with artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder and Alison Watt.

The Edinburgh Makar is a civic post instituted by the council in 2002. The writer is selected and nominated by representatives of the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish PEN, The Saltire Society, Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and the council.

Edinburgh Council said: “Edinburgh has always been a literary city, and to celebrate the importance of writers in the capital the council continues to show its commitment to the promotion of writers and literary projects, which enhance Edinburgh’s international reputation, including the post of the Edinburgh Makar.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, culture and communities convener, said Spence “will fill the shoes of the brilliant Christine De Luca, whose poetry has been prolific over the last three years. It has been an absolute joy to experience her perspective of Edinburgh and its people and I would like to thank her for the energy and insight that she has brought to the role.”

When he received his nomination, Spence said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be nominated as the fifth Edinburgh Makar, the Poet Laureate for this wonderful city that has been my home for over 40 years.

“We live in troubled times and poetry has never been so important.”

“I look forward to following in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors, Stewart Conn, Valerie Gillies, Ron Butlin and Christine De Luca. I know them all and they’re fine poets who have done a great job.

Christine De Luca said: “I am delighted that Alan Spence is to be our next Makar. Besides being a wonderful writer, he is out-going and generous-hearted. I’m sure he’ll take the role in fascinating new directions.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the Edinburgh Makar and found nothing but support from the council and its staff and from the other organisations supporting the role. Local poets too have been hugely encouraging and have willingly taken part in a range of projects.”