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Jackie Kay was an adopted child of Scottish/Nigerian descent brought up by white parents in Glasgow. She is one of Britain's best-known poets, appearing frequently on radio and TV programmes on poetry and culture. In 2007 Bloodaxe published Darling: New & Selected Poems, which included almost all of her four previous books of poetry from Bloodaxe, The Adoption Papers (1991), Other Lovers (1993), Off Colour (1998) and Life Mask (2005). Her epic poem The Lamplighter, which has been adapted for both radio and stage, is published by Bloodaxe in 2008. Jackie Kay's fiction (from Picador) has been massively popular: her novel Trumpet (1998) and two collections of short stories, Why Don't You Stop Talking? (2002) and Wish I Was Here (2006). She won the Somerset Maugham Award with Other Lovers, the Guardian Fiction Prize for Trumpet, Decibel Writer of the Year for Wish I Was Here and has twice won the Signal Poetry Award for her children's poetry. Her fourth book of poetry for children, Red Cherry, Red, was published by Bloomsbury in 2007. The Adoption Papers is a set text on numerous school and university courses. She lives in Manchester, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006.
'Kay's Darling locates her alongside Ted Hughes - even T.S. Eliot - in that elite group whose children's writing, rather than gainsaying their primary poetic project, informs and enriches it - One of Kay's greatest strengths is the way she locates individual experience in the collective. As befits an adoptive daughter of peace marchers, Kay is a writer for whom the personal is indeed political - Even such a public poet as Kay, though, writes verse shaped above all by human cadence. She has an immaculate ear for speech patterns, using accent and dialect, in particular, to lift and characterise' - Fiona Sampson, The Guardian 'Darling is proof of her place as one of the most deft, most airy, most unencumbered, most fearless and most humane of poets. It culminates in a set of poems whose rhetorical ease and lack of pretension are like a clear starry sky on a good frosty night' - Ali Smith, The Guardian (Books of the Year)