Liz Lochhead was born in Motherwell in 1947, into a working-class family with high hopes and ambitions. Already identified as talented student before she left school, she chose to become a student at Glasgow School Of Art rather than study English at university, a decision that freed her literary imagination and gave her confidence in her own creativity.
Her first book of poetry, Memo for Spring, was published in 1972, to widespread acclaim; and from that moment, she was recognised as a major voice in new Glasgow poetry.
Lochhead's poetic style – personal, post-modern, full of tightly-woven cultural and local references, yet soaring to extraordinary heights of lyricism in poems on love and loss.
Her first play, Blood and Ice, about Mary Shelley and the writing of Frankenstein, is a brilliant, almost feverishly poetic and dramatic exploration of the feminist impulse and its limits. Her Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, first seen in 1987, is a superbly witty and theatrical study, almost in cabaret form, of the making of modern Scotland in a dark moment of 16th-century Presbyterian revolution, and of the long echoes of that revolution in Scottish and western society. Her Scots adaptations of Molière, notably her 1986 version of Tartuffe, are brilliantly sharp and well-grounded modern versions of those classic social satires; and in 2000, her superb version of Medea, written for Theatre Babel, won the Saltire prize as Scotland's book of the year.
In recent years, Lochhead has been exploring the form and possibilities of romantic comedy, in plays like Perfect Days and Good Things, and has continued to publish poetry.
Her major collected works, The Colour Of Black And White, appeared in 2003. Lochhead is a profoundly Scottish poet and playwright.
The news that Liz Lochhead has been appointed Scotland's new makar – or national poet laureate – will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Lochhead's brilliant career over the last 40 years.
At her 66, Liz Lochhead is still has much more work to do.
- Blood And Ice
- Britannia Rules
- A Bunch Of Fives
- Educating Agnes
- Edwin Morgan's Dreams - And Other Nightmares
- Good Things
- The Greeks
- The Magic Island
- Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off
- Perfect Days
- Quelques Fleurs
- Rosaleen's Baby
- Thebans - Oedipus Jocasta Antigone
- Three Sisters
- The York Cycle Of Mystery Plays