Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland 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 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.. 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
Her Maw Broon Monologues, performed at the
Tron Theatre in Glasgow, and combining rhythmic verse and music,
were shortlisted for the 2010 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in
Her latest book is
Red Dust Road (2010), a memoir about meeting her Nigerian birth
father, which was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Ackerley Prize.