An Evening with Jackie Kay

Monday 22 April, 7.30pm at Sevenoaks Bookshop

The long-awaited collection from one of Britain’s finest living poets, and a chronicle of activism in the UK over six decades



“An elegiac collection that renews the voices of the past. A truly all-encompassing exploration of resistance in all its forms, from music to marches. This poetry collection is a cairn for the dead, and a call to arms for the living.”

Helena, Bookseller

About the Book

May Day is the long-awaited new collection from one of our best-loved poets and former Makar of Scotland, Jackie Kay. As the title suggests, these poems cast an eye over several decades of political activism, from the international solidarity of the Glasgow of Kay’s childhood, accompanying her parents’ Socialist campaigns, through the feminist, LGBT+ and anti-racist movements of the 80s and
90s, up to the present day when a global pandemic intersects with the urgency of Black Lives Matter.


Kay brings to life a cast of influential figures, delving beneath the surfaces of received narratives: the Jamaican model Fanny Eaton, for example, muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England; Paul Robeson, Angela Davis and the poet Audre Lorde; and a ‘what-if’ poem concerning Rabbie Burns and a road-not-taken towards the West Indian slave trade. Woven through the collection is a suite of lyric poems concerning the recent losses of Kay’s parents: poems of grief and profound change that are infused with the light of love and celebration.

About the Author

Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh. A poet, novelist and writer of short stories, she has enjoyed great acclaim for her work for both adults and children. Her novel, Trumpet, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. She has published three collections of stories with Picador, Why Don’t You Stop Talking, Wish I Was Here, and Reality, Reality; two poetry collections, Fiere and Bantam; and her memoir, Red Dust Road. From 2016 to 2021 she was the third modern Makar, National Poet for Scotland. She lives in Manchester and is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Salford.


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