Professor Jackie Kay CBE

Chancellor of the University of Salford

“It was a real pleasure to be asked to judge this year’s Create Student Awards. They reminded me how deep the human impulse to be creative goes, and how much in particular we need that in times of crisis. We met just before the lockdown, the last meeting that I attended in the old life. We bumped elbows, and shared enthusiasms and had rich and detailed conversations about all the entries. It is very hard to pit one creative idea against another. Everyone a stunner, and everyone a winner in some sense. We were often impressed by the ways that the artist managed their ideas to match their form, and the ways they had of involving their communities. We were heartened by the generosity of spirit in the ideas as well as by the talent. It gave us a real sense of hope for the future and we wish all the shortlisted creatives well and want to congratulate them as well as raise a glass to the winners. Bravo!”

Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh and brought up in Glasgow. Her first book The Adoption Papers won the Saltire and a Forward Prize. ‘Trumpet’, a novel circling the life of a fictional jazz musician, Joss Moody, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. ‘Red Dust Road’, her memoir telling the story of her Nigerian Birth father and Highland birth mother won the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Award, and was toured by NTS last year, adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta. Her latest collection of poetry ‘Bantam’ was published to great acclaim. She is the third modern Makar, the National Poet of Scotland and the Chancellor of the University of Salford. Her book on the blues singer Bessie Smith is due out next year.