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Makar Kathleen Jamie: ‘We haven’t got any critical culture to speak of at the moment’



She said: “We have a terrible lack of magazine culture, journal culture. Where’s the space for those long, highly-intelligent, thought-through, dare I say intellectual, reads?

“My book will be reviewed more in England than Scotland because we don’t have the space here. Where do our intellectuals go if they’ve got 5,000 words to write on whatever – where do they publish that? Absolutely nowhere.”

Jamie also questioned if Scotland – home to the Enlightenment – “ever prided itself on intellectualism”.

READ MORE: The SNP ‘has failed’: Scotland’s national poet on the state of the nation

She said: “I sometimes think it’s a leftover from the Reformation that means we just can’t tolerate hierarchies.

“We can’t tolerate that somebody’s smarter or more talented. We just have to keep levelling.

“Why has Ireland got more Nobel Prize winners than we’ll ever have? Because they’re more comfortable with the idea that some people are just geniuses – and the funding of course.”

Meanwhile, Jamie also expressed her concern over the lack of working-class voices in public life and the arts.

She said: “Folk have to work two jobs just to pay the rent … When I started out in the 1980s, you could sign on the dole and spend time developing your art. Now young people are simply hammered.”

The “bloody money is there” to fund a better society, she added.

“We know exactly where it is – offshore accounts. It’s not in our schemes, schools, hospitals or theatres.”

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