Poetry News

Poet Edwin Morgan Leaves £1m to Scottish Government

By Harriet Staff

Sometimes, sometimes, the government gives money to poets. Well, how's this for opposite day: The Guardian announces today that Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, who died last August, has left nearly 1 million GPB from his will to a shocked Scottish National Party That converts to approx $1,618,600.00. Morgan was Scotland's first "national" poet, and took on the post in 2004. Born in Glasgow in 1920, he was a nationalist but never campaigned openly for the SNP (The SNP is a left-centered social-democratic political party. Their aim, according to their website, is "to create a just, caring and enterprising society by releasing Scotland's full potential as a sovereign state in the mainstream of modern Europe."). Folks are still confirming the full bequest, but it's said Morgan hoped it would go "towards the creation of an annual award scheme for poets under 30. He has instructed his executors to add future royalties for his work to the fund." Also:

The party is building a war chest to fund its independence referendum campaign, which it expects to stage in 2014 or 2015. Morgan's gift highlights the SNP's capacity to build alliances across the social and political spectrum: he was gay but the party also regularly gets donations from Brian Souter, the chief executive of the Stagecoach transport group who in 2000 funded an unofficial referendum to uphold Section 28, the law banning "promotion" of homosexuality in schools.

According to the Sunday Mail newspaper, Morgan's will showed he had more than £335,000 in accounts with the Clydesdale bank and nearly £50,000 with Barclays. The bulk of his wealth, which also included paintings and books, was in stocks and shares with a Glasgow-based stockbrokers.

The paper reported that Morgan also left £45,000 to friends, former colleagues and charity organisations including small gifts of £2,000 each to Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Youth Theatre and the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

As for the Morgan's work, you can hear several radio programs on the Radio Scotland website devoted to or featuring Edwin Morgan. The full Guardian article is here.

Originally Published: June 20th, 2011