BBC Radio 4's interesting 'The House I grew Up In' has featured a number of interesting personalities, and uses their memories of their childhood home, allowing the listener to better understand a persons formative influences. Apart from the fact that many childhood memories of the 1950's and 1960's are common to many, its interesting to hear the varying experiences of each guest. The Scottish writer Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. She and her brother were adopted by a white couple at birth and they were brought up in Glasgow, her adoptive parents were both active and committed Communists, her mother being at one point Secretary of Scottish CND. Jackie recalls with some affection a train journey to Moscow for a World Peace Congress. Although Jackie did not stay long in the Young Communist League, she makes it clear that the culture and politics of her adoptive parents had a profound and nurturing affect on her writing. Her first collection of poetry, The Adoption Papers (1991),deals with an adopted child's search for a cultural identity and are told through three different voices: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter. 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. The poems in Other Lovers (1993) explore the role and power of language, inspired and influenced by the history of Afro-Caribbean people, the story of a search for identity grounded in the experience of slavery. The collection includes a sequence of poems about the blues-singer Bessie Smith. Off Colour (1998) explores themes of sickness, health and disease through personal experience and metaphor. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies, and she has written widely for stage and television.
- This broadcast can be listened to again, however for some reason the 'listen again' facility is not linked on the programme's webpage. If you want to hear Jackie Kay's memories you have to go to the full list of 'Listen Again' options, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/radioplayer_holding.shtml
- Look under 'H' for 'House I Grew up in' and click.