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Lesbian writer Carol Ann Duffy tipped as next Poet Laureate

Jessica Geen April 27, 2009
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Carol Ann Duffy has reportedly been chosen as the first female and openly gay Poet Laureate.

Ms Duffy, 53, will also be the first Scot to hold the position after incumbent Andrew Motion steps down this week.

She was apparently selected after Culture Minister Andy Burnham changed the rules to allow members of the pulic more say who over who should be chosen for the honour.

However, it is not yet known whether she has formally been offered the post.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport in London would not confirm the reports, saying the Queen was considering candidates.

Other possible successors include Jackie Kay and Simon Armitage.

A spokesman for William Hill bookmakers said: “Carol Ann has been the most heavily backed contender for the job, and would already cost us a five-figure pay-out, so we’ve decided to close the book as the decision appears to have been taken.”

She was put forward for the role in 1999 but lost out to Andrew Motion, allegedly because the then prime minister, Tony Blair, was concerned about how her status as a lesbian would be received.

She has previously criticised the role, saying in an interview: “I will not write a poem for Edward and Sophie. No self-respecting poet should have to.”

The role of Poet Laureate was orginally a lifetime honour but was changed in 1999 to a ten-year post, after the death of Ted Hughes.

It pays a salary of £5,000 per year, with the post holder expected to write poems for the Royal family and to commemorate national events.

Ms Duffy is best-known for her works Standing Female Nude (1985) and Selling Manhattan (1987).

Her work is included on the national curriculum for schools and frequently features themes of sexuality, inequality and bereavement.

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