Carol Ann Duffy is the first lesbian Poet Laureate
Carol Ann Duffy was named as the first lesbian Poet Laureate today.
She succeeds current incumbent Andrew Motion, who steps down today after holding the position for ten years.
She will become the first lesbian, Scottish and female holder of the post, which pays £5,750 per year.
Speaking on Woman’s Hour this morning on Radio 4, she said she had thought “long and hard” about accepting the offer.
“The decision was purely because they hadn’t had a woman,” she said. “I look on it as recognition of the great women poets we now have writing, like Alice Oswald.”
According to the BBC, she plans to donate her salary to the Poetry Society to fund a prize for poets.
Earlier this week, bookmakers William Hill announced they had stopped taking bets on her appointment.
It was unclear whether Duffy would accept the post, having previously criticised the role.
In an interview, she said: “I will not write a poem for Edward and Sophie. No self-respecting poet should have to.”
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.
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.