JAMAICA’S poet laureate is to address an audience at Glasgow University tomorrow night as the institution continues to examine its slave profit past.

Literary giant Lorna Goodison is to appear in conversation with author Louise Welsh, a professor of creative writing at the university.

Welsh, whose works include The Cutting Room and No Dominion, told The National that Goodison had been invited to appear at the university’s Bute Hall due to the “exceptional” quality of her output, which spans almost 40 years.

Born in Kingston, she became an art teacher before pursuing a literary career and has since published poetry, short stories and a memoir, as well as Redemption Ground, a newly released collection of “essays and adventures”.

Amongst other subjects, these works have covered family, slavery and cultural connections between Scotland and Jamaica.

Welsh said: “Lorna Goodison is an amazing writer. This is for anyone interested in creativity, and anyone interested in life.”

The event comes around six months after Glasgow University published a landmark report scrutinising its links to the slave trade, which earned it the equivalent of up to £200 million in gifts and bequests in the 18th and 19th century.

As a result of the findings, it has embarked upon a programme of “reparative justice”, which includes a commitment to increasing racial diversity amongst staff and students and to reducing the degree attainment gap, as well as working to strengthen ties with institutions in the Caribbean, such as the University of the West Indies.

Welsh said: “One of the recommendations was that we should grow our cultural connections with the Caribbean because it’s a great way to exchange understanding and learn about each other.

“It’s about being sensible and grown up and looking at our past. ‘Our’ past is the wrong word. It’s ‘the’ past of the institution and the city and the country and then recognising the privilege and the gains that our nation made through that and the ongoing effects.

“Part of what I’m concerned about is that it doesn’t look like we think we have fixed it – ‘we’re doing a good job, it’s hands across the sea’. It’s not about making us look good.

“When we invited Lorna, we didn’t think ‘aren’t we marvellous’. We think she is marvellous for coming and aren’t we going to have a really exciting, interesting event.

“This will be a celebration of a woman’s work, of somebody who is now in their 70s and still producing amazing work.”

Amongst Goodison’s best known verses is And I Hear From Two Rabbies, which looks at the lives and contributions of Robert Burns and Bob Marley, the second of whom was known by Goodison.

On whether or not Scots readers are widely enough exposed to writing from the Caribbean, Welsh said: “When you think of the popularity of Caribbean music, reggae music, there is an opportunity for people to read and enjoy more Caribbean literature and poetry.”

The event, in association with the Scottish Poetry Library, starts at 6pm, with free tickets still available through booking website eventbrite. To register, visit https://bit.ly/2WO0Ty6