An organisation which aims to enhance appreciation of the North East’s Doric heritage has announced a key appointment.

The Doric Board (North-East Tradition and Language – NETAL) has named renowned poet, novelist, story writer, storyteller and singer Sheena Blackhall as its first North East Makar, a three-year post which will play a pivotal role in rolling out the group’s strategy.

The creation of the Doric Board represents a coming together of a small group of like-minded people with the aim of enhancing linguistic and cultural confidence in the North East. It seeks to energise public appreciation of the region’s exceptional heritage of Doric language, music, ballad, song, story, history, lore, and the dynamic creativity of those who live and work in the area. Ultimately, the Doric Board aims to be a powerful voice for social and economic regeneration, and a driver towards a national Scots language board.

The appointment of a Makar is seen as crucial in delivering that strategy and Sheena’s reputation and ability will be central to the Board’s aim to create and support a sustainable, dynamic future for Doric as a vibrant language which is respected across the region in the context of a diverse and open society.

Sheena Blackhall BSc, Dip Ed, M Litt is the author of more than 140 collections of poetry and 15 collections of short stories – indeed a complete list of her work is retained in the National Library of Scotland. A former guest of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, she has researched poetry in more than 30 countries and has translated numerous bestselling titles into Doric. Sheena was recently presented with the Janet Paisley Lifetime Achievement Award at the Scots Language Awards.

Commenting on the announcement, Doric Board chair Frieda Morrison said: “Sheena’s understanding use of the language and the traditions which surround it are unrivalled. Her ability to capture the essence of Doric in written and verbal formats sit in exact parallel with the aims of the Board and we look forward to the next three years with excited anticipation.”

Sheena Blackhall added: “I was delighted to accept this exciting opportunity to play a part in the excellent work of The Doric Board, and I look forward to use my tenure to showcase the very best of North East culture and tradition.”

To find out more about The Doric Board, visit the website or email