In an interview to be published in the Scottish Review of Books (SRB), available in The Herald on Saturday, Ms Lochhead, the playwright and poet, said she is not a member of the SNP, but would vote yes for independence in a referendum.
Lochhead, who was born in Lanarkshire in 1947 and is based in Glasgow, admitted she once supported Labour, but has since changed her allegiance.
Her preference for Scottish independence follows that of her predecessor and friend the late Edwin Morgan. The first Makar surprised many by leaving more than £900,000 to the SNP in his will.
In her interview with the SRB’s Colin Waters, Lochhead says: “I’m not an SNP member, myself – have never joined any political party, barring a brief spell in the 1970s as a member of the Labour Party (don’t laugh at me) – but if there was a referendum tomorrow, I’d vote yes. I don’t see why Scotland and England can’t remain friendly co-operative equals.
“Other countries in the world have dissolved uncomfortable unions.”
Renowned for her plays such as Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off and her acclaimed adaptations of Moliere, Lochhead was made the Makar in January this year.
When her role was announced, she said she would attend international events as the cultural ambassador of Scotland and would write in “various different kinds of Scots and Scottish accents of the mind”, although there are no formal expectations of the Makar.
The poet, who has written a new play called Edwin Morgan’s Dreams – and Other Nightmares, says she was surprised by his donation to the SNP.
“I thought, wow. He wasn’t a member of the SNP. He stated once that he never wanted to join any party. He always wanted an independent Scotland but he was critical of the party in the past, so I can only guess he felt a wee wave of optimism at the end there,” she says.
Lochhead goes on to say that her primary role as a writer and as the Makar is to write and “fight the corner for poetry”.
“Writers absolutely don’t have a duty to do anything but to write. On the other hand, if you are the sort of person who writes, you probably feel a desire to speak, not to stay dumb about injustices,” she says.
Robyn Marsack, director of the Scottish Poetry Library, said Lochhead has no intention of using her position for political purposes, and that she had made her comments as the “personal opinions of a voting citizen”.
“Her agenda is poetry,” Ms Marsack said.
Lochhead is the Makar for a fixed term of five years, and receives an annual stipend of £10,000 from Creative Scotland, the national arts funding body.
She was chosen from a list of writers by the three surviving First Ministers of Scotland – Alex Salmond and his two Labour predecessors Jack McConnell and Henry McLeish.
The Makar is not alone in her views on independence among Scotland’s leading writers.
Earlier this year, Iain Banks, the novelist, and the playwright David Greig said they supported the idea of an independent Scotland, and Janice Galloway wrote that the “risk of secession will be worth taking” if the SNP steers the right political course.
Elsewhere in the interview, Lochhead says she had trouble staging her plays, acclaimed in Scotland, south of the Border.
“There are people involved in the theatre down south who think anything too strongly Scottish is provincial,” she says.
“I’ve had critics comment, and this was at the Traverse at the Edinburgh Festival, that a play I’d written had no reason to be set in Scotland, it could be set anywhere, so why do they speak in Scottish accents?”
She said the National Theatre in London said they thought Mary Queen of Scots was a fantastic play but “far too Scottish for us”.
“At the same time, I’ve had various eastern European countries do a few of my plays. So, who’s provincial?”