Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, has said that since the Brexit vote she no longer feels happy or safe living in England and could instead move north of the Border.

Despite most of her work being based at Salford near Manchester, she has been contemplating a life that would see her reside in Scotland and commute to Greater Manchester instead.

And she said she felt a wave of emotion wash over her when she arrived back into Scotland post-Brexit, knowing what most of the UK had voted for.

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In her first in-depth interview since taking up her post as national poet, Kay said that “for the first time in my adult life I don’t feel safe in the same way. You cross the road and you think, is that person a Brexiteer and are they going to reverse into me?”

HeraldScotland: Makar Jackie Kay reads a poem during the opening of the fifth session

Speaking after the end of a 14-day reading tour across Britain with Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Welsh national poet Gillian Clarke and Pakistani-born British poet Imtiaz Dharker, Kay said that the trip had allowed her to take the political temperature of the country.

From Cornwall to Fife via Wales, she said, “it was out, out, out... In Chipping Norton there was a market, and I asked this Turkish man at a market stall how he was voting, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this beautiful man who’s sold me these lovely olives and artichoke hearts, he’s voting out.’ I started to think, this is going to be out.”

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The poets reached Scotland after the referendum result, and she described the emotion they felt: “When we crossed the border in that minibus, we all cheered, we all broke out into applause, and we were all visibly moved. Some of us were in tears.

“We just felt very, very, very grateful.”

Kay, 54, was talking from her parents’ home in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, a few days after delivering her inaugural poem as Makar at the opening of the new session at Parliament in the presence of the Queen on July 2.

It was here that she was brought up by her adoptive parents, Helen and John, who adopted her as a baby.

HeraldScotland: Jackie Kay at the University of Stirling

Some years ago she traced her birth parents, and discovered her father was Nigerian and her mother Scottish. Currently she lives in Manchester where she is Chancellor of Salford University, but she is now considering her options.

“I’m really seriously going to be considering living back in Scotland. So many friends of mine are, because we feel so troubled and distressed by what has happened. The climate, the tone and the timbre of many parts of England have changed ... I might make my base here and commute there, rather than the other way around.”

Read more: Arts world reacts with dismay and caution to European Referendum result.​

Following her first and most daunting public appearance as Makar, Kay outlined some of her intentions for this prestigious five-year appointment.

As the third holder of the position after Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead, she is keen to “imbue the role with tradition”.

HeraldScotland: Makar Jackie Kay (National Poet for Scotland) at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

After Lochhead’s criticism of the way in which the handover was conducted earlier this year, she said she is already thinking about what she would like to leave behind for the next Makar.

Her idea is for a piece of parchment to be inscribed with a line from Edwin Morgan’s poetry, and a line by Lochhead in her own handwriting, and a line by herself. This would then be “put into something very beautiful, literally like a baton, and that baton can be passed on.”

She also has plans for the poem she read at the Parliament, Threshold, which the Sunday Herald published last week.

A plea for open-heartedness throughout the country, and to refugees from across the world, it was conceived as a response to Edwin Morgan’s Open the Doors, written for the opening of Parliament in October 2004.

That Threshold seemed to anticipate the Brexit vote was entirely unintentional, she said. “I wrote the poem with the impulse of what was going on in the world in general. A plea to being open. I didn’t actually imagine that this was going to be the result, so the poem has acquired a prescience that wasn’t there when I wrote it.”

Threshold has been posted on the Scottish Poetry Library website, and it would delight her if people would add to the final lines, in which “welcome” and “one language is never enough” and “it takes more than one language to tell a story” are written in languages as diverse as Igbo, Syrian and Cantonese.

“If it took off and people kept on adding a line, saying ‘Welcome’ in a different language, you’d have a real sense of welcome in many, many languages.”

As well as visiting many of Scotland’s farther-flung islands and locations, which are often left off the literary road map, she clearly also hopes to have fun in this new post. “I’d like to have my own Makar’s Malt, for instance. I’d like it peaty, but not too peaty...”

The interview with Jackie Kay is in today’s Sunday Herald Magazine