Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, and was adopted at birth by a couple from Glasgow. Initially Kay wanted to be an actress and attended classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in Glasgow, whilst also reading English at the University of Stirling. Her first collection of poetry, ‘The Adoption Papers’ (1991), won several awards including the Scottish Arts Council Book Award. Other works – poetry, fiction and plays – explore the power of language, health and sickness, the experience of being black in Britain and gender identity issues. The experience of sitting for this bust inspired a collection of eight poems, entitled ‘Life Mask’ (2005).