FORMER Scottish Makar Jackie Kay has revealed she would love to be cast as Miss Jean Brodie after being rejected for parts as a teenager because she was “the wrong colour”.

In a podcast due to be broadcast this week, the award-winning poet, playwright and novelist recalls her experiences of racism, which include being beaten up and forced to eat mud at primary school.

In the Cultural Coven podcast she also talks about how her much-loved adoptive parents reacted to her attempt to come out as a lesbian, as well as how she had always wanted to be an actress.

As a teenager she went to acting classes and was “really obsessed” but was never given parts in productions.

This puzzled her until she went along to an audition for the Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie and was told she was “really good” but the “wrong colour”.

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“That was really shocking but it explained to me why I wasn’t getting parts,” says Kay.

However she said she would still “love to be Miss Jean Brodie”.

“I’d probably be a bit of a ham actress but I’d love to get a chance to try and see if I can do it,” says Kay, who celebrates her 60th birthday this year.

After her failure to land parts she decided to write instead.

“It was almost like I had to write about myself because no one else was telling my story. Nobody was telling the story of a black person like me brought up in a town like mine in the Scotland I grew up in. I write as a representative of other people that might have felt like they were on the outside of things.”

Kay says that when she was at primary school in Bishopbriggs, bullies used to wait for her outside the school gates, force her to the ground and shove mud in her mouth.

“They would say ‘that’s what you should eat because you are from a mud hut’,” Kay recalls.

At first she kept quiet about the abuse but eventually told her mother who went up to the school. One of the boys was expelled and the other two belted by the headmaster, who told a traumatised Kay to watch.

“I don’t know how he thought that was good for me but at least they did take it seriously – more seriously than at the university I went to, which was Stirling, where I was attacked by fascists and they put posters up with my name on them and razor blades behind the posters,” she says.

“Stirling University at that time were only bothered about not having their reputation destroyed any further because it had become known as the university where students had thrown tomatoes at the Queen, so they wanted to just hush it all up and that was much more important to them than actually dealing with the racists.”

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She adds that it is “very important” to call out racism and the people calling it out “should not all be black”.

“White people that want to be actively anti-racist should find ways of being actively anti-racist,” Kay says.

“One of the things that I found really uplifting about last summer’s explosion of Black Lives Matter protests was that there were many more white people on those demonstrations than had ever been seen before in anti-racist demonstrations in the history of the world.”

The Cultural Coven podcast featuring Kay is available from Wednesday at 10am on