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Another chance to hear Val on Desert Island Discs

14 July 2013 – BBC Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs


Val McDermid talks to Kirsty Young

‘Ideas are like supermarket trolleys rattling around in my head’

Val talks to Kirsty Young and shares her Desert Island Discs

Crime writer Val McDermid talks about the lengthy process of developing ideas for stories.

Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

Date: Sunday 14 July 2013 & repeated Friday 19th
Time: Sunday 11.15am Friday 19th 9am

BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs

Val will be sharing her Desert Island Discs

Val McDermid, crime writer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs

More information: 


A life of writing sparked by town library …

Val McDermidA life of writing sparked by town library …

BEST selling author Val McDermid would never have become a writer had it not been for Kirkcaldy Central Library.

As a kid she even borrowed her mum’s library ticket to get her hands on more novels!

Now she is looking forward to returning to see first-hand the transformation of a building which played such a huge part in her life.

When Val was growing up in the town, books were a luxury her family could not afford, and the library introduced her to everyone from Dickens to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

In the countdown to the grand re-opening, Val recalled her first visits to the library.

“I grew up in a house where there was no money to spare and the only way to get books was as prizes from the Sunday School – they were the only books I had,” she said.

“So when we lived in Templehall, my mum used to take me to the library years before I could read, find a quiet corner of the children’s section and tell me the stories by pointing to the pictures.

“As I got older and we moved to Sang Road, opposite Kirkcaldy Central Library, I spent more and more time there. The library became a home from home.

‘‘I read a huge amount of fiction although we were only allowed to take out four books at a time and two of them had to be non-fiction. After all, this was Presbyterian Scotland in the 1960s!





Val to receive honorary degree from Dundee University

Val to receive honorary degree from Dundee University

Val McDermid

Bestselling crime writer Val McDermid will be awarded an honorary degree from Dundee University.

Mary Schwartz, director of a skin disease charity, and Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in London, will also be honoured at the university’s summer graduations.

They will all receive an honorary doctor of laws at a ceremony in the Caird Hall later this month.

Professor Pete Downes, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said: “In choosing our honorary graduates we are looking for the best possible role models for our students and staff, and we are mindful of excellence, inspirational quality and integrity.

“These are all qualities displayed in abundance by our distinguished guests.”

McDermid published her first crime novel in 1987 and has penned more than 30 books.




Photograph: DC Thomson


Twitter Fiction

Twitter fiction: Val McDermid

Val Mcdermid Twitter FictionVal McDermid takes the Guardian’s Twitter challenge…


He couldn’t work out why she’d grown interested in TV DIY shows. Then he leaned on the fatally weakened balcony wall of their highrise flat.




Photograph: Murdo Macleod


My hero: Emily Wilding Davison

My Hero: Emily Wilding Davison

A hundred years ago, suffragette Emily Wilding Davis died after colliding with a horse at Epsom. Now modern technology has revealed that she had no intention of killing herself

On 4 June 1913, a woman ran across the racecourse at Epsom while the horses were thundering round the track at 35 miles an hour. She collided with the King’s horse, Anmer, and died four days later.

Emily Wilding Davison was a militant suffragette, and history has rendered her a protean character, taken by different factions and moulded to fit their needs. Martyr, madwoman, maniac or simply mixed-up. But in Northumberland, where I live, there’s no doubt. She’s our local hero. When her body arrived by train to be buried in the family plot in Morpeth, thousands of people lined the streets to pay homage.

Now, 100 years later, events honouring her memory are attracting locals and visitors alike. Emily’s work for the suffrage cause has made her a legend and finally, thanks to modern technology, her actions and motivations are becoming clearer. She wasn’t the only suffragette to die for the cause, but we remember her protest was captured on film. For years it was used to back up the description of Emily as the woman who threw herself under the King’s horse. Now we know she did nothing of the sort. Frame-by-frame examination reveals that she was reaching up towards the horse’s bridle, not hurling herself beneath its hooves. Ill-judged and reckless, yes. But suicidal? I don’t think so.