The author Val McDermid hopes to turn on “thousands” of new readers to the works of Dame Muriel Spark courtesy of an innovative multimedia project which shines a light on Scotland’s literary past.
A new short story by the veteran crime writer being staged as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations features Spark, who was born in 1918, as a central character. The work, New Year’s Resurrection, focuses on the life and work of Susan Ferrier, a 19th century novelist from Edinburgh who was widely read in her day but has long been relegated to a footnote in Scottish literary history. McDermid’s specially commissioned story, the plot of which is a closely guarded secret, sees Ferrier approach Spark in an attempt to rebuff those critics who ignored women writers.
ONE of Scotland’s leading crime writers, Denise Mina, is used to putting her fans through the wringer.
But it was her turn to feel the chill when she visited Edinburgh Castle to research a story.
She said: “My pal and I were given a behind-the-scenes tour to all the parts visitors don’t see, like John Maclean’s cell, wooden walkways above a sheer cliff and toilets that soldiers used which had an 80ft drop.
“It felt like a real honour and privilege that we got to see it.
“The guide also took us to David’s Tower, which is the oldest part of the castle.
“We went down this shoogly 50ft staircase. He told us it was safe but it was swinging.
“I’m not great with heights and I wanted to stop half way down and start crying. It was like gripping on to a cliff face.”
Denise, from Glasgow, was one of 12 Tartan Noir authors asked to write a story set in an iconic Scottish location for new book, Bloody Scotland.
Iconic Scottish buildings are the starting point for a dozen leading crime writers in this brilliant collection, writes Louise Fairbairn The Bloody Scotland crime writing festival turns six this weekend, and to celebrate it has produced this anthology in association with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
A dozen top Scots crime writers celebrate 12 of the country’s greatest built sites by setting a story in each place. In his introduction to these 12 tales tall and true, HES publisher James Crawford describes the collection as “a tribute to two of our nation’s greatest assets”, and the selected authors showcase both the breadth of Scotland’s built wonders and the myriad styles and sensibilities that make up its flourishing crime writing scene.