KILLER writers are heading for India to sell “tartan noir” to a new audience.
Major names in crime fiction will launch a “thrilling” anthology of “dark Scottish tales” at the Kolkata Literary Festival (KLF) next month.
Celebrated author Val McDermid, Man Booker Prize nominee Graeme Macrae Burnet and bestseller Abir Mukherjee will travel to the city – which has a population almost as big as Scotland’s – for the event.
The collection, titled Bloody Scotland after the annual crime fiction festival held in Stirling, features 12 stories from authors including Ann Cleeves, Denise Mina and Lin Anderson and comes as the literary event seeks to increase the reach of Scottish novelists.
It will also be published in America, with Kolkata-based literature house BEE Books handling the Indian release.
The firm has also set up deals to publish two works by Macrae Burnet – The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau and The Accident on the A35.
The Glasgow-based author said: “I’m completely thrilled to be travelling to Kolkata for the first time, particularly in the company of two such renowned writers as Val and Abir.
“It promises to be a very exciting and enlightening trip. And I’m particularly pleased that through the partnership with BEE Books, two of my novels will be made available to local audiences at an affordable price.”
The move is part of a project supported by the British Council
to “grow the global reach” of Scottish literature and follows previous work to introduce more readers to classic crime fiction.
Jenny Brown, chair of Bloody Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be working with BEE Books on this innovative partnership to introduce Indian readers to Scottish crime fiction by bringing writers to the Kolkata Literary Festival, and by making their work more accessible in Indian-published editions.
“We know from our visit to KLF last year that there is a huge appetite for Scottish classics including the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde.
“Now we want readers to try contemporary writing.”
SHE is the working class Edinburgh lass who despite turning her back on university became one of the world’s great writers.
To coin her own phrase Dame Muriel Spark, once a humble secretary, was “the crème de la crème” of the 20th Century literary world; her most celebrated novel The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie becoming an Academy Award-winning movie in 1969 starring Maggie Smith.
This week sees the 100th anniversary of Spark’s birth. And it is being marked with the re-release of all 22 of her novels in collectable hardback editions by Polygon with support from Creative Scotland and the Muriel Spark Society.
Spark’s own extraordinary archive of letters, diaries and even her dresses, along with the manuscript of her most celebrated book, are on show until May at The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.
From tomorrow, some of the country’s leading writers, including Val McDermid, Ali Smith, Janice Galloway, Kate Clanchy and Louise Welsh, will discuss her work on Radio 3 while on Wednesday at the city’s Usher Hall First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and authors Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin will be among the luminaries gathering to read, hear and perform her work.
It’s not hard to imagine the rush of excitement eliciting a wry smile from the woman lauded for her rapier wit and incisive observations. Poet Spark, who died in 2006, fell into novels in her forties after a brush with mental illness and her conversion from Judaism to Catholicism.
Her first book, The Comforters, appeared in 1957 to a glowing review by Evelyn Waugh.
Before long she was being referred to as Britain’s greatest living novelist – a title of which she was dismissive.
“I don’t believe it,” she is reported to have said. “You’d have to read all the novels of everybody to be quite sure of that. I don’t like being thought of as best. But I know I’m among the better ones.” Her centenary looks likely to draw a new generation of readers.
Best-selling crime writer McDermid says of Spark: “She’s a writer who’s not so much
under-appreciated as under-read.
“Readers who discover her are captivated by her unique style and the way she constantly wrong-foots us. Her distinctive take on fiction has influenced writers as diverse as Ali Smith and Ian Rankin. I hope the celebrations of her centenary bring her thousands of new fans.”
THE spring season for the A Play, a Pie and a Pint plays at Oran Mor in Glasgow has been announced.
It will begin on February 12 with It’s Behind You by Alan McHugh, which will be followed on February 19 by Lorna Martin.
It will be followed on February 26 by Aye, Elvis by Morna Young.
Morna Young is recipient of the Dr Gavin Wallace Fellowship 2017 and the New Playwright’s Award 2014.
The play beginning March 5 will be Rishta by Taqi Nazeer.
Rishta is Taqi Nazeer’s playwriting debut as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Breakthrough Writers programme.
That will be followed on March 12 by Alan Muir and on March 19 by For the Love of Chekov (The Dating Game) by AS Robertson, McGonagall’s Chronicles by Gary McNair beginning March 26, Rachel’s Cousin by Ann Marie Di Mambro on April 2, Margaret Saves Scotland on April 9 by the crime writer Val McDermid.