Authors Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Deborah Levy are among a roster of starry names made new Royal Society of Literature fellows for 2017, while Waterstones m.d. James Daunt, publisher Margaret Busby and Bloomsbury’s Alexandra Pringle are among those to be honoured with honorary fellowships.
The newly-elected fellows will be introduced at the Society’s Summer Party on Monday 19th June. While the RSL chair Lisa Appignanesi reads a citation for each fellow, they will be invited to sign their names in the roll book which dates back to the Society’s founding in 1820. New Fellows sign the RSL roll book using either T S Eliot’s fountain pen or Byron’s pen.
Outgoing RSL president Colin Thubron is due to speak on an aspect of literary life and incoming president Marina Warner will give her inaugural address.
Joining Rankin, McDermid and Levy as the new RSL Fellows for 2017 are Simon Schama, Artemis Cooper, Meera Syal, Satnam Sanghera, Patience Agbabi, Tahmima Anam, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Terence Blacker, Howard Brenton, Helen Castor, Richard Cohen, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Daljit Nagra.
Honorary Fellowships are awarded to publishers, agents, booksellers and producers. New RSL Honorary Fellows for 2017 are Allison & Busby co-founder Margaret Busby, Waterstones m.d. and founder of Daunt Books James Daunt; writer and BBC radio producer Tim Dee; group editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury Alexandra Pringle; and editor of the London Review of Books, Mary-Kay Wilmers.
This year’s Benson Medallists for exceptional contribution to literature are Busby, Wilmers and Carmen Callil.
Following the presentations and president’s address there will be a celebration of literary anniversaries – including those of Jane Austen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Lowell, A A Milne, Harry Potter, Jonathan Swift and Edward Thomas – read by students and alumni of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
The RSL will be hosting the evening on Monday 19th June at the Bloomsbury Hotel 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN at 6pm.
Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina and Stuart MacBride will feature in crime festival Bloody Scotland’s first ever book of fiction, which will be launched at Stirling Castle on the opening night of the International Crime Writing Festival (8th September).
Published in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, Bloody Scotland will see a selection of Scotland’s crime writers use the “sinister side” of the country’s heritage in a series of “gripping, chilling and redemptive” stories. Contributors include Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Denise Mina, Ann Cleeves, Louise Welsh, Lin Anderson, Gordon Brown, Doug Johnstone, Craig Robertson, E S Thomson, Sara Sheridan and Stuart MacBride. They each explore the “thrilling potential” of Scotland’s “iconic” sites and structures, uncovering “intimate and deadly” connections between people and places.
… a series of “gripping, chilling and redemptive” stories
The stories include a murder in an ancient broch, a macabre tale of revenge among the clamour of an eighteenth century mill, a dark psychological thriller set within the tourist throng of Edinburgh Castle and an ‘urbex’ rivalry turning fatal in the concrete galleries of an abandoned modernist ruin.
James Crawford, publisher of Historic Environment Scotland, said that the book will bring together two of Scotland’s “greatest assets” – its heritage and its crime writing. “So much of our special storytelling culture has come from authors taking inspiration from our unique buildings and landscapes”, he said. “We wanted to explore this head on, challenging 12 of our top crime writers to set their stories in and around Scotland’s most iconic sites and structures. The results are sensational, and are already creating a buzz internationally ahead of publication.”
A torchlight procession is to open this year’s Scottish festival of crime writing, Bloody Scotland.
The procession for the annual festival will lead down from Stirling Castle to the nearby Albert Halls venue, where the author Ian Rankin will talk about 30 years of his most famous character, Inspector Rebus.
Another 30 year anniversary will also be celebrated at the festival, it has announced, with the event marking three decades of crime novels by Val McDermid.
The festival will once again also stage the McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime book of the Year, which will also be announced at Stirling Castle, and will run from September 8 to 10.