Val McDermid hopes to revive the memory of 19th-century author Susan Ferrier.
Edinburgh’s eerie gothic past, with its notorious “resurrection men” digging up graves under cover of the night in order to provide medical students with cadavers to dissect, is to receive a positive spin this New Year’s Day.
Once the revelry of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations has dwindled, the Scottish author Val McDermid has a plan to “resurrect” a forgotten literary heroine – the 19th-century Scottish novelist Susan Edmonstone Ferrier.
“Her writing stands up very well in comparison with the big-name Scottish writers of her day, like Sir Walter Scott, but the most remarkable thing about Ferrier is that memory of her has all but disappeared,” McDermid told the Observer this weekend, as she prepared for the launch of a city-wide project called New Year’s Resurrection that will run until 25 January.
Using light displays designed by the Edinburgh-based specialists Double Take Projections and sound installations from Michael John McCarthy, Pippa Murphy and RJ McConnell, the crime writer plans to bring Ferrier back to life in the streets and steep “wynds” she once walked.
“I don’t think anything like this has ever been done before,” said McDermid, who is best known for her novel The Wire in the Blood. “As far as I know, there has never been an attempt to tell one story across 12 sites in one city.”
Crime writer Val McDermid has paid tribute to “pioneering” author Sue Grafton, who has died aged 77.
According to a statement posted on Facebook by her daughter, Jamie Clark, Grafton died on Thursday following a two-year battle with cancer.
The US writer was best known for penning the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series of mystery novels and had reached Y Is For Yesterday.
McDermid, whose own thrillers famously include the tales of Dr Tony Hill, said she was “deeply saddened” to hear the news of her friend.
She posted on Twitter: “Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sue Grafton.
“She was amazingly generous to me when I was starting out and remained a good and supportive pal. And Kinsey Millhone was one of the pioneering female PIs who showed the rest of us the way.”
Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Sue Grafton. She was amazingly generous to me when I was starting out and remained a good and supportive pal. And Kinsey Millhone was one of the pioneering female PIs who showed the rest of us the way
I tore through Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics over a weekend in 1973. At the time I was in my second year at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, studying English, which was in many respects a deeply conservative course. But after a friend lent me the book, it was as if an explosion had gone off in my head.
My politics had always been of the left, but I’d never really encountered a feminist perspective before. Sexual Politics allowed me – it forced me – to look at the world in a different way.
I was on fire with what I had read. I couldn’t stop talking about it. I went into my tutorial the next week and launched into a 10-minute rhapsody about the book and how it had transformed the way I looked at the canon. My tutor, Anne Elliott, a distinguished middle-class English Christian who specialised in The Faerie Queene, listened patiently, then said:“Ah yes, dear Kate. I supervised the thesis that became Sexual Politics.” It was as if Margaret Thatcher had claimed responsibility for Simone de Beauvoir.