Tartan noir queen Val McDermid on her love for her son, playing folk clubs with Billy Connolly – and experiencing profound heartbreak
At 16 I was preparing for my Oxford entrance exam. I was very driven. I pushed myself in everything. I played hockey for the 1st 11 in the East of Scotland. I played guitar and sang in folk clubs. I won debating prizes. Everything I did, I wanted to do really well.
I was very much of the working class generation where we thought education was the key to doing well in life. My parents were bright people who passed their exams to go to high school but had to leave at 14 because their families couldn’t afford it. They never got to reach their potential. So they very much encouraged me not be trapped by circumstances. But they had mixed feelings about my going to Oxford. It was a long way away from Kirkcaldy – the only time we’d gone to England was a weekend in Blackpool. And it was a long way intellectually as well. So I think they were really a bit nervous for me, as well as very proud. But I think they saw that I was always going to go my own way.
Read the full interview on the Big Issue website…