Tag: Val McDermid

World Book Yay!

A graphic that reads 'It's World Book Day!'. Beneath these words sits three magazine covers, featuring in order Val McDermid, Douglas Stuart and Liz Lochhead. To the right of these magazines is a cartoon drawing of a woman sitting in a hand.

It’s World Book Day – the annual celebration of reading and literature marked by more than 100 countries. 

The event, created by Unesco in 1995, aims to encourage people, especially children, to embrace the pleasure of books. 

The Connect team has been privileged to interview some of the UK’s best-selling writers about their favourite books, as part of our longstanding relationship with the National Library of Scotland to produce its magazine, Discover, which is free to members and visitors.  

We relaunched the magazine in 2022 following a redesign and revamp of the content approach, based on research and reader feedback. 

Val McDermid

For the first new-look issue, Scotland’s queen of crime fiction Val McDermid told us how she has been “addicted” to reading since childhood and “lived at” the Central Library in Kirkcaldy, where she would devour the Chalet School series of books by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer.

She told us how she rereads Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson “pretty much every year”. 

Douglas Stuart

Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart told Discover how discovering work by Scots authors such as Agnes Owens, George Friel and James Kelman was a “revelation”. The Glaswegian was inspired to tell his people’s stories in their own voices and began writing his hit debut novel, Shuggie Bain

Stuart told us that Gentlemen of the West by Owens is one of his favourite books and that he will be “forever indebted to Kelman”, who is the only other Scot to win the Booker, for How Late It Was, How Late. 

Liz Lochhead

For the summer 2023 issue of Discover, former Makar Liz Lochhead discussed her love of Robert Burns and how his work inspired her own poems and lifelong love of performing poetry. 

She spoke to Discover just after the publication of the 50th anniversary edition of her debut collection of poems, Memo For Spring, which shook up the male-dominated poetry world in 1972. 

Lochhead said: “I didn’t write to encourage other women to write. I wrote because I didn’t see why I shouldn’t.”

Professor David Olusoga

Meanwhile, historian and BBC broadcaster Professor David Olusoga – who wrote the groundbreaking Black and British: A Forgotten History – recommended Hugh Kearney’s “brilliant” The British Isles: A History of Four Nations and The Price of Scotland by Douglas Watt. 

Find out more

You can read more of these interviews and back issues of Discover at nls.uk

The next issue will be out in summer 2024. Discover is available free at the Library at George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, and Kelvin Hall, Glasgow.