Scots crime writer Val McDermid has been appointed as the new patron of the Scottish Book Trust.
The national charity transforming lives through reading and writing has a long-time supporter in Val, one of the biggest names in crime writing and her novels have been translated into 40 languages, selling over 15 million copies worldwide.
Val will lend her support to Scottish Book Trust to help inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work.
McDermid, who was born in Fife, studied English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, where she was one of the youngest undergraduates ever enrolled there and the first student to be admitted from a Scottish state school. After graduation, she became a journalist and worked briefly as a dramatist. Her first success as a novelist was in the late 80s.
Val has created many notable characters such as journalist, Lindsay Gordon; private investigator, Kate Brannigan; and psychologist, Tony Hill. The Mermaids Singing, the first of McDermid’s Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series (which was later adapted for the highly successful television drama Wire in the Blood staring Robson Green) won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year.
Val said: ‘Any writer would be proud and delighted to be invited to be Patron of Scottish Book Trust. The work they do across Scotland, supporting readers and writers across the generations, is key to building our future.
‘It’s a charity that works with children and parents, with teachers and libraries, with avid readers and potential readers alike, and supports both established and aspiring writers. The enterprise and commitment Scottish Book Trust demonstrates enriches all our lives and I’m delighted to be part of their campaigning work.’
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, added: ‘As the reach of Scottish Book Trust continues to grow, we are delighted to welcome renowned and well respected Scottish author Val McDermid onboard as our Patron. Val has, for many years, had a genuine connection to our work and a strong personal interest in our aims and values. It is wonderful to recognise our relationship formally with a Patronage.
‘Research shows that a love of reading and writing inspires creativity, and also benefits employability among young people, supports better mental health and wellbeing, and is one of the most effective ways to help children escape the poverty cycle. Simply put, a love of reading changes lives.’
Scottish Book Trust’s programmes impact on hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland every year, from babies to adults, and the national charity believes books, reading and writing have the power to change lives.
Historical patrons of the charity also include Edinburgh-based author Alexander McCall Smith and prominent children’s author Julia Donaldson.
Amongst other activity, Scottish Book Trust works with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, organising children’s book prizes, the First Minister’s Reading Challenge and bringing a huge range of exciting author events directly to schools all over Scotland.
For adults, a digital storytelling programme seeks to gather stories and build digital skills in adults in various areas of Scotland, and a reading programmes uses reading to empower, engage and connect socially isolated older people.
Scotland’s writing talent is nurtured with bursaries, mentoring and professional development to ensure that creative opportunities are open to people of all backgrounds. The charity also works with teenagers to provide creative writing and illustration development opportunities and delivers a range of author events to encourage people to read and write for pleasure.
As well as promoting Scottish literature worldwide, each November, Book Week Scotland brings a week-long, national celebration of books and reading to every community in Scotland.
Scottish Book Trust programmes and outreach work include:
Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.
Click HERE for more information on the Trust and its work.