Kirsty Wark to explore literary landscape in new radio series

A new four-part series, Written In Scotland, presented by Kirsty Wark will show how the nation is uniquely defined by its writers.

Starting on 24 June, each episode will explore Scotland’s past and present literary landscape. Kirsty will unpick how Scottish authors distinctively and sometimes controversially reflect the perception of their country, and asks if literature still has an influence on the country’s national image.

The series will examine the political and social history of Scotland depicted by its poets and novelists, from how they respond to the Union with England, to the literary rivalry of the country’s two biggest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Kirsty said: ‘Scottish literature has always revealed something about our national character, our preoccupations – what makes us laugh and what makes us cry. It’s about all different landscapes of our lives and I’m thrilled to have talked to some of the most stellar Scottish writers and poets for Written in Scotland.’

Scotland’s scenery plays a part in its appeal, but Kirsty will look into the way in which the natural world is imbued with politics.

The series will explore the highland’s mountains and moors that have captivated audiences around the world. Kirsty will also look at the language and portrayal of class used by Scotland’s creative artists, those of which sparked a literary renaissance; assessing how writers influenced the perception of their country as well as its history.

Daniel Clarke, commissioning editor for factual at Radio 4, says: ‘What excites me about this series is that as well as examining Scotland’s incredible literary history, and its vibrant literary present, Kirsty explores the central role that books have played in shaping Scottish identity, and perceptions of Scotland, right through to the present day.’

With contributions from writers such as Andrew O’Hagan, AL Kennedy, Val McDermid, Meg Bateman, Ian Rankin, Jenni Fagan and Jackie Kay, Kirsty unravels the connections that link today’s writing to that of Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott.

Written In Scotland will broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Thursdays from 24 June – 15 July at 11.30am.

The series will also be available on BBC Sounds.