Author Val McDermid to take part in Book Week Scotland’s first virtual festival

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Book Week Scotland is launching its first virtual festival this year, with the First Minister and crime writer Val McDermid among those taking part.

The festival will feature free digital events and will run alongside the activities and events taking place around the country between November 27 and December 3.

The Virtual Festival will begin with Crime Writers Play Cluedo on Monday November 27, where bestselling authors Ms McDermid, Stuart MacBride and Doug Johnstone will pit their knowledge of the criminal mind against each other and discuss their own plots and favourite whodunits.

On the evening of Tuesday November 28 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will take part in a live Twitter Q&A about her love of reading.

Members of the public can submit their questions via Book Week Scotland’s @BookWeekScot Twitter account.

Other events include a cook-along with The Edinburgh Food Studio as chef and co-owner Ben Reade creates a three-course meal inspired by Scottish literature on November 29, and Storey Street author Phil Earle’s event for P4 – S1 students on November 28 which will be broadcast live across the UK as part of BBC Authors Live.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of Scottish Book Trust, said: “We’re delighted to add a digital strand to this year’s Book Week Scotland, and we have a fantastic line-up of authors and well-known personalities.

“Fitting perfectly with this year’s theme of Nourish, there is a feast of virtual events that are sure to cater to any palate. We hope to spread the celebration of Book Week Scotland through the power of social media and reach an even wider audience.”

Other events include a Poetry Slam, programmed by Edinburgh City of Literature, on November 28, while on November 30 people can tune in to BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth Show to find out Scotland’s favourite song inspired by a book, while on December 1, book vloggers Jean Menzies, Simon Savidge and Jen Campbell will compete in an unboxing game where they will be given three sets of clues and must piece them together to guess the famous books, for points.

People will be encouraged to tweet a picture of their bookshelf in a #BookWeekScotShelfie on December 2 for a chance to win prizes while at 3pm that day there will be a Facebook Live broadcast with author Bernard MacLaverty from Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.

Finally, on December 3, festival organisers will encourage readers to switch off the internet and simply enjoy reading a good book.

Book Week Scotland is now in its sixth year and is run by national charity the Scottish Book Trust.

Alan Bett, literature officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Digital channels, from streaming to social media, are opening up access to literature for an ever-expanding audience and Creative Scotland is pleased to support Book Week Scotland’s first ever Virtual Festival.

“The range of events on offer – from bestselling authors to vloggers and streamed poetry slams – is enabling audiences from across Scotland and beyond to not only experience and enjoy live literature, but to actively participate.

“Scottish Book Trust aims to change lives through reading and writing, and this welcome digital addition to their highly successful Book Week Scotland programme allows the magic of books to enter into a broader spectrum of Scottish lives.”