Scottish Book Trust has appointed crime writer Val McDermid as its new patron.
McDermid will support the charity to help inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through various programmes and outreach work.
The organisation helps teachers to inspire children to develop a passion for reading, through classroom activities, organising children’s book prizes, the First Minister's Reading Challenge and running author events throughout schools. For adults, the charity provides a digital storytelling programme which gathers stories and develops technological skills in adults while its reading programmes engages with socially isolated older people. The Trust also assists with bursaries, mentoring and professional development and works with teenagers to provide development opportunities.
Earlier this week it revealed the details of its second digital festival taking place later this month, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell lined up to take part.
Marc Lambert, the Trust's c.e.o., said: “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."
McDermid, described by the charity as a longtime supporter of its work, 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.”
McDermid has written more than 30 novels and has created characters such as journalist Lindsay Gordon; private investigator Kate Brannigan; and psychologist Tony Hill. Her fiction is published by Little, Brown and Sphere and in September it was revealed that Sphere non-fiction will publish My Scotland, by McDermid in collaboration with photographer Alan McCreadie, which the writer described as an insight into "a journey of memory as well as geography".
She was born in Fife, studied English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she was one of the youngest undergraduates ever to have been 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 before becoming an author.
Historical patrons of the charity also include authors such as Alexander McCall Smith and Julia Donaldson.