Follow Val’s message from the skies this New Year

Val McDermid (Pic: George McLuskie)
Val McDermid (Pic: George McLuskie)

Kirkcaldy author Val McDermid will play a key role in the Hogmanay celebrations taking place in Edinburgh.

Val has teamed up with three young writers to give them the opportunity to have their work showcased in a unique event.

The award-winning author is penning a short story that will be told in chapters projected on to Edinburgh’s buildings and landmarks as part of the city’s New Year celebrations.

‘Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’ launched a writing competition earlier this year, calling for aspiring young writers to create their own short story inspired by Auld Reekie – the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.

Three stories were selected last month to appear alongside a new work by Val in ‘Message from the Skies’.

The winners are Lucy Hutcheon (11), who was the Primary School winner, the S1-S3 winner is Maisie Dalton (12), whilst in the S4-S6 category, the winner was chosen as Gemma Glover aged 16.

Val has been commissioned to pen the short story which has been inspired by a line from Robert Burns’ poem ‘Sketch New Year’s Day. To Mrs Dunlop’ which was written in 1790,

Launching at dusk on New Year’s Day 2018, it will run until Burns Night on January 25.

Val is collaborating with Philip Howard, director and dramaturg, from theatre company Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based architectural projection mapping specialists Double Take Projections, and three of Scotland’s finest composers and sound designers; Michael John McCarthy, Pippa Murphy and RJ McConnell who will all combine to bring the story to life.

The project creates a new walking tour via an app to lead visitors through Edinburgh’s iconic streets, which have inspired some of the world’s finest authors over the centuries – from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson to JK Rowling and Muriel Spark.

From January 2, for one hour from 4pm, ahead of the main presentation of New Year’s Resurrection, a new short story by one of the young winners will also be projected onto a number of Edinburgh’s iconic buildings.

New Year’s Day also marks the beginning of the Year of Young People 2018.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s young writing competition for Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife and Falkirk will be adjudicated by Ali Bowden, director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Janet Smyth, children and education programme director, Edinburgh International Book Festival and the competition has been given Val’s full approval.

She said: “A good story is like a three-legged stool. It depends on character, it depends on setting and it depends on the plot.

“You’ve got these three elements, keep them in balance and it won’t fall over.”

She added, “If you’re stuck for what to write get off your bum, get out the door and get writing.”

The Hogmanay project will mark the end of a busy and memorable for Val who released her latest novel ‘Insidious Intent’ in the summer, featuring two of her best known characters, Carol Jordan and Tony Hill.

She also stepped down from her role as a director at her beloved Raith Rovers, citing her increasing professional commitments as the primary reason.

However she confirmed her stand sponsorship and shirt sponsorship will continue into the future saying: “I will always support Raith Rovers in any way I can but from the terraces, rather than the directors’ box.”

Also, her radio play ‘Resistance’ has been selected as contender for BBC Audio Drama Awards 2018 with the winner to be announced on January 4.