Val’s words set to form unique Hogmanay trail

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

Kirkcaldy author Val McDermid has been handed her most unique challenge to date - to pen a story that will take readers on a trail around Edinburgh.

Message From The Skies will form part of Edinburgh’s revamped Hogmanay celebrations.

It will feature a short story from the award-winning crime writer which will unfold via a series of light projections on buildings and landmarks across the capital.

The story, New Year’s Resurrection, will light up the city every night from January 1 until Burns Night.

McDermid will join team up with dramaturg, Philip Howard of Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based projection company, Double Take Projections, and some of Scotland’s best soundscape artists who will turn her words into a unique trail.

A special app is also being created to translate it into different languages to tap into the huge festive tourist market.

The text will make it accessible to people who are partially sighted.

McDermid, who is also appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival next month, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be involved with such a unique project that will showcase Edinburgh in surprising ways.

‘’For a writer, the challenge of trying something new is always exciting and Message from the Skies will be a demanding exercise of imagination and narrative technique.

‘’It’s going to be great fun!”

Message From the Skies - which takes it title from a line in Burns’ poem “Sketch New Year’s Day. To Mrs Dunlop” (1789) - aims to celebrate Edinburgh’s literary status and heritage.

Picking up on the proud literary tradition of writers such as Dickens, who serialised a book week by week, audiences will move from location to location to read the next part.

Each building or landmark will be its own chapter.

The route will be announced at a later date, and organisers say it can be done in one evening.

The project forms part of a new-look to the city’s 25th anniversary Hogmanay celerations which attract a huge number of Fifers.

The new creative team at the helm is planning a reboot of the huge street party and giving it a much earlier start to appeal to families.

Street performers, dancers, acrobats and fire-eaters will be introduced for the first time .

The fireworks display is being extended, the open-air ceilidh relocated from the Royal Mile to to St Andrews Square, and a first ever ‘Bairns Afore’ event added to appeal to youngsters and parents.

The organisers have also made major changes to the torchlight procession – which pulls in around 20,000 people.

The festival was handed to Edinburgh-based Underbelly to come up with a new-look for the landmark anniversary.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors, said: “We will work hard to ensure that the programme delivers something fresh and exciting every year to keep residents, UK visitors and international tourists flocking to this world famous Festival City through the winter months.’’