Some of Scotland’s finest crime writers are set to bring a slice of tartan noir to India. Val McDermid, Graeme Macrae Burnet and Abir Mukherjee will be championing contemporary Scottish crime fiction at the Kolkata Literary Festival, held inside the International Kolkata Book Fair, where they will launch Bloody Scotland, a thrilling anthology of dark Scottish tales, published for the first time in India and at a special price to hook the Indian market. Open Book on BBC Radio 4 will be recording interviews with the authors in Kolkata.
The activities are part of a project supported by the British Council to help Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s international crime writing festival, reach international audiences and grow the global reach of Scotland’s celebrated crime writing scene.
The anthology features 12 stories from a stellar cast of Scottish writing talent, including Lin Anderson, Ann Cleeves and Denise Mina. Rights were sold to Kolkata-based publisher BEE Books by Edinburgh-based Historic Environment Scotland. The book will also be published in the US by Pegasus.
The visit to Kolkata is the culmination of a partnership between Bloody Scotland, BEE Books, and Publishers and Booksellers Guild, which aims to make popular Scottish crime titles available to readers in India at a competitive price. In addition to the new anthology, two other works are in the pipeline for publication by BEE Books: The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau and The Accident on the A35, both by Graeme Macrae Burnet.
Speaking ahead of the visit, which takes place from 7–14 February, Bloody Scotland Chair Jenny Brown, said: “We’re delighted to be working with BEE Books on this innovative partnership to introduce Indian readers to Scottish crime fiction by bringing writers to the Kolkata Literary Festival, and by making their work more accessible in Indian-published editions. We know from our visit to KLF last year that there is a huge appetite for Scottish classics including the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – now we want readers to try contemporary writing.”
Graeme Macrae Burnet commented "I'm completely thrilled to be travelling to Kolkata for the first time, particularly in the company of two such renowned writers as Val and Abir. It promises to be a very exciting and enlightening trip. And I'm particularly pleased that through the partnership with Bee Books, two of my novels will be made available to local audiences at an affordable price."
As a result of the British Council’s Momentum programme in 2016, when publisher Esha Chatterjee visited Scotland, Lin Anderson, Doug Johnstone and Jenny Brown were invited to Kolkata in 2017 to explore new opportunities for exchange between the writing scenes of both countries. Supported by the British Council and Creative Scotland, this visit proved instrumental in enabling the Bloody Scotland project to take root, and the Indian crime writer Monabi Mitra took part in the 2017 Bloody Scotland festival.
The project has also seen the creation of the Digital Writers’ Lab, an online platform connecting writers from both countries, where they have shared secrets on their approach to story-telling. Scottish writers featured so far include Mark Leggatt and Doug Johnstone. The Digital Writers Lab can be accessed at digitalwriterslab.in.
About Bloody Scotland
Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s crime writing festival, held annually over a weekend in the historic city of Stirling. It was founded in 2012 by two crime writers, Lin Anderson and Alex Gray, with the aim of celebrating Scottish crime writing, introducing international writers, showcasing debut voices, and encouraging new writing.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is the lead public body for Scotland’s historic environment, and publishes books which tell the stories of Scotland’s history and heritage. Follow this link for more on their involvement in the Bloody Scotland project: https://www.historicenvironment.scot/about-us/news/fiction-first-for-hes...
About BEE Books
BEE Books was started by Esha Chatterjee, who belongs to the fourth generation of publishing business in Kolkata. Since BEE Books’ inception in 2014, they have focussed on a variety of genres of books. The BEE Books title list includes translations of novels by Ranjan Bandopadhyay (Kadambari Devi’s Suicide Note), Sunil Gangopadhyay (Black Waters Jail), Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (Eye of the Eagle), contemporary thrillers by esteemed actor, Barun Chanda (Coke), debutante author Shruti Upadhaya (White Noise) and two contest-based anthology of short stories (Tales to Tell; Tales to Tell – Romance).
About Publishers and Booksellers Guild
Publishers & Booksellers Guild, Kolkata was formed in 1975 with the principal objective of promoting reading habits among the public and to extend help to the publishers and booksellers. It is associated with a myriad of promotional activities, ranging from organizing book fairs to offering academic programmes in book publishing.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.