Dundee Literary Festival hosts independence debate

Denise Mina is among those on the panel for the Dundee Literary Festival debate. Picture: Robert Perry

Denise Mina is among those on the panel for the Dundee Literary Festival debate. Picture: Robert Perry

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A PANEL of leading academics, writers and other creative professionals will explore the role of culture in the Scottish independence debate tomorrow night to officially launch this year’s Dundee Literary Festival.

The debate on Scotland’s identity, culture and sense of nationhood is being staged at the Bonar Hall in the city’s Park Place.

Those taking part include Saltire Society director Jim Tough, Scotsman book editor David Robinson, artist Calum Colvin, historian Professor Christopher Whatley, and writer Denise Mina.

A spokesman for Dundee University, the organisers of the annual festival, said: “This diverse range of speakers, writers and thinkers will present views often ignored by the mainstream media, and members of the audience will have their chance to have their say as well.”

The debate will launch a programme of almost 50 events over five days featuring the written word in all its forms from books on sports, crime, and poetry, to theatre, music, and knitting.

Anna Day, the festival’s director, said: “As Dundee bids to become the UK City of Culture in 2017, we are proud of the calibre of author who has chosen to come here and share their work and their words with us all.

“The arts have a major role to play in Scotland’s most important decision for 300 years and we are delighted to kick off the programme with a discussion about next year’s independence referendum. I am sure that a lively and passionate discussion will take place and stimulate further debate and encourage the audience to look at the issue with a fresh perspective.”

The authors appearing at the festival include Costa award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell who will be reading from her new book, “Instructions for a Heatwave”, Sarah Hall, named earlier this year named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, and award-winning author Patrick Ness whose “Chaos Walking” trilogy has just been optioned by Lionsgate Films.

Former Dundee United manager Tommy McLean will also be giving a talk about the triumphs and tragedies of his career and life away from football when he appears at the festival on Sunday, and a special event is also being staged to mark the 40th anniversary of Scottish publishers Canongate Books.

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