The Thirty-Nine Steps’ centenary marked

John Buchan, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps
John Buchan, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps
Share this article
Have your say

THE National Library of Scotland has unveiled a new celebration of one of the nation’s most iconic and influential novels to mark its 100th anniversary.

The Thirty-Nine Steps was written by Perth-born author John Buchan as a distraction while recovering from illness.

His spy thriller - which featured hero Richard Hannay as a classic “man-on-the-run” would go on to inspire a string of film, TV and radio adaptations, and even a new stage comedy.

Visitors to the library in Edinburgh can explore how Buchan’s book influenced the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, who created the first big-screen version in 1935, and Ian Fleming, who is said to have drawn inspiration for James Bond from Hannay.

Highlights of the library’s displays include a typewritten script from Hitchcock’s film, rare editions of Buchan’s book, and letters from the author to his publishers.

Andrew Martin, curator for literature and the arts at the library, said: “Buchan went on to write better novels, but the original tale of a man on the run from dark forces remains his most famous and has been hugely influential.

“Thriller writing has become big business but very few, if any, of today’s books can ever hope to achieve the lasting appeal of The Thirty-Nine Steps.”