Nicola Sturgeon to reveal her favourite books as part of national celebration of reading

Nicola Sturgeon is to reveal her favourite books as part of Scotland’s annual reading celebration.

Nicola Sturgeon is among those taking part in the digital incarnation of the annual Book Week Scotland celebration. Picture: Andy Buchanan / Getty Images

The First Minister will choose a personal selection from her own bookshelves for Book Week Scotland in November.

Members of the public will be urged to share photographs of their own bookshelves using the #BookShelfChat hashtag during the online event, which will be broadcast on 17 November.

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Normally staged across hundreds of events, this year it is being turned into a digital festival, which is being staged in the absence of any live events due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions in place around the country.

Ruby Wax will be in conversation with Danish historian Rutger Bregman as part of Book Week Scotland.

Among those also taking part in the festival will be crime writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove, playwright and performer Hannah Lavery, actress Gerda Stevenson and writer Lesley Riddoch.

Highlights will include author Peter May on his crime thriller that predicted a global pandemic, crime writer Denise Mina in conversation with true crime podcasters Suruthi Bala and Hannah Maguire, and a session with American comic Ruby Wax and Danish historian Rutger Bregman.

Other special events will explore Scotland’s connections with the Caribbean slave trade, 100 years of Agatha Christie, a new celebration of the 100 best Gaelic poems, and the true story behind the myths around notorious Edinburgh serial killers Burke and Hare.

As part of the festival, 50,000 copies of a free book featuring 30 real-life stories written this year on the theme of ‘future’ will be distributed to libraries and community centres around the country.

Author Denise Mina will be in conversation with true crime podcasters Suruthi Bala and Hannah Macguire. Picture: Neil Davidson

Digital events will be broadcast from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire during the festival, which runs from 16-22 November.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of Book Week Scotland, which is now in its ninth year, said: “Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Book Week Scotland will look different this year.

"However, we’re still excited to present a diverse and engaging programme with some of the biggest names in the Scottish literary scene and beyond. We hope everyone is able to take part this year in some form.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council, said: “The power of literature has never been more important than in 2020.

"While library buildings may have closed during lockdown, readers still managed to turn to books as a welcome escape from the pressures of the pandemic and we witnessed an unprecedented spike in downloads of our digital reading resources.

"As such, I’m sure there will be a big appetite for Book Week Scotland’s digital festival.

"Libraries across Scotland are enthusiastically planning online content. There are some terrific names in the programme and it will provide the perfect opportunity for people of all ages and interests to engage, learn and be inspired by the joy of reading.”

Vicky Adams, literature officer at national arts agency Creative Scotland, said: “Book Week Scotland connects people and communities across the country with the joys of reading for pleasure every year and sparks the imagination of the nation.

"In these difficult and uncertain times, this programme will help people access the solace and support that books bring into our lives and homes."

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