THE WORLD'S TOP Authors Scotland - Val McDermid ANNIVERSARY Issue 201314







Val McDermid




The author of crime novels, Val McDermid is known as the “queen of the psychological thriller.”  She grew up in Kirkcaldy in the heart of the coalfields of Scotland, and at the age of 17 was accepted to study English at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, becoming one of the youngest undergraduates ever to do so.  Although she always wanted to be a writer, she believed she would not be able to earn a living that way, and hence became a journalist.  Training in Devon, she won a number of awards, including Trainee Journalist of the Year.  She went on to work on national newspapers in Glasgow and Manchester, and then as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid.


When Ms. McDermid’s first novel was rejected by every publisher to whom it was submitted, an actor friend of hers suggested that it would make a good play, which was ultimately accepted as part of a season of new plays by new writers at the Plymouth Theatre Company.  The play, Like a Happy Ending, was later adapted for BBC Radio.


In addition to stand-alone novels, Ms. McDermid has published three series of crime novels.  Her success began with the first book in the Lindsay Gordon crime series, Report for Murder, about a Scottish lesbian journalist.  In the Kate Brannigan series, she writes about private investigation.  The final series, featuring psychologist Tony Hill, is the basis for the TV series Wire in the Blood.  Her only non-fiction work, entitled A Suitable Job for a Woman, is based on interviews with female private detectives.


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