In Edinburgh, we are incredibly fortunate to have the deep-shelved stacks of the National Library of Scotland – filled with rare manuscripts and important publications from all ages – in an imposing building in the centre of the city. In happier, less restrictive times readers enjoy spoken word events in their august halls – queueing to enter, queuing for book signings, enjoying good company. During lockdown this traditional establishment has, it is fair to say, transformed their offering to the public, relaxing their presentation and frankly cleaning up where so many others have failed. They have put together an entertaining, professional programme of virtual events, introduced by informed staff members from their own homes. And they have reached out to readers right around the globe. Their 5pm start time attracts local readers, local viewers. It also attracts breakfast visitors from the other side of the world.
So prepare for something rather special as we welcome Spring… on 16 March 2021, transport yourself away from the couch and lift the spirits by tuning in to an hour of delightful conversation with the master of escapist writing, Alexander McCall Smith. Chaired by the BBC’s Serena Field, the best-selling author will celebrate World Poetry Day with a discussion of his new poetry collection, In a Time of Distance. He will also introduce his latest novel, a long-awaited return to the hilarious Professor Von Iglefeld series, Your Inner Hedgehog.