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Prize-winning poet & Edinburgh University Writer in Residence, Michael Pedersen talks to the former First Minister, and soon-to-be author, Nicola Sturgeon about the books that sustained her over her near decade-long service to Scotland.

The second half of the show will feature guest readings by, multi-prizewinning and best-selling authors, Val McDermid and Hollie McNish, plus a special appearance from Edinburgh's Makar Hannah Lavery.

  • Val McDermid: has sold circa 20 million books and been translated into over 40 languages, she is a true national treasure of literature.
  • Hollie McNish: is a Sunday Times best selling author, Ted Hughes Prize winner, and one of the most watched poets in the online world.
  • Andrés N. Ordorica (he/him): a queer Latinx writer based in Edinburgh who draws on his family’s immigrant history and his own third culture upbringing. (Andrés replaces Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery who is unfortunately unable to attend.)

Michael Pedersen says: "As one of Scotland’s best loved readers, Nicola Sturgeon has done a phenomenal amount for Scottish literature. She has championed and lionised authors, chaired some of the most salient literary events the country has hosted, and offered the public cherished insights into her reading appetites and passions. To hear first-hand which books, writers and events buoyed Nicola up during her time as First Minister will be an enthralling quest into a sublime literary mind. Think Desert Island Books with a slice of Damian Barr’s Big Scottish Book Club and a dash of Neu! Reekie! (for spice)."

Tickets are limited to two per person.

There will be an opportunity to purchase books and have them signed from a pop-up shop by Lighthouse Books. A closing bucket collection will be carried out in aid of the Super Power Agency, a Scotish charity getting young people excited about writing.

This is the third in the Writer in Residence’s series of shows following on from events with Jackie Kay, Irvine Welsh, Gemma Cairney and more.

Nicola Sturgeon is the MSP for Glasgow Southside constituency, and the former First Minister of Scotland – the longest-serving and first woman First Minister. Her "deeply personal and revealing" autobiography is to be published in 2025 by Pan Macmillan. 

Michael Pedersen is a Forward Prize shortlisted poet, winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship, Writer in Residence at The University of Edinburgh, and the author of the widely acclaimed books: 'Boy Friends' (Faber & Faber); 'The Cat Prince' (Little Brown): and 'Oyster' (Polygon).

Presented by Edinburgh University's Writer in Residence and The Queen's Hall

Michael Pedersen, a white man with curly dark hair, stands against a bright pink background with one arm leaning on the back and one on his hip. He wears dark trousers and a bright pint sweatshirt with a white image

A Life in Books: Nicola Sturgeon in-conversation with Michael Pedersen