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Val McDermid

Crime writer Val McDermid is interviewed by Kirsty Young.

The writer, Val McDermid, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Crime fiction is Val's chosen genre and the millions of novels she sells examine and dissect the darkest recesses of human behaviour. Domestic violence, murder, abduction - it's difficult to imagine a subject she'd shy away from. She once described herself as "A mixture of hard bitten cynical hack and Pollyanna".

Brought up in a secure home by parents who were very happily married, she was the first Scot from a state school to win a place at St Hilda's college, Oxford. She was just 16. After graduation she chose tabloid journalism as her trade and by all accounts fitted right in with the hard working, bolshy, boozing culture at the time.

She says "I think there are three elements to any literary career. You have to have a modicum of talent, you've got to work hard . and you've got to be lucky."

Producer: Isabel Sargent.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 19 Jul 2013 09:00

Music Played

  • Bruce Springsteen

    Dancing in the Dark

    • Bruce Springsteen - Greatest Hits.
    • Columbia.
  • Kenneth McKellar

    The Road and The Miles To Dundee

    • The Romantic Scotland of Kenneth McKellar.
    • Decca.
  • Elvis Costello


    • The Man.
    • IMP.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Johann Sebastian Bach

      Brandenburg No 6 - Allegro

      Performer: John Elliot Gardner

      • Bach Brandenburg concertos.
      • SDG.
  • Joni Mitchell

    Free Man In Paris

    • Dreamland.
    • Reprise.
  • Leonard Cohen

    Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye

    • The Essential Leonard Cohen.
    • Columbia.
  • Aretha Franklin

    I Say A Little Prayer

    • The Ultimate Soul Collection.
    • Warner.
  • Rab Noakes

    The Downtown Lights

    • Rab Noakes: Standing Up.
    • Media Art.
  • Book Choice

    • Complete Works - Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Luxury Choice

    • Solar-powered laptop used solely for playing games


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Val McDermid
Producer Isabel Sargent


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