This Book Event has already taken place - but you can watch the replay if you missed it

The Pleasures of Reading with Val McDermid

Book Week Scotland

WithVal McDermid
In conversation withPhilippa Cochrane

At: The Portobello Bookshop

On:16th November 2023, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

The Pleasures of Reading with Val McDermid at The Portobello Bookshop

What happens when we read? What is it that we get from losing ourselves in a novel?  Does reading actually improve our wellbeing? 

Join Val McDermid for this special event for Book Week Scotland, as she explores the impact that being a reader has had on her life through sharing some of her favourite books.  She will be in conversation with Philippa Cochrane who is the Head of Reading Communities at Scottish Book Trust. We will also be joined by Dr Sarah McGeown from the University of Edinburgh who will share some of the insights from the ongoing Reading and Wellbeing research project.

Attendees can join the event in person at the bookshop or online through the livestream. After the event Val McDermid will be signing her new Karen Pirie novel, Past Lying.

Please note: Tickets for our events are non-refundable. Professional photography and videography may take place during this event. Thank you for your understanding.


Val McDermid Author

Val McDermid is a number one bestseller whose novels have been translated into forty languages, and have sold over nineteen million copies. She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009, was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2010 and received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award in 2011. In 2016, Val received the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and in 2017 received the DIVA Literary Prize for Crime, and was elected a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Val has served as a judge for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize, and was Chair of the Wellcome Book Prize in 2017. She is the recipient of seven honorary doctorates, is an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford and a Professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand. She writes full time and divides her time between Edinburgh and East Neuk of Fife.

Philippa Cochrane Chair

The venue

The Portobello Bookshop

46 Portobello High Street
EH15 1DA

Telephone: 0131 629 6756


Wheelchair Access

We have a ramp at the front of the shop which has a ratio of 1:10 and loading capacity of 300kg, and so should be able to be used by most wheelchair users or those with mobility vehicles. The front doors are fully automated. Our shop interior is designed to allow access throughout for wheelchair users and prams, though please note there is only 700mm wide clearance to access the staff toilet.


We use a PA system to enhance the audio at our live events. We also have a hearing loop system installed, if you’d like to use our loop system during an event please let us know and we’ll make sure we have it set up and connected to the live audio feed during the event. If you wish to attend an event and require BSL interpretation, please give us a few weeks notice and we’ll do our best to arrange an interpreter.