Granite Noir: Exploring the shared heritage of Scotland and Bengal: Abir Mukherjee in Conversation with Nicola Sturgeon
Abir Mukherjee, the child of immigrants from India, was brought up in the West of Scotland. The FT calls his novels "taut historical crime fiction thriller(s) that also interrogate the Imperial legacy". He started writing "to explore that shared history between Britain and India which .. has made such a great impact on the country we live in and the values we share". In A Rising Man he introduced ex-Scotland Yard dectective Captain Sam Wyndham and 'Surrender-Not' Banerjee. Set in Calcutta in 1919, it was inspired by Mukherjee's desire to learn more about a crucial, but often overlooked period in Anglo-Indian history. It won the Harvill Secker/Daily Telegraph crime writing competition and was longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. Smoke and Ashes, moves the action to 1921. Wyndham is battling a serious opium addiction that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force. Summoned to investigate a grisly murder, he is stunned to recognise the victim, having stumbled across a corpse the previous night with the same ritualistic injuries. Unfortunately, the corpse was in an opium den. This event will be chaired by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. A voracious reader since childhood, Ms Sturgeon is well-known for her love of literature and is an advocate for reading. She established the First Minister’s Reading Challenge in 2016, to encourage children to pick up a book and expand their imagination, and her Saturday night Twitter feed is filled with recommendations from her weekly reading. She has described books as “amongst my very favourite things in life”, with crime fiction a favourite genre.