The following oral question was answered in the Scottish Parliament on 7 January 2010.
Aileen Campbell (South of Scotland) (SNP): Is the cabinet secretary aware of a project that Napier University runs, which allows third-year publishing students to manage the whole process of publishing and printing new editions of Scottish classics that are out of copyright? This year’s project is James Hogg’s “The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner”. The books are given free to secondary schools, so that great Scottish literature is made more widely available to pupils. Does the cabinet secretary agree that this virtuous and simple project is worthy of recognition and will he join me in congratulating the Napier students who are doing their bit to keep Scottish literature alive?
Michael Russell: Very much so. I am always keen to see writers’ works being distributed as widely as possible, although given that the project that the member mentioned does that for free, as a working writer I am glad that it deals with works that are out of copyright rather than in copyright.
The “Memoirs and Confessions” is one of the three great unfilmed books in Scotland, the others being “Annals of the Parish” and “The Cone-gatherers”. If it is read by a much wider audience in Scotland, there will be a much better understanding of our dual nature in Scotland.