February is LGBT History Month and we are celebrating the LGBT Scottish writing perspective with a small display just outside the Reading Rooms in our George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh.
LGBT writing is especially vibrant in Scotland at the moment with many top sellers and prize winners. Recent National Library guest Val McDermid , Jackie Kay, Ali Smith, Louise Welsh, Zoe Strachan and the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy identify themselves proudly as both Scottish and LGBT. Less famous names are always to be found in the rich reading provided by literary magazines and anthologies.
The display concentrates on contemporary writing, but the past is, of course, to call up the words of L.P. Hartley, a foreign and often mysterious LGBT country. One of my favourite writers, Fred Urquhart, a master of short fiction who died in 1995, is especially worth re-reading – and he is back in print.
Here at the National Library of Scotland our status as a Legal Deposit library ensures that practically all new fiction, drama, and poetry published in the UK comes to our shelves fresh off the press, making it one of the best places in the country to study or simply enjoy LGBT writing. And we keep the books for all time, ready to be discovered in 2016… or 2116