Scottish author to visit University for The Big Read

Scottish author to visit University for The Big Read

An initiative to help first year students in the College of Arts and Social Sciences find shared interests is running once again at the University of Aberdeen.

The Big Read, which was launched by the College of Arts and Social Sciences in 2012, sees all first year students in the College being given a copy of a selected book. The project aims to help new students find a common interest by being able to share their thoughts and interpretations of the chosen text.

This year’s book was chosen by a panel of staff and students from the College of Arts and Social Sciences. Based on a historical court case where Knight challenged his status as a slave when taken to Scotland by his owner James Wedderburn, Joseph Knight by award winning author James Robertson was chosen because it deals with topics that are relevant for many of the areas taught in the College.

 Professor Alison Lumsden, College Director of Teaching and Learning, said: “The novel is ideal for our students since it raises questions about the nature of the past to the present, ethics and social justice that are clearly relevant for our own times.”

As part of Big Read 2013, the University will host a series of both student and public events on Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7, including a visit from James Robertson, the author of this year’s chosen book. 

On Wednesday, November 6, Robertson will sign copies of his work at Blackwell’s University Bookshop on the High Street from 5.30pm – 7pm.  The following evening, King’s College Conference Centre will be the venue for An Interview with James Robertson from 6.30pm – 7.30 pm.  Both these events are open to members of the public as well as University students and staff.  Members of the public can register for this event at  For more information or if you have booking problems, please contact or call 01224 273726.

James Robertson, who also penned the award-winning novels The Fanatic and And the Land Lay Still, is one of the most prolific authors in Scottish literature today.

He said: “I am very pleased to be involved with the University of Aberdeen’s Big Read. It’s a brilliant way of engaging students from across disciplines, and I hope that my novel is not only an enjoyable read for them but also stimulates a lot of debate and discussion.”

Free copies of the book were handed out to College of Arts and Social Sciences students during Freshers Week. The book is still available to first year students and can be collected at the College Office at Powis Gate.

For more information about the Big Read, the novel, and the dates, times and venues of the events, please visit: