44 Scotland Street

On Monday the Scotsman will begin publishing a novel in daily episodes called 44 Scotland Street. The idea sprouted from a chance meeting with Armistead Maupin (whose weekly column in the SF Chronicle led to the much loved (by me anyway) Tales of the City series. Welcome to 44 Scotland Street.

The idea of a serial novel is not new. Much of the literature of the 19th century was published in weekly magazines and newspapers. McCall Smith is in good company: Dickens, Tolstoy, Henry James and Balzac were all proponents of the form. In the US, Armistead Maupin's Tales Of The City were published in weekly instalments in the San Francisco Chronicle and Stephen King has published serially on the internet. Where McCall Smith breaks new ground is in publishing daily.

It was a chance meeting with Maupin at a party thrown for McCall Smith in San Francisco by the celebrity author Amy Tan that started the chain of events which led to Scotland Street.

"I subsequently mentioned in an article that it was a pity newspapers here didn't do serial novels and that is when the proposal came from The Scotsman," he says. "I thought it was rather a good idea. Over lunch I said it was quite a tall order to do a weekly instalment which is when they said: "Actually, we'd like it daily."

I've never read any Alexander McCall Smith so this will be an interesting introduction. Plaudits to the Scotsman for trying it out, I like the idea.

Posted by Paul at January 24, 2004 10:06 AM |

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