Secret agents in spotlight for spy week

The intriguing world of espionage will take centre stage this month in a spy fiction festival organised by the University.

Screenings of classic spy films, a talk by former MI5 Director General Dame Stella Rimington, and a discussion on the work of much loved author John Buchan, all feature in Spy Week, which runs from Sunday 6 April - Saturday 12 April.

Best-selling spy author and University of Edinburgh alumna Dame Stella Rimington will present a lecture on the relationship between spy fiction and spy fact.

Enduring appeal

Spy film classics The 39 Steps, The Spy in Black and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold will be screened at the Edinburgh Film House, with introductions from authors and academics.

Dame Stella will also join a discussion on the enduring appeal of the spy novel. Also taking part will be Scots-born Charles Cumming, who studied English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2012; action thriller writer Tim Stevens; and Jeremy Duns, the creator of fictional British double agent Paul Dark.

Spy heroes

Scholars will reassess Scotland’s place in John Buchan’s spy stories. Buchan is best remembered for the creation of the spy character Richard Hannay, who featured in The Thirty- nine Steps and became the ultimate model for countless spy heroes after him, including James Bond.

The week has been organised in partnership with the Edinburgh Film House, The National Library of Scotland, and Blackwell’s Bookshop.

The world of espionage has not only provided authors with some of their most memorable plots but Spy fiction also confronts some of the ethical, cultural and historical events which have shaped the modern world. This inaugural Spy Week is an opportunity to celebrate and explore that work.

Professor Penny FieldingSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures said:


The events are taking place at various venues in Edinburgh, and are mostly free but ticketed.

Spy Week