Writing & Publishing: The Road to Independence

Writing & Publishing: The Road to Independence

A photograph of Professor Murray Pittock and Alex Salmond in front of the Scottish flagProfessor Murray Pittock’s, The Road to Independence: Scotland Since the Sixties, was first published by Reaction Books in 2008. So timely was the book in its relevance to Scottish and European politics that a Catalan edition, El camí cap a la independencia, was also published, with a foreword by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Murray became a regular contributor to high-level debates about Scottish independence in the press and media, and was engaged as a participant on governmental advisory groups. He convened the National Champions Group for Scottish Studies in 2011-13. Following the Scottish National Party’s success in the 2011 Scottish Parliament Elections, the movement towards the Referendum of 18th September 2014 and, indeed, the book’s previous success, a comprehensively rewritten study was published in 2014: The Road to Independence?: Scotland in the Balance. The Daily Telegraph rated the book one of five must reads on independence and Bella Caledonia included it in a list of the best 24 books on Scottish nationality in the last century.

The argument of the book was summarized in the Radio 4 series The Roots of Scottish Nationalism, which had an aggregate audience of 6.25 million across its 5 episodes and an audience rating of 81%; The Week also published a condensed briefing on the Referendum taken from the book, Independence for Scotland? The book was launched in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast: in the last location, it was No. 1 Northern Ireland political story on the day and No. 1 NI political story on Twitter. Throughout 2014, Murray commented for government and other agencies on documents and speeches before release, and presented on the Scottish brand and its export markets at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh in August and elsewhere, as well as twice briefing Russell Group communications directors on the Scottish situation. The book’s ideas received media coverage in the UK, US, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, Ireland, al-Jazeera, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey in outlets from the Financial Times to Nature, and Murray appeared live on Russia Today from Moscow at 7pm on the day after the Referendum, generating in all around 160 media and 260 social media appearances with c6300 YouTube video views.

In April 2014, Murray visited the Keogh-Naughton Centre for Irish Studies at Notre Dame to participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on ‘The Public Sphere in the Four Nations’, being cited as ‘Scotland’s leading public intellectual’.

Prof Murray Pittock

To learn more about this project or to discuss developing a partnership with the College of Arts please contact Dr Fraser Rowan the College of Arts Business Development manager by email or phone (0141 330 3885).

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