A World First for Scots Language


Language is one of our greatest treasures. It is a great pity in my view that some languages are dying out, because that means that the richness and the variety of human life are diminished. Every language has something to offer – a way of looking at the world, a story to tell about a particular group of people, a stock of poetry and song. The disappearance of a language is like the silencing of some lovely bird.

I have long admired the Scots language and I admire people who are determined that we should not forget how to speak and read Scots…’                 

Alexander McCall Smith

 On Thursday 25th February 2010 Itchy Coo, the award-winning publisher of books in Scots, will publish Precious and the Puggies by Alexander McCall Smith. Precious and the Puggies is an exciting, brand new story featuring Botswana’s Precious Ramotswe. It has been specially written by Alexander McCall Smith for Itchy Coo and will be available only in Scots in its first year of publication.


Alexander McCall Smith’s bestselling series featuring the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency has been translated into more than 45 languages, but he describes the fact that Precious Ramotswe’s latest adventure is appearing in Scots, as the ‘icing on the cake’. Written with younger readers in mind, and focusing on the eight year old Precious Ramotswe’s very first case, Precious and the Puggies has been translated into Scots by author and Itchy Coo editor James Robertson. The award-winning illustrator, Iain McIntosh, has provided stunning illustrations for the book. 


James Robertson said:  ‘Alexander McCall Smith is not alone in the deep affection he feels for Scots, a language used on a daily basis by hundreds of thousands of people. It is one of Scotland’s most valuable assets and this book, along with the popularity of Itchy Coo’s other titles, demonstrates its vitality and our determination that it should flourish in today’s world.’


Dr Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, said: ‘Here is another wonderful coup for Itchy Coo, one of the most remarkable phenomena in Scottish publishing of recent times that has revolutionised attitudes towards the Scots language and proved it to be an expressive medium of infinite creative possibility – and indeed, universal relevance and appeal. This glorious partnership between Itchy Coo and the unique Alexander McCall Smith will prove that Scots is indeed Precious!’


Precious and the Puggies is published at £9.99 in hardback on 25th February 2010 by Itchy Coo: www.itchy-coo.com


Alexander McCall Smith will be signing copies of Precious and the Puggies at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, between 4pm and 5pm on Thursday 25th February.




For further information and requests for interviews please contact:

Alison McBride at Black & White Publishing

Tel: 0131 625 4500    E: ali@blackandwhitepublishing.com




Itchy Coo is an imprint of Black & White Publishing, the independently owned publishing house based in Edinburgh. After an initial grant from the National Lottery in 2002, the Scottish Arts Council has continued to fund Itchy Coo’s book publishing and schools outreach programmes.


Alexander McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe and educated there and in Scotland. He has written more than 60 books for children and adults, including the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. He lives in Edinburgh.


James Robertson is general editor of, and a contributing author to, the Itchy Coo imprint. His books include Scots translations of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox (The Sleekit Mr Tod), and his new novel for adults, And the Land Lay Still, will be published later this year. He lives in Angus.


Iain McIntosh’s illustrations have appeared in award-winning design, advertising and publishing. He has illustrated many of Alexander McCall Smith’s books. He lives in Edinburgh.

Contact: Alison McBride
Phone: 0131 625 4500
Email: ali@blackandwhitepublishing.com
Website: http://www.itchy-coo.com