Edinburgh author Lesley Kelly’s pandemic crime thriller series has been launched in braille for blind and partially sighted readers.
The ‘Health of Strangers’ crime fiction series, set in an alternative Edinburgh struck by a deadly virus, was penned prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2016-2020.
The four novels follow the investigations of the North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team as they fight to contain a spreading virus, encountering mystery, murder and corruption along the way.
Partnering with the Scottish Braille Press, based in Edinburgh, to produce all the ‘Health of Strangers’ titles in braille, Lesley is delighted that the series will now be even more accessible for blind and partially sighted crime fiction fans who read braille.
Lesley, who is based in Edinburgh and whose first novel, A Fine House in Trinity, was longlisted for the William McIlvanney Prize, said: “I am thrilled that my books are being published in braille for blind and partially sighted readers.
“The series is based on my work experiences in emergency planning, and accurately predicted a number of pandemic issues, including vaccine passports, hoarding, and debates about civil liberties. It also deals with isolation, which may reflect some of the experiences of blind and partially sighted people during lockdown.
“Reading has been a comfort to many people during Covid, and we’ve seen a huge interest in books with contagion themes, from Camus’s The Plague, to Scotland’s own Louise Welsh with her trilogy of virus novels. I hope braille readers enjoy my contribution to pandemic literature.”
The real-life Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted and compounded the challenges many blind and partially sighted people face in the community, with many experiencing additional challenges such as difficulties with being able to adhere to social distancing and increased social isolation.
Easy and reliable access to accessible formats, including more literature and information available in braille, audio and large print, is essential to ensure blind and partially sighted people have equal access to important information, as well as the joy of reading for pleasure.
The Scottish Braille Press, which is run by sight loss charity Sight Scotland, is a leading provider of accessible media for businesses and individuals and has been producing accessible formats for over 125 years.
Mark O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Sight Scotland, said: “We are so grateful to Lesley Kelly and Sandstone Press for allowing the Scottish Braille Press to transcribe and publish Lesley’s Health of Strangers series in braille, enabling us to give braille readers access to Lesley’s fantastic crime thriller series. It is extremely important for equality, inclusion and personal security that accessible formats, including braille, are easily and readily available to people who require them.”
The Health of Strangers series braille editions are available to buy online at Sightscotland.org.uk through Sight Scotland’s Braille Bookshop, or call 0131 662 4445 to order.
The Health of Strangers series:
- Order a copy of The Health of Strangers (Book 1) in braille here.
- Order a copy of Songs by Dead Girls (Book 2) in braille here.
- Order a copy of Death at the Plague Museum (Book 3) in braille here.
- Order a copy of Murder at the Music Factory (Book 4) in braille here.
Lesley Kelly, author
Lesley Kelly has worked in the public and voluntary sectors for the past twenty years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way. She has won a number of writing competitions, including The Scotsman's Short Story award in 2008.
Her first novel, A Fine House in Trinity, was published by Sandstone Press in 2016, and was longlisted for the William McIlvanney Prize.
Her Health of Strangers series is published by Sandstone Press. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two sons.