World Book Night is coming up on 23 April, and it is good to see that one of the classics of Scottish literature has made it to the list – Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
I’ve been re-reading Stevenson’s adventure for the first time in years, and while the famous elements and characters are as familiar and vivid as ever, I was reminded of the author’s clever way with a plot and atmosphere. I am sure we all remember Jim Hawkins working at the Admiral Benbow inn and the various salty characters who turn up there – and we definitely remember Long John Silver, complete with leg and parrot, a figure who has lingered in the popular imagination far beyond the pages of the book.
Stevenson started Treasure Island during a wet August holiday in Braemar, ostensibly as an entertainment for his step-son, and the first chapters were published before the novel was finished. It has remained a favourite ever since in a variety of forms– so many famous illustrated editions, so many adaptations, so many sequels.
World Book Night gives us another opportunity to read Stevenson’s peerless adventure, and there’s a chance to hear more about the book and its author at our Treasure Island event, here at the National Library of Scotland, on 23 April.