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The university announced her appointment yesterday, saying her visiting role at Otago would run from from 2019 to 2021.
For each of the three years of her role, Prof McDermid will spend up to eight weeks a year in Dunedin, where she will be attached to the university's centre for Irish and Scottish studies.
Prof McDermid, who holds fellowships from the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, will be visiting professor of Scottish studies and crime fiction.
Her books have sold more than 15 million copies.
Irish and Scottish centre co-director Liam McIlvanney said the appointment was ``hugely exciting''.
``To have a writer of Val McDermid's eminence and experience attached to the centre over a sustained period will be of significant benefit to our students, our programmes and our whole institution.''
She will mentor postgraduate students in the Scottish studies and creative writing programmes, and will also contribute to undergraduate courses in Scottish studies, crime fiction and creative writing, as well as giving a number of public lectures and readings.
In a statement, Prof McDermid said she was ``delighted'' to be travelling to Otago.
She wrote the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, which was adapted for the television drama Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green.
She has won international crime fiction awards and her books have been translated into 40 languages.