Edinburgh was the first UNESCO city of literature. It is certainly a place where people get involved with words, holding one if not the largest book festivals in the world. But it is also home to many authors, writers, poets,past and present. The city now has a literature quarter along the High Street, between the castle and the palace! Besides one of my favorite museums -the writer’s museum, there are new venues such as the Scottish book trust, the Scottish storytelling centre and the Scottish poetry library. There are 26 lending libraries as well as the national library, a repository for published works (as well as priceless manuscripts and volumes of early authors). There is also a wonderful array of bookstores!
Scotland has a long literary history from its parliament passing the first compulsory education law in 1496, publishing industry beginning in 1508, the amazing Scottish enlightenment, to its current literary status in the world. Edinburgh isn’t quite built on books, but it has always been filled with writers, as well as a destination spot for literary travelers.
I share two quotes that you might recognise:
“Did not such strong connections draw me elsewhere, I believe Scotland would be the Country I should chuse to spend the Remainder of my days in.” Benjamin Franklin on visiting Edinburgh
“It seemed as if the rock and castle assumed a new aspect every time I looked at them; and Arthurs Seat was perfect witchcraft. I don’t wonder that anyone residing in Edinburgh should write poetically.” Washington Irving.
They certainly write poetically about their whisky too. I will have much to talk about on our Celtic Evening celebration!