How much do you love being a writer in Edinburgh?

City of everywhere, broken necklace in the sun, you are caves of guilt, you are pinnacles of jubilation

Norman MacCaig

It’s impossible to live in Edinburgh unaware that you’re breathing air steeped in literary glory, whether it’s the recent re-decoration of Waverley Station as a treasure trove of quotations from Sir Walter Scott, the annual literary pilgrimage that is the International Book Festival at Charlotte Square, the smiling hordes of tourists heading to get their Harry Potter fix at the Elephant House or following in Rebus’ footsteps to the Oxford Bar. Emerging writers cluster with notebooks and laptops in all the trendy cafes, independent bookshops are hanging on in the face of the Amazon.com revolution, and of course there’s the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library, the Storytelling Centre, the Traverse, and The Writer’s Museum (to name but a few).

Which brings me back to my titular question; how much do you love being a writer in Edinburgh? On Wednesday morning myself and Jemma Neville will be doing a whistle-stop 20 minute tour of some of our literary highlights, live-streamed as part of the Digital Writer’s Festival and supported by the lovely folk over at Edinburgh City of Literature. The tour will start at 10:30am on Middle Meadow Walk and end at 10:50 at Makar’s Court. You can follow the tour online (#dwf15), or if you fancy stationing yourself along the way then let me know and we’d love people to join in & read literary quotes for us as we dash past.

Our route will take us past Looking Glass Books, Greyfriar’s Bobby, The Elephant House, the National Library for Scotland, The Royal Mile and to the wordy joy of Makars Court: if you’ve written something (very short) about one of those places that you’d like to read for us then please get in touch as the more the merrier: leave a comment on this post or tweet your words to us (@ViccyIsWriting   @EdinCityofLit   @JemmaTweets).

Of course, 20 minutes is nowhere near enough time to cover everything Jemma and myself love about being writers in Edinburgh. We can’t go everywhere (those teleportation devices weren’t delivered in time) but we can try to namecheck as many of other peoples’ favourite literary haunts, hangouts and random facts as possible as we dash through the streets. Let us know which yours are and we’ll try to fit them in!

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2 thoughts on “How much do you love being a writer in Edinburgh?

  1. Hi Viccy

    Sounds fun. As you pass it, could you please give a shout out to the Uni of Embra Main Library – a place where generations of students have done a lot of reading and a fair bit of writing? Not to mention copious amounts of coffee drinking and sorting out the world.

    Despite what your parents and our Uni friends might tell you about my time at said Uni I did go to the George Square reference rooms and stacks on the odd rare occasion. To be fair, I usually preferred not to go very much to the Law Library or the Union one instead.

    One of the joys of visiting Sir Basil’s building was the graffiti in the toilets. They were my generation’s chat rooms and our Twitter. There was the party animals’ one where many interesting offers were made. Next door was the Dialectical Materialism one where the International Marxist Group struggled with the International Socialists and the Broad Left Communist Party of Great Britain to define the forthcoming revolution.

    My favourite was the pretentious cubicle where we left what we thought were clever remarks. I still blush to remember that my 18 year old self believed that ‘Try transubstantiation for a change’ and ‘The concept of lebensraum is gaining ground’ were fit contributions for that particular wall.

    I hope it all goes well tomorrow.

    Cheers

    Rory

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  2. Thanks Rory! Both my parents claim to have been frequent visitors to the library cafe in order to gossip and I have every faith my mother may also have done some work while she was there… Love the idea that the toilets were the Twitter of the day – that my explain why it’s called a ‘Facebook Wall’ too…

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