Umbrellas of Edinburgh anthology launch tonight

Umbrellas of Edinburgh anthology launches tonight at the Scottish Poetry Library, 6pm.

The nights are fair drawing in, NaNoWriMo is keeping everyone’s hands warmer than a pair of gloves with frantic daily scribbling, and Christmas decorations are jostling with leftover skeletons in the shops.

In a pre-cursor of excitement for Fireworks Weekend, Umbrellas of Edinburgh: poetry & prose inspired by Scotland’s capital city, launches tonight at the Scottish Poetry Library at 6pm. A map of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, drawn in words by over seventy contributors. Edited by Russell Jones & Claire Askew, published by Freight Books. The anthology is mainly poetry with a few select pieces in prose, including my Litlong competition winning piece, ‘People’s People’.

Come on a journey. We begin at Blackness Castle, Edinburgh Airport, the Bridges in the far west, then on to Dean Village and the National Gallery of Modern Art in the West End, via Murrayfield, Tynecastle and the Diggers pub. Next to the Cafe Royal, South Bridge, Nicolson Square in the centre, taking in the Scott Monument and Princes Street on the way. The Royal Mile and Cowgate make way for Morningside and the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill. These are just some of the unforgettable locations that inspire the poetry and occasional prose in Umbrellas of Edinburgh.

There’s also a second launch at Blackwell’s Bookshop on South Bridge at 6.30pm on Tuesday 15 November with more wine, cake and readings. Tickets for both events are free.

Join our writerly tour of Edinburgh: 10:30am GMT #DWF15

Only 24 hours to go until Jemma and I set off — armed with iPhones and enthusiasm — to do our 20 minute tour of the joys of being a writer in Edinburgh for the Digital Writers Festival in Melbourne, one of the sister UNESCO Cities of Literature.

We’ve got a couple of surprise guests lined up along our route to drop in some ‘fun facts’, read their work and extol the beauties of our city.

This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful, it breaks the heart again and again.

Alexander McCall Smith

Remember, you can watch our live broadcast from 10:30am GMT (21:30 AEDT for our friends in Melbourne) and join in on Twitter using #DWF15

Thank you Edinburgh Libraries for sending us this map of novels set along our route


And thank you to Prof Jon Oberlander of the University of Edinburgh for telling us about the Palimpsest project, which allows users to interact with layers of maps and accessible visualisations that explore our literary city at particular times in its history, in the works of particular authors, or across different eras, genres and writers.

Keep your Edinburgh literary favourites coming in — where do you like to write? Which bookstore keeps your supplied with reading fodder? Where in the city have you drawn on for inspiration?

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, Continue reading “How much do you love being a writer in Edinburgh?”

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