Literary Edinburgh, with Alexander McCall Smith and Gillian Robertson



mom I want to buy this one give someone a National Book token and who knows where they'll end up being an Edinburgh is is rather like being on an opera set it's it's so beautiful if you walked along the streets in the old town from for example you could well be on an operatic set it's so lovely so physically it's it's very beguiling City it's it's a city of great physical interest the different levels of which the Old Town is for example as absolutely fascinating you walk stairs and through little alleyways Evon Rosa city of character had still got a very distinctive character many cities in the world are becoming rather bland through globalization that the one place is becoming very much like the next place admiral still has that that rail character to it which is which is very nice it's a very particular character in in many parts of Edinburgh if you would put down in in parts of Edinburgh blindfold and then the blindfold taken off you couldn't really mistake where you are the streets the steps with the indentations where these feet have been there they're the the old sets or cobblestones they're all there as there's this lovely texture to the city you're very much aware of the past being just around the corner we've traditionally had a lot of big drops in I'm very much in favor of the small independent ones because I think they really keep alive the idea of contact between bookseller and and reader people go into bookstores wanting to have a recommendation perhaps as to what they might they might like and of course a good boot good bookshop owner will do precisely that we'll know what what the customers want the shop has been open for nine weeks so we're we're new and yes so far it's going go into the world we're fairly essential in the city but there is a real community here and we're already seeing that on the show we have you know regulars coming we have regular story times for children and we have evening events and book clubs and people are breaking in to use a space for their own good clubs and their own groups if books aren't physical then that sort of community has nothing to gather around really if workshops closed and libraries are you know struggling or being endangered then I think that you sort of lose a focus for that I think the bookshop can be a really natural focus for a community of readers the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Queen Street is one of the great galleries of Scotland it's a wonderful collection of portraits of people who've made Scotland what she is today and I love coming here just browsing amongst these faces of the past and indeed some of them of the present and you get a real sense of the feel of Scotland this particular bust the the Portrait Gallery very very kindly displays this bust which I just what I do recognize recognize it from the time sampath sat still for three days to to get this thing done by a wonderful than sculptress Evelyn and palaces and this is the this is the results it's a little bit embarrassing for me to come and face to face with my alter ego the the bronze society needs to speak walking up the stairs but I also use the Portrait Gallery as a setting for some of my a Berber novels is built on house II who's one of my Admiral characters often comes to the Portrait Gallery for coffee or meets people outside the Portrait Gallery I like having real locations within the city in the books it it adds to the realism and it also adds to the sense of enjoyment to the city for me that I'm able to incorporate it into my books in that way the written word has always been very important in in Scotland's life this followed on the creation of wonderful educational system after the Reformation the idea that there would have to be a school in every every parish and and every one body would be educated said so there was a very strong commitment to to the word and to education at an early stage in in Scottish history and so that obviously has had a cumulative effect and this great affection for for books and and and and literature traditionally in in Scotland we're very fortunate in in in Edinburgh that we do have probably more than our fair share of righteous living in the city for a city of this size and so that's that's a great good fortune and that means that there's there's a there's a good literary existence in the city we have a wonderful Book Festival which is I think the the largest and probably the most important Book Festival in the world today which is which is marvelous it it takes place at the same time as the Ed Murray International Festival and they have been refrig and so during August Edinburgh really becomes I suppose the cultural capital of the world really because there there are over 2,000 shows a day during the during the festival and that's just the festival and fringe there's an awful lot going going on thank you very much

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