As the host of the ‘largest public celebration of the written word in the world’, drawing thousands of visitors every year, it’s no surprise that Edinburgh is known throughout Britain as the City of Literature.
The celebration isn’t limited to the International Book Festival, however, with hundreds of exciting events featuring new and esteemed authors and workshops taking place all year round. With Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) day only a couple of days away, on November 13, the next month is even more busy than usual, jam packed with themed events celebrating the life and works of one of Scotland’s greatest writers.
If you’re interested in a visual exploration, join The Writers’ Museum’s award winning history group on RLS day for a special performance to commemorate the occasion. Watch Edinburgh Living History get inside the mind of the great novelist, exploring the characterisation of his most famous works and bringing his beloved characters to life before you.
Alternatively, pop on down to the National Library of Scotland on the same day to experience the library’s extensive collection of Stevenson’s works, on display in the main foyer as part of the annual commemoration. The main foyer is free to access, with no membership required, from 10am to 5pm.
If you’re looking to take inspiration from Stevenson in regards to your own writing, head along to ‘Writing Your Story, Writing History’, where RLS Fellows Chris Dolan and J. David Simmons will be teaching a master class in writing narratives from the past. Taking place on RLS day from 1.30pm to 4pm at the Scottish National Gallery, Dolan and Simmons will instruct in writing through actual historical figures and events or through personal histories and memoirs.
For an idle yet informative afternoon, enjoy a selection of afternoon tea and cakes at 17 Heriot Row, the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, followed by a drawing-room entertainment – a performance of Stevenson’s essay An Apology for Idlers, and conversation on the topic between world authorities Robert-Louis Abrahamson and Richard Dury.
Stretch your legs by participating in an easy seven kilometre walk from The Hawes Inn, South Queensferry, to The Corstorphine at the statue of David Balfour and Alan Breck. The walk will follow in Stevenson’s footsteps along past Dalmeny house and into Edinburgh, providing the opportunity to both enjoy a leisurely stroll along quiet paths and find out more about Robert Louis Stevenson.
From our own University, on Wednesday November 17, enjoy a selection of travel fiction and poems documenting both Stevenson’s travels and those undertaken by the characters in his works. With discussions including why travel was such an important plot device to Stevenson, and the role that traveller themes played in his works, the talk – delivered by Edinburgh University students and staff – is sure to be informative and fascinating.