If you go down to Leith Library tonight………you will find teddy bears sleeping there….among the books and with eyes wide open….except that teddy bears apparently get up to all sorts of nonsense during the night!
This is another brilliant idea from Leith Library’s Reader in Residence, Emily Dodd, and this is her lovely teddy bear in the photo. He has the original moniker, Bear, and is described as follows:-”He’s brilliant! He likes stories, games and climbing up things. He likes having his tummy tickled. He’s kind to smaller bears but gets scared of bigger bears. He doesn’t like loud noises. He loves music. He’s a little shy when meeting new bears. He loves cake.”
The twenty bears will belong to children aged 3 to 5 who have already booked them a bed for the night, and they will be collected tomorrow along with a free book for their owner.
The Edinburgh Reporter hopes they all have a lovely time – and that they behave themselves!
More on the Leith Library blog.
The Edinburgh Reporter loves the story of the mystery book sculptures. It is so wonderful that even in these times of social media, photos and instant sharing of news that there is someone in Edinburgh who makes these beautiful sculptures, but manages to remain anonymous.
The sculptures have given so many people so much pleasure, and are not just works of art in the decorative sense, they have much more intellectual depth to them. This is clearly the work of someone who really loves books and knows all about them.
Emily Dodd, the Reader in residence at Leith Library is another booklover. She seems to be the target for the newest sculpture as she was mentioned on the tag left with the bird’s nest.
You can read the full story on the Leith Library blog but we especially like this section:-
“Our sculpture seems to be a gift in support of what we’ve been doing to promote reading via social media and through the Scottish Book Trust Residency. Here’s what the Scottish Book Trust said about it:
“Scottish Book Trust is delighted that one of our Readers in Residence has received one of these amazing homages to literature. Emily puts her heart and soul into delivering innovative projects around reading at Leith Library, and as such she is a truly worthy beneficiary of one of these unique creations, inspired as they are by a love of books, reading, and libraries.
Here’s what Liz McGettigan, Edinburgh Libraries Information and Services Manager said about it:
“What a unique and wonderful way to support libraries! We’re absolutely delighted to see Leith Library has received this exquisite book sculpture.”
Our Reader in Residence Emily Dodd (@auntyemily) said:
“I can’t quite believe it, it’s such a wonderful thing to have happened in my last month as Reader in Residence at Leith Library!”
When we were working away in the Press Yurt last year at the Book Festival there were a few unexpected deliveries from the mystery sculptor which caused a great stir and excitement… Here is a photo we took….
Here is some news about my new novel – The Hanging of Margaret Dickson – published by Thames River Press on 1 June 2013. I first came across this amazing story over ten years ago and made it a personal quest of mine to write a novel about her incredible life – and death!
I researched for this novel many, many years (travelling to Musselburgh, Edinburgh, Duddingston, National Archives etc.)
The novel tells the true tale of the Musselburgh fishwife, Maggie Dickson, who was hanged at the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 1724.
In an age when women are expected to know their place, be submissive, dutiful and chaste, Maggie Dickson, a Musselburgh fishwife, is often in trouble. She’s outspoken, promiscuous and vituperative. While her husband’s at sea, she sells her fish, sleeps with men for pleasure or money and looks after her two children. In time, her husband abandons her. Maggie quits Musselburgh and heads for Newcastle to stay with relatives.
During the winter of 1723, a fisherman finds the dead, naked body of a baby boy. Fingers are soon pointing in the direction of a stranger working in a local tavern, a woman recently estranged from her mariner husband. It is rumoured that she’s been having a passionate affair with the innkeeper’s young son, William Bell, and that he is the father of the dead child.
Maggie is arrested and taken to Edinburgh tollbooth to await trial, is found guilty and is sentenced to death. The news spreads like wildfire and, as Maggie languishes in jail, the whole city speculates whether or not she killed her child. Will she take her secret to her grave?
‘The Hanging of Maggie Dickson’ is a heartrending tale of obsession and unrequited love.
Submitted by Alison Butler
Auctioneers at Lyon & Turnbull today sold a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby for £1875, on the eve of the premiere of the new film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. The book valued at £700 is from one of the most remarkable private libraries of English literature to come to auction.
The library, sold for a total of £226,000, belonged to the late Bruce Ritchie. Tom Stoppard on hearing of his death said “I’ve known very few people as kind, as learned, as civilised as Bruce. He taught my son Oliver at Merchant Taylors’ forty years ago and many pupils remember him fondly. The world is poorer without him.”
As well as the first edition of The Great Gatsby, the collection, of Stirling-born school teacher, Bruce Ritchie. included Henry Fielding, History of Tom Jones, 1749. 1st ed. £1,700; Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock. 1714. 1st ed. £1,800, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. 1843. 1st ed. £2,700; T.S. Eliot., Prufrock. 1917. 1st ed. (one of 500 copies) £3,600, Kenneth Grahame The Wind in the Willows. 1908. 1st ed. £1,200; James Joyce Ulysses 1922. 1st ed. £4,400 and Dubliners 1916 1st ed. £3,800; Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited. 1st ed., 1945. (this included an insertion signed by Waugh), £1600, W.B. Yeats. Mosada. Cuala Press, 1943, Lily Yeats’s copy, £1,200.
John Sibbald, book specialist at Lyon & Turnbull said:-“This was an outstanding result. What is even more astonishing is that, as a private collector, Bruce Ritchie could assemble this kind of collection, particularly relying chiefly on a school teacher’s salary. For me, the outstanding items in the sale included the collection of works by Alexander Pope, Seamus Heaney, Tom Stoppard and the works of Yeats. The run of publications from the Cuala Press, the press established by Yeats’s sisters also spring to mind.”
Ritchie’s father was a banker with the Chartered Bank and Bruce spent much of his childhood and school holidays in the Far East. Bruce returned to Scotland in 1950 to attend Dollar Academy, going on to the University of St Andrews in 1961 to read English and German.
After a year at Cambridge training as a teacher, he was appointed to the English Department at Merchant Taylors’ School in London where he developed into an outstanding teacher of English. It was there that he met Tom Stoppard, a Merchant Taylors’ parent, and where too the novelist and biographer A.N. Wilson was briefly a colleague as well as becoming a lifelong friend.
This is the catalogue from today’s sale:-
A rare guide to Britain’s greatest duels, a “hot read” in the early 19th Century for gentlemen who still fought with pistols at dawn, goes on sale this weekend in Scotland’s biggest annual charity book fair.
The book, published in 1821 by James Gilchrist, offered detailed accounts of “the principal duels” in Georgian Britain, and the “decision of private quarrels by single combat” . Only a few copies are known to survive, suggesting many were left in tatters after being well-thumbed by nervous duellers looking for hints.
Highlights of the Christian Aid book sale, an annual pilgrimage for Scottish book lovers and an Edinburgh institution, range from a signed copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to a portfolio of rare 19th Century prints and paintings discovered in an attic by the heirs to of Scotland’s great paper-making families.
They were given by descendants of Alexander Cowan, the Penicuik papermaker who died in 1859 and was one of the founding figures of modern Scottish printing. With hand-painted prints by the famous illustrator Thomas Rowlandson, and stunning watercolour pictures of flowers by an unknown artist, they are expected to earn the charity thousands of pounds.
About 100,000 rare and second-hand books, prints, artworks, vintage postcards, and other ephemera on every conceivable subject fill the floors and stalls in and around the St Andrew’s and St George’s Church on George Street. The book sale, part of Christian Aid Week, opens on Saturday 11 May, and then runs Monday 13 – Friday 17 May,
The growing art section of the sale is curated this year for the first time by James Holloway, the former director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. One of the highlights is a work donated by the artist David Michie, of Sunflowers near Avignon. “It’s the most delightful picture which would look wonderful in anybody’s collection,” Mr Holloway said.
Artists Harry More Gordon and Sandy Moffat have also given pictures, on sale along with striking works by popular artists like Victoria Crowe, Lynn MacGregor, Sam Ainsley, and Rob Maclaurin. “There are going to be great bargains,” Mr Holloway said. “We want to sell.”
The book sale celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and has raised about £1 million in the last decade for Christian Aid, the church charity with operations world-wide from African villages to Middle East war zones.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, recently named the charity’s chairman, is visiting the city this year as patron of the sale. He said: “It’s a great annual Edinburgh event, and I’m very, very glad to have the opportunity to help a high profile in Scotland.”
A poet, theologian and academic, Dr Williams recalled his pleasure at picking up a book of letters of Lord Acton, a 19th Century hero of his, in an Edinburgh bookshop last year.
His own books include The Lion’s World: a journey into the heart of Narnia, on the Narnia series by CS Lewis, who died 50 years ago this year. The book sale is hoping to mark the anniversary with a large collection of Lewis books this year.
The guide to British duels was published in 1821, and promised detailed accounts of the most important duels during the reign of King George III, who took the throne in 1760 and had recently died. Dueling was still a hazard for British gentlemen: Scotland only saw its last fatal duel in 1826, when Kirkcaldy linen merchant David Landale shot his bank manager dead at dawn, and England staged its last duel in 1845.
With a lengthy title, the book is called: “A Brief display of the origin and history of ordeals: trials by battle, courts of chivalry or honour, and the decision of private quarrels by single combat. Also, a chronological register of the principal duels, fought by the accession of his late Majesty to the present time.”
It will be priced at close to £200, said American Ried Zulager, the rare books expert at the annual Christian Aid book sale in Edinburgh. “They were used up. Clearly this was a hot read in the 19th Century,” he said.
Another rare work is a tiny early volume of the adventures of Baron Munchausen, dating from 1820 and just three and a half inches tall, with no other copies known to exist.
Other stand-out books this year include titles like James Gowan’s “Edinburgh and its Neighbourhood in the Days of Our Grandfathers” from 1886. There are rare editions of works by Eric Linklater, among some 2,000 items from the book collection of his son, journalist Magnus Linklater.
The Penicuik papermaker Alexander Cowan revived his family’s paper mill after the the Napoleonic wars. He became a wealthy man and generous patron, helping Sir Walter Scott out of bankruptcy, building a library and museum in Penicuik, and repairing the windows all down the Royal Mile when he was struck by the poverty of the Canongate area. He backed and encouraged Edinburgh-based lithographer Frederick Schenck (1811-1885), laying the foundation for a century of quality Scottish printing and mapmaking.
The rambunctious and popular engravings by Rowlandson are “clearly going to be a top item”, said Mr Zulager. They include scenes like “Polish Diet with French Desert”, where a Russian officer and a bear, are turning Napoleon on a spit, printed after his Grand Armee was decimated in Russia in 1812.
“In a pub, someone would have tacked them up for humour. There’s a couple where you can see the pinhole, that was tacked on the wall. This really is the start of the mass marketing, popular culture for the masses. It was a way of communicating certain cultural perspectives in war time.”
Submitted by Tim Cornwell
ScottishPower Swap Shop reaches out to 5,000 schoolchildren to mark fifth anniversary of ScottishPower Swap Shop,
Children across Scotland are set to take part in the country’s biggest book swap when thousands of kids exchange their favourite stories with friends in an initiative from Edinburgh International Book Festival sponsor ScottishPower.
This year is the fifth anniversary of the ScottishPower Swap Shop – an award-winning initiative which encourages primary school children to read more and recycle old books whilst raising lots of money for charity.
To commemorate the landmark year, acclaimed author Vivian French visited Edinburgh primary schools to encourage the youngsters to dig out their favourite books and share them with their classmates. ScottishPower is hoping to involve 5,000 children from across Scotland with five lucky schools getting the chance to win a visit from a children’s author attending the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Colin Hattersley Photography
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It will not surprise you to know that the libraries are where it is all happening this evening to celebrate World Book Night. WBN is a celebration of books and reading when books are handed out free by volunteers to encourage those who don’t read to start!
World Book Night events:
Tuesday 23 April, 10am-8pm
World Book Night – Online Pirates of Leith Treasure Hunt
Solve all the clues about Leith using our fabulous Our Town Stories website (http://www.ourtownstories.co.uk/). Then come and claim your booty from some real live pirates! Successful adventurers will take home copies of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic ‘Treasure Island’. Yarrrr!
Keep an eye on the Leith Library blog at http://leithlibrary.wordpress.com/ and @LeithLibrary Twitter for more details! First clues due around 2pm.
Tuesday 23 April, 6-7pm
World Book Night with Allan Guthrie
Prize winning Edinburgh based crime writer, author of many gripping stories including ‘Slammer’ and ‘Bye Bye Baby’, will read from and talk about his books. His books have been described as having the power to ‘make you writhe in agony’ while dealing ‘heart stopping suspense’.
To book a place call 0131 529 5528 or email email@example.com
Tuesday 23 April, 6.30- 7.30pm
World Book Night with Andrew Greig
Listen to this Scottish novelist, poet and writer, read and discuss prose from ‘At the Loch of the Green Corrie’ and ‘Found At Sea’, a book-length sequence of narrative poems. The event will be chaired by Ryan Van Winkle, Edinburgh City Libraries’ writer in residence.
To book a place call 0131 529 5595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 23 April, 6.30-8pm
World Book Night with Caroline Dunford
Hear about the ‘Euphemia Martins’ mysteries and Caroline Dunford’s other careers. She has published 30 short stories, mostly fantasy and horror, won a few awards, written the best selling non-fiction narrative ‘How to Survive the Terrible Twos; diary of a mother under siege’ and had several plays produced.
To book a place call 0131 529 5558 or email email@example.com
Tuesday 23 April, 6-8pm
Book Swap Evening
Bring along one (or more!) of your favourite books to swap for someone else’s ‘must-read’ and spend the evening chatting with book lovers over drinks and nibbles. Don’t have a book to swop? Come along anyway and enjoy the company!
For more information call 0131 529 5506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tues 23 April, 6.45-7.45pm
World Book Night – the Brainbuster Book Quiz
Celebrate World Book Night with Oxgangs library’s ‘Brainbuster Book Quiz. Hosted by our very own quizmaster, ‘The Great Raymondo’.
All welcome. Guaranteed Fun. Refreshments too.
To book a place, call 0131 529 5549 or email email@example.com
Tues 23 April, 7-8.30pm
Central Library/Reference Library
World Book Night celebration
No.1 Ladies Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith will be in conversation with Peggy Hughes (the City of Literature), with readings from BAFTA-nominated novelist and playwright Lesley Glaister and other local authors. World Book Night promises to be a fun evening with fizz and nibbles. Local World Book Night givers welcome!
- 20 books are chosen by an independent editorial committee (comprising of passionate experts representing librarians, booksellers, writers and the media) informed by a public vote. The authors of the books waive their royalties, the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the World Book Night editions and contribute to additional core funding
- Bookshops and libraries sign up to be collection points
- Members of the public sign up to be givers, applying to give away a particular title with information on where, to whom and why they want to give their books. Applications are vetted by World Book Night and the original publisher and suitable givers are chosen based on their ability to reach those who don’t regularly read
- The successful givers choose a local participating bookshop or library from which to collect their set of books and WBN’s partner distributors deliver the books to these collection points
- Givers collect their books in the week before World Book Night and inscribe the first page with their name, the name of the bookshop or library they collected them from and a unique identifying number which enables each book to be tracked
- The books are given to those who don’t regularly read within their communities
- Hundreds of events take place across the country on April 23 to celebrate books and reading
The 2013 books are all here… Which ones will you read?
We met with Andrew Symon recently whose first book comes out tomorrow, Saturday 20 April 2013. Symon already has the other two books in the Shian Quest Trilogy written however, so clear is the story in his head.
Although the author lives in Perth the story is set below Edinburgh Castle and centres around Jack a twelve year old who is part human, part Shian. The secret to the Shian powers lies in the Destiny Stone, and their power strengthens when the stone is returned to Scotland.
“When Jack Shian was twelve, he was just growing into his magycks.
The Shian had always had magycks. Some had a little, some a little more. Charms,hexes,healing – all sorts. The magycks became much stronger when the Destiny Stone came home – it even opened up the Shian square under Edinburgh castle once more. Little wonder that the Shian celebrated; the Stone had been gone for hundreds of years, you see. That’s hundreds of years in human time and Shian time. They’re not always the same……”
Andrew Symon was born in Athens to Scottish parents, then moved to Tokyo and then London. After his first job as a Labour Ward porter, he trained as a nurse, then as a midwife, working in a variety of hospitals in Scotland and England. He spent one year as a volunteer midwife in Kenya, where he met his wife. They have two teenage sons. Returning to Scotland from Kenya he obtained a Social Policy and Law degree in 1992 and a PhD in 1997, both from Edinburgh University. He is a Street Pastor, unofficial padre in the Tartan Army, and a senior lecturer at Dundee University, where he has written and edited several books in his field. He is also a visiting professor in Ceará, Brazil, so at least one Scotland fan got to go to Brazil! The SHIAN QUEST TRILOGY is his fiction debut.
The book is published by Black & White Publishing in paperback original and the formal launch is tomorrow in Perth.
The shortlist for the fourth £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction is announced today by the judging panel. The six novels, with settings ranging from Tudor and Restoration England to the slums of Victorian London, and from the bloody battlefields of the Western Front in World War One to the highlands of Malaysia during the ‘Malayan Emergency’, encompass a giddying diversity of setting in both time and place, echoing the oeuvre of the writer after whom the prize is named, Sir Walter Scott.
The shortlist is:
TOBY’S ROOM by Pat Barker
THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS by Thomas Keneally
BRING UP THE BODIES by Hilary Mantel
THE STREETS by Anthony Quinn
THE GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS by Tan Twan Eng
MERIVEL by Rose Tremain
The judges commented:
“This year’s shortlist is rich and complex, contains breathtaking writing, and gloriously unexpected stories which refresh understandings of history in a way in which Sir Walter Scott would have approved. The shortlist exemplifies the extraordinary quality of newly-published writing that is set in the past: from ancient to recent history.”
The shortlisted books are by authors from Australia and Malaysia, as well as from England, strengthening the international dimension brought to the prize by last year’s opening up of the rules to include writers from the Commonwealth. Books must have been written in English, with the majority of their setting being at least 60 years ago, in keeping with the prize’s definition of ‘historical’ borrowed from Walter Scott himself in the subtitle of his Waverley novels: ‘Tis Sixty Years Since.’
The Walter Scott Prize, founded in 2009 by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and awarded at the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in June, is the largest annual UK prize to be judged outside London, and honours the legacy and achievements of Sir Walter Scott, founder of the historical novel. Scott’s influence has been further revived this year, with several new books and documentaries on his life, a new radio adaptation of his work read by David Tennant, and the re-opening of his Borders home Abbotsford after substantial restoration.
The judging panel for the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction comprises Kirsty Wark, Louise Richardson, Jonathan Tweedie, Elizabeth Laird, Elizabeth Buccleuch, and chair Alistair Moffat. The judges’ criteria include originality and innovation, quality of writing, a strong narrative, and the ability of a book to shed light on the present as well as the past. Books can be by writers living in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth as long as they are writing in English and the book is first published in these countries.
Shortlisted authors are invited to attend the award ceremony and announcement on Friday 14th June, which is a public event as part of the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival in Melrose, near Scott’s home Abbotsford. As well as enjoying the hospitality of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch at their home Bowhill, shortlisted authors this year will also exclusively be offered a private preview tour of Abbotsford following its restoration.
The Judges said of the shortlisted books:
TOBY’S ROOM Pat Barker
“The story, which is approached obliquely through the lens of solving a mystery, is beautifully simple whilst capturing complex characters, and contains the most exquisite writing. Pat Barker is where she wants to be in this period; she is a master.”
THE DAUGHTERS OF MARS Thomas Keneally
“Sheds new light on a well-documented period in history and from a different and hugely effective viewpoint. The atmosphere is evoked brilliantly, and it draws you in to the lives of everyday people affected by momentous events with masterful ease.”
BRING UP THE BODIES Hilary Mantel
“Hilary Mantel lends a superb and cleverly contemporary spin to the well-known story of Anne Boleyn, and Bring up the Bodies is a highly readable, intelligent novel that effortlessly fulfils the criterion of the Walter Scott Prize that work should shed light on the present as well as the past.”
THE STREETS Anthony Quinn
“This novel is refreshingly different and contains a cornucopia of wonderful material and evocative descriptions, from opulent ballroom to appalling slum tenement. Anthony Quinn is an excellent writer, and universal themes of loss of identity and community are well-covered here.”
THE GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS Tan Twan Eng
“This is a richly enigmatic, layered novel, which portrays the complexity of Malaya at that time, as well as the jaggedness of relationships, sensitively providing multiple glimpses of cultural identities.”
MERIVEL Rose Tremain
“A marvellously rollicking good read, and it is such a pleasure to meet Robert Merivel again. Rose Tremain brings the character to life in a way that makes you want to find out even more about the period. Enormously skilled and deft.”
Hidden medieval corner of the Old Town is to be transformed
A new storytelling garden, designed and created by local young people, is set to be established next to Trinity Apse, a hidden medieval relic in the heart of the Old Town. The new initiative is part of the EWH Green Heritage project funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, with additional support from the City of Edinburgh Council.
EWH will be working with young people from Panmure St Ann’s Centre, the Canongate Youth Project and the Get Ready for Work scheme, which helps people aged 16-18 who are not in training, education or employment. The young people will be attending horticultural training, gardening workshops and biodiversity activities to gain the appropriate skills. There will also be an opportunity for hands-on training in conservation, through work to the decorative stones still on site.
The finished garden will be used as a community space for organic gardening with the help of the Patrick Geddes Gardening Club, but also as an atmospheric setting for storytelling sessions and drama workshops.
Naomi Webster, Green Heritage Youth Officer for Edinburgh World Heritage said: -“This project is a great opportunity to involve young people in regenerating a corner of the World Heritage Site, and to create something that all the community will enjoy. Trinity Apse is also one of the treasures of the city, and its quirky history deserves to be properly told. ”
Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture Convener, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The creation of Trinity Apse Garden is a fascinating project, combining education and practical experience with conservation and archaeology to create a brand new and quite unique visitor attraction in the heart of our Old Town. I look forward to enjoying the finished product in the summer.”
An additional part of the project will be to interpret the rich history of Trinity Apse for visitors. It was originally part of Trinity College Kirk, built around 1460 but then taken down in 1848 to make way for Waverley Station. In the 1870s the apse was reconstructed in the Old Town as part of a new church, but in the 1960s this was demolished leaving behind just the medieval building.
The important role that this medieval building plays in Edinburgh’s history will be reflected in the choice of heritage plants for the garden, as well as the incorporation of archaeology currently on the site into the design.
The project is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and its near neighbours the Scottish Book Trust, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Carrubbers Christian Centre and the Cockburn Association.