Scotland has a remarkable literary heritage, and has produced more than its fair share of acclaimed writers and enlightened thinkers. Bookworms will enjoy the wealth of bookish festivals, events and experiences on offer that honour the country’s most celebrated literary luminaries.
t The Auld Brig in Alloway, Ayrshire features in Robert Burns’s famous poem Tam O’Shanter
One of Scotland’s most celebrated and prolific writers, Robert Burns has made his mark all over the country. There are numerous museums and exhibitions in his name. For hard-core fans, the Burns Heritage Trail is a comprehensive tour of where he lived and wrote and the places that inspired him most.
Scotland’s capital has inspired over 500 novels, and was named the the first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004. In August it hosts the world’s largest International Book Festival, where publishers from all over the word present new titles and leading authors take part in readings and book signings at events throughout the city.
Book-mad Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway is a book-lovers paradise. Home to more than 20 bookshops and literary cafés, this quaint town hosts a lively literature festival over ten days every autumn, featuring over 250 literary events for adults, kids and young people,and welcoming numerous high-profile Scottish authors and guest speakers.
Childhood summers spent in rural Perthshire were a strong influence on The Tale of Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter, and fostered in her a keen interest in the natural world. Stroll through the Beatrix Potter Garden at Birnam Arts and see if you can spot Peter Rabbit.
This award-winning and light-hearted walking tour takes you through the cobbled streets, secret closes and hidden courtyards of Edinburgh’s Old Town to the old haunts of some of Scotland’s greatest authors and poets, most of whom favoured down-to-earth boozers over posh salons.
DISCOVER Scotland Your Way
With Laidlaw (1977), Scots author William McIlvanney kicked off Scotland’s “tartan noir” crime fiction genre, a pantheon including likes of Ian Rankin’s gloomy Inspector Rebus, Christopher Brookmyre’s roguish investigator Jack Parlabane, and Denise Mina’s DI Alex Morrow, a rare female protagonist in the crime fiction world. Val McDermid’s novels were adapted into a cult TV series, Wire in the Blood, and Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie stars in Case Histories.