by Barbara McNichol
On a recent trip to Scotland, I was delighted to learn Edinburgh has been named the first UNESCO City of Literature, a designation it has now touted for 10 years. In fact, coming into the city’s Waverley Station one day, we were greeted with this sign that says: “Waverley is the only railway station in the world named after a novel. Thank you Sir Walter Scott!”
The more than 50 bookshops in this city of half-a-million people are key venues for a vibrant culture of readings, literary cabarets, and workshops. In 1725 the world’s first circulating library opened in Edinburgh and today free public libraries can be found all over. The National Library of Scotland, the leading center for the study of the Scots, the Scottish Poetry Library, and the Scottish Storytelling Centre are all found in Edinburgh.