Posted on 10/02/2014
Over the years, Edinburgh has proven to be a hotbed for literary talent, with authors of all genres hailing from the city. You only need to visit this romantic and history city to see just how important it is on the literary map.
Born and educated in the city, Sir Walter Scott is credited as being the first English language author to have true international success. His novels include such classics as Rob Roy, The Heart of Midlothian, Waverley and Ivanhoe, and his importance to the city is celebrated with the Scott monument on Princes Street, as well as the city's Waverley rail station and Heart of Midlothian Football Club (most commonly known as Hearts), which are both named after his works.
Edinburgh-born Robert Louis Stevenson - famed for works such as Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Treasure Island - is celebrated in the city with various plaques, and in October 2013, a bronze statue of him as a young man was unveiled outside the parish church in Colinton, where Stevenson spent most of his summer holidays as a child.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, known for creating one of the most famous literary detectives of all time in the form of Sherlock Holmes, was also born and raised in the city, living in a squalid block of tenement flats in Sciennes Place when he was a child. A number of buildings are now named to commemorate the author, including pubs, a spiritual centre and more.
It is not just historical authors who have hailed from Edinburgh: a number of modern-day writers are based in the city, and use Edinburgh for inspiration and the setting for their works. Ian Rankin, the bestselling crime writer in the UK, lives in Edinburgh with his wife and children, and his popular Rebus novels are set in the city. Many of the locations in his works are easily recognisable, and visitors and residents alike can enjoy both official and unofficial Ian Rankin tours of the Scottish city.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was born in Gloucestershire and moved to London - and it was on a train from Manchester to London that her idea for the Harry Potter series came to her. She moved to Edinburgh to be close to her sister after her marriage dissolved, with three chapters of the first Potter novel in her suitcase. The books were written in a number of Edinburgh cafes, including The Elephant House and Nicolsons Cafe, now called The Spoon Cafe Bistro.
Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks (and his alter ego Iain M Banks) and Alexander McCall Smith have all called the city home over the years, with plenty to celebrate all of them still present in the city. Welsh's most iconic work, Trainspotting, even has a literary walk dedicated to it: a tour of locations mentioned in the controversial novel turned film. Tributes to the city's plethora of famous writers can be seen all over Edinburgh, while truly is a fantastic literary city.