Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Authors write on for World City bid
Famous names give support for plan to mark literary heritage.
Some of the Capital's best-known authors have thrown their weight behind Edinburgh's bid to become the first World City of Literature. Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Inspector Rebus creator Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith, author of the best-selling No1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, have all given the proposal their backing.
The project would see Edinburgh become the inaugural World City of Literature. The Capital would act as a model for other cities around the world to celebrate their own literature and writers. The city's bid is to be formally handed over to Unesco in October and a decision on its success or failure is expected next year. At its heart will be celebrated figures from Edinburgh's literary past, including Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And the backing of some of the best-selling contemporary authors in the world will lend further weight to the proposal.
JK Rowling, who has lived in Edinburgh since 1994, wrote the first of the best-selling Harry Potter novels in Old Town cafes and mailed the manuscript to publishers from a postbox in Leith. She said the city had provided her with inspiration and believed its literary importance deserved to be recognised. "All the books in the series so far have been created largely in Edinburgh," she said. "I have personal reasons for finding the city creatively inspirational. But it's also impossible to live in Edinburgh without sensing its literary heritage everywhere.
It seems eminently sensible to me to recognise this, along with the contemporary literary life here, with a permanent title that can inspire and inform other places around the world
Unesco officials have already visited the city and a dossier has been prepared outlining the city's commitments. Landing the prestigious recognition from Unesco is thought to be worth about 2.2 million a year to the Capital in extra business.

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