They’ve been called ‘literary ninjas,’ hopefully because they appear like magic, do amazing things swiftly and then melt into the night but it was late and there might have been a dram involved. What everyone agrees on is that it’s one of the best jobs in the world celebrating the life, stories and history of one of the greatest cities in the world.
Ali Bowden, Director
Ali runs the company, hatches plans and projects, and is an international woman of literature (she works closely with UNESCO, our sister Cities of Literature around the world and the Creative Cities Network).
Which book do you wish you’d written? The first dictionary. Hats off to Dr Samuel Johnson. Quite the feat, just imagine wrestling all those words down into one single volume. I spend far too much time coming up with new words and trying to persuade the powers that be to include them in their dictionaries. I have, as yet, to succeed, which confuzzles me.
Which author, alive or dead, would you most like to go for a drink with? Robert Louis Stevenson, by the end of the night I’d have pinched his velvet jacket and we’d be swanning around the dark alleys of the old town telling stories and singing old songs.
What’s your favourite Edinburgh, City of Literature location? It has to be the view from the top floor of the Scott monument. On a clear day you can see into the very heart of Edinburgh, the gnarly ridges and wynds of the Old Town and the snooty regular lines of the New Town, the two of them jostling cheek by jowl for your attention.
Eleanor Pender, Communications Executive
Eleanor talks all things literary Edinburgh, from sights to streets and all the Trust’s projects inbetween. Facilitator to the max, she’ll tell you what you need to know before you know you need to know it. Eleanor’s pitched, written, photographed and generally press-ganged new writing in Edinburgh for a while now. Can be known to affect a beret.
Which book do you wish you’d written? The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. The wit and the spark is in every page, on every line. I love it.
Which author, alive or dead, would you most like to go for a drink with? Ursula Le Guin, the woman who was writing science fiction and fantasy before it had a name. She’s a master.
What’s your favourite Edinburgh, City of Literature location? Makars’ Court. Walking up the steps between the Mound and the Writers’ Museum, you feel hidden from the world and yet you’re surrounded by the words of poets and writers engraved in the very stones you’re stepping on. And if it’s snowing, the lamplight is straight out of Narnia.
Siân Bevan, Programme Manager
Siân manages the Trust’s projects like Canongate Stars & Stories for Words on the Street and RLS Day 2016. She loves elephants, live events (watching, organising or hosting) and will one day have her own library in a treehouse. She is a bit scared of the dark.
Which book do you wish you’d written? The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. It’s the book I recommend most to people and I love it for its imagination and wit. When I grow up, I hope to be able to write like that.
Which author, alive or dead, would you most like to go for a drink with? Dorothy Parker. I think she would be the best person to get drunk with, although I think you could probably also have a wild night with Daphne du Maurier.
What’s your favourite Edinburgh, City of Literature location? Reading books in the National Library of Scotland makes you feel like a scholarly genius. I love that it’s so quiet you can hear the swooshing of pages as you try to hold a cough in. It’s such a gorgeous building: the staircase, the bookshelves… I feel lucky to live in a city where I can read any book I want to.