Last night, in the picturesque and wintry setting of the Royal Mile, the City of Literature Trust launched Canongate Stars & Stories, an illuminated trail of 20 quotations celebrating Edinburgh’s outstanding print and publishing heritage. The trail sees the Royal Mile lit up by 20 lightboxes, featuring quotes and phrases drawn from famous books and writers from across the ages, all of which are on display in local business up and down the Mile.
Ali Bowden, Director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust said:
“Sic iturad astra is the motto of the Canongate and translates as ‘Thus you shall go to the stars’, an inspirational quote from Virgil’s Aeneid. This encapsulates the beauty in our literary city with such a rich publishing history, this trail is a glimpse at the books and writers our City of Literature has inspired for over 500 years.”
Running until the end of March 2017, this new literary attraction provides a physical trail and printed map guiding visitors and locals through the rich and varied stories of the Canongate. Covering 500 years and marking Edinburgh’s role as the historical hub for print and publishing in Scotland, the trail takes the visitor from 1508 and the first book printed in Scotland up to the modern day with authors Yann Martel and Jackie Kay.
Those in Edinburgh can also download a special Canongate Stars and Stories digital trail which has been made available in the Edinburgh World Heritage iPhone app, and visitors can tweet their pictures and experience using the #wordsonthestreet.
Maggie Hetherington, owner of Clarinda’s Tearoom commented:
“Our literary heritage is now lit up in the window for visitors and passers-by to see, sharing Clarinda’s secret love story and how she played a role in Edinburgh’s literary history. As a small business on the Royal Mile, Canongate Stars and Stories brings together so much for us.”
The Canongate Stars and Stories project is a collaboration between local businesses, literary organisations and community groups. It has been funded by the City of Edinburgh Council, the New Waverley Community Fund, Edinburgh Tourism Action Group and Union Projects, and is delivered in partnership with Jump Marketing and Baillie Signs.
The illuminated trail is the next stage in a series of projects forming the Words on the Street campaign from the City of Literature Trust which make literature visible on the streets of the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. Inspired by previous City of Literature projects including poetry projections on Edinburgh Castle rock for Carry a Poem in 2012 and the Great Scott! installation in Waverley station in 2014, Words on the Street launched with the Terry Gilliam Don Quixote light installation on Jeffrey Street on Valentine’s Day and continued with an 11-day series of international poetry projections in Leith in March.