Celebrating 30 years of Rebus: RebusFest 2017

Celebrating 30 years of Rebus: RebusFest 2017

July 4, 2017

Edinburgh’s iconic fictional detective celebrated 30 years in the book business from 30 June- 2 July, with Ian Rankin and the Orion Publishing Group hosting RebusFest in Edinburgh – a weekend of literature, art, film, music, and much more besides.

Edinburgh City of Literature was delighted to be one of the partners, thanks to the support of the University of Edinburgh. The Trust marked the occasion by chalking
quotations on the streets of the city, and giving away books to visitors to help spread the work of Rankin even further.

The excellent OpenBook group based in the Grassmarket Community Project helped the Trust chose four quotations to display. After some discussion, they picked:

“It was the kind of love which was all the more fervent for having come to him late in life.” Hide and Seek

“The city fed on its past like a serpent with its tail in its mouth. “ The Black Book 

“…climbing hand in hand, seeing the city spread out like a promise.” Dead Souls

“It seemed to him a very Edinburgh thing. Welcoming, but not very.” Exit Music

The stencil quotations were created as part of the Trust’s ongoing Words on the Street campaign, which seeks to make literature available and visible to all who travel through the city.

On Saturday, City of Literature also took to the streets to gift international visitors with a copy of Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue, and had great chats with tourists from the USA, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Australia and many other places about why Edinburgh loves Rebus.


Ali Bowden, Director of 
Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust said:

Ian Rankin’s books are part of 
what make Edinburgh the world’s first city of literature: his stories have brought joy to millions of readers and transported them into the world of Rebus. We wanted to offer the chance for visitors to our city to take home a wee piece of our city’s culture.

The Trust sends huge thanks to the University of Edinburgh and Orion Publishing, as well as JUMP and Reekie Steeltec who helped create the metal stencils used to chalk quotations on the streets, with kind permission from the City of Edinburgh Council.

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin, OBE is a crime fiction writer best known for his Inspector Rebus series. His first novels, Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek were written as mainstream novels but, to Rankin’s surprise, the books were regarded as genre books, and his unintentional path to crime fiction began. The Inspector Rebus series – of 19 novels plus short stories – has been adapted for television starring John Hannah, and later, Ken Stott. 

Words on the Street

Words on the Street is all about bringing to light the story of books, publishing, and writing within the city. By featuring literature throughout Edinburgh in the form of projections, stencils, light installations, live readings, posters, and more, Words on the Street makes the city’s literary past, present and future visible for all to see.