This Website Explained

Welcome to our new Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust website.

The site covers the whole of Edinburgh and is curated by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust with support from a whole host of partner organisations and active individuals.

This is a Beta website, a bridge from the old website to the new. It’s your stomping ground, your chance to build something amazing that reflects your city of literature. We’ll be adding new content, slowly building in the months ahead, with your help.

As you explore, we’re dead keen to get your feedback. We want to create a brilliant Literary Edinburgh website for you, and voicing your expectations and wishes will help you create just that.


This is our showcase for literature across Edinburgh. Every day we cull the best of what’s happening and we pop it up so you can read, watch or listen to what’s going on. We also take you straight to our What’s On section with a handy calendar which allows you to select any given day to find the event you want, plus featured events to give you a glimpse of the glittering tip of the iceberg.

The Literary City

This section invites you to Visit, Read, and Meet. We have designed this with our visitors in mind, so if you’re new to the city or would like to explore the literary city further as a reader or literary professional, this offers an easy to navigate guide to all Edinburgh has to offer. It also contains resources for businesses to explore literary tourism.


Edinburgh has tons of stuff going on – whether you’re a visitor or looking to explore literary tourism for your business, this section guides you through Edinburgh’s vibrant literary scene.

Literary Attractions: A  guide to Edinburgh’s literary attractions.

Tours and Trails: Edinburgh’s literary tours guide you through the streets and literature of Edinburgh.

Virtual Tours and Apps: These handy downloadable guides are brilliant companions for intrepid explorations of Edinburgh.

Itineraries: We’ve put together suggestions for how you can plan your stay in literary Edinburgh.

Tourism Business Toolkit: We offer businesses guidance, funding opportunities and resources to explore literary tourism, for free.


Edinburgh’s literary legacy is enormous. This section explores Edinburgh’s history and legacy, offering some great reads along the way.

Books: Edinburgh has produced some of the world’s best loved books. Find out more here.

Bookshops: The city is bursting with bookshops. Here’s our guide on where to find them.

Our Literary Story: Edinburgh’s literary story from the very beginning, including the world’s first widespread mandatory education, the Enlightenment, and the city’s geniuses.

Edinburgh City of Literature: Starter for Ten: Our series of Edinburgh Tens shows you little chunks of Edinburgh’s literary riches, secrets and glories.


A glimpse of the people behind Edinburgh’s thriving cultural life.

Meet the Makar: Edinburgh appoints a new poet laureate every three years. Meet the Makar here.

Literature Organisations: Edinburgh thrives with these literary organisations.

Libraries: Books, Words and Ideas are born in libraries. Explore the city’s libraries here.

Meet the Literary Salon: Are you a professional with an interest in literature? This monthly gathering is a meeting of like minds.

Meet the Mystery Book Sculpture Artist: An introduction to one of Edinburgh’s best kept secret identities, and some of the most entrancing book sculptures in the world.

What’s On

There are dozens of Books Words Ideas events taking place all across Edinburgh City of Literature and this is the only website that brings them all together into one convenient location. We provide comprehensive literary listings for Edinburgh, including spoken word, book groups, family events, and professional interest activities such as workshops, lectures, or courses.

Events: Our literary events guide

Submit Your Event: For Edinburgh’s literary programmers, this is our portal to accept listings information.

The Literary Programmers’ Network: Our professional network for literary programmers, this offers exclusive access to resources and information, seminars, and listings submission.

News: This section includes news for local and international literary activities, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature projects, and literary opportunities.

Newsletter: Sign up to our What’s On newsletter.

Literary Festivals: Festivals within a day trip’s distance from Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Book Festivals: A small guide to the city’s literary festivals and book sales.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014: Our activities at the world’s largest celebration of literature in the world.

Story Shop 2014: Our annual project at the Edinburgh International Book Festival showcasing Edinburgh’s emerging writers

#RLS Day 2014: Our annual celebration of Robert Louis Stevenson’s unbirthday.

About Us

This is our section detailing the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and what we do to support literary activity in the city:

Who We Are: The City of Literature designation is supported by Trust, and this section provides information about our staff, our board, our partners, and our helpers in shining armour.

What We Do: Our projects, past present and future

How We Came to Be: The story of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust from our inception in 2004.

Press info: Press releases, fast facts, images, media – if you need to get to know us in a hurry, it’s all here.

Contact Us: What it says on the tin.

Cities of Literature

Our Story: How we sparked a global network of UNESCO Creative Cities, including the UNESCO Cities of Literature.

The Designation: The UNESCO City of Literature designation, and what it means for Edinburgh and literature globally.

Creative City Network: A brief guide to the UNESCO Creative City Network.

Join Us: Guidance on how to become a designated UNESCO City of Literature

Cities of Literature: A quick guide to the UNESCO Cities of Literature, Melbourne, Iowa, Reykjavik, Dublin, Norwich and Krakow.


We are working to create a comprehensive directory of the literary city so in time it will hold all you could possibly want to know about literature in Edinburgh. It’s a work in progress, and we build it daily. For now it only holds our Bookshops section, but you can help us grow by letting us know which section you’d like us to work on next. Our A-Z will list literature in Edinburgh, including authors, publishers, tours, festivals, monuments, museums, buildings, libraries, and more.

If you’re an enthusiastic feedback-giver or would like to make suggestions for your site, get in touch or better yet, scribble your thoughts on our quick survey.