Thursday, 18 January 2007

25,000 Free Books Flood Edinburgh In February

25,000 free copies of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped are to be distributed throughout Edinburgh in February in a campaign to get the city’s residents reading the same book. Edinburgh’s first citywide reading campaign is a unique project created by the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
One Book - One Edinburgh aims to get as many Edinburgh citizens as possible reading this exciting adventure story – on their own initiative, or through libraries, schools and book groups. The campaign is supported by more than 30 partner organisations from across the city with a large public programme of events backing up the reading campaign in February.
Three new editions of Stevenson's great adventure story have been created - a paperback, a fantastic new graphic novel and a simplified version. Of the 25,000, there will be 10,000 copies of the original text with a preface by Louise Welsh in a beautiful new paperback edition from Canongate. In a major coup for Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature there will also be 7,500 copies of a specially commissioned graphic novel by internationally renowned comic book artists, author Alan Grant and illustrator Cam Kennedy, who between them have created classics of the genre such as Judge Dredd, Batman Legends of the Dark Knight and two series of Star Wars graphics. Finally there are 7,500 copies of a simplified retold edition created especially for a younger audience.
Free copies of the three editions of the book will be distributed across the city in February to every primary and secondary school, to every public library and to partner organisations. From 1st February, members of the public can drop into their local library to claim a free copy while stocks last.
Ali Bowden, Manager of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, said “Kidnapped, the epic adventure of young David Balfour, is a fantastic story set in one of the most dramatic periods of Scotland’s history and !Stevenson is a great Edinburgh author. We are very excited to be bringing this wonderful book to an Edinburgh readership in these new formats. The different editions will appeal to different readers, and will enable us to reach the widest possible audience.”
Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, said “We are absolutely delighted to be funding this exciting campaign through the National Lottery. It is the first of its kind in Scotland and is a totally collaborative project with one single aim – to get Edinburgh reading.”
Barclay Price, Director of Arts & Business Scotland, said “This is a terrific project and I am delighted that Arts & Business has been able to match the sponsorship of Third Eye Design with a Scottish Executive New Arts Sponsorship Award to enable the commissioning of the graphic novel version.”The public programme totals more than 30 events, including exhibitions, a literary walking tour following in Stevenson’s footsteps and a series of readings in conjunction with the National Library of Scotland, the first of which will take place on 1st February when Ian Rankin joins others to discuss the gothic, the criminal and Stevenson. For a younger audience, Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, has scripted an irreverent and cheeky take on the Kidnapped story – When Kilts Were Banned – storytelling theatre with the bare essentials wit, humour, falling out, friendship and growing up – but no kilts. The 1971 classic film of the story, starring Michael Caine and Donald Pleasence, will be shown at the Filmhouse on 24th February. The full programme of events can be found on the City of Literature website ( or on the leaflet which will be distributed throughout the city from January.
Wot no free Rebus giveaways, then?

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