Monday, 9 February 2009

35,000 Lost Worlds in boxes...

This week we asked guest blogger Anna Burkey from Unesco Edinburgh City of Literature Trust to tell us a bit about what she's been up to lately...

It’s been a busy start to the year for me – I’ve been concentrating on giving away thousands of free books, and it’s harder work than it sounds! This year, we’re giving away about 35,000 copies of The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle – he may be better known for Sherlock Holmes, but Conan Doyle was a bit of an early sci-fi writer, and this is the book that inspired Jurassic Park.

This is the third year we’ve been giving away classic Scottish books, as part of our One Book – One Edinburgh reading campaign. By “we” I mainly mean me and my colleague Ali, but we also have about 50 other organisations helping us this year – though it’s mainly Ali and I that get to actually unload the vans full of free books, and distribute them around town. There’s been no need for the gym this month – shifting 35,000 books has been keeping my muscles working. You can get yours at Edinburgh libraries, while stocks last. You can see some behind-the-scenes pics of me unloading vans and handing out books on our website, or find us on Facebook.

I’ve been having a lot of fun arranging dinosaur-themed events across the city. We launched the campaign at Dynamic Earth with the help of a giant pterodactyl (made by local artist Rhian Russell), and have events at Edinburgh Zoo, the Botanic Gardens and in Holyrood Park. There’s also a Forensics Week, inspired by Sherlock, at the Royal College of Surgeons, and an evening with Arthur Conan Doyle himself – he’s back in town to celebrate his 150th birthday.

It’s also been good fun working this year on The Lost Book – an animation project that is being run by our friends Helen and Adam (also known as animation company Binary Fable.) They’ve got a good blog going at, but they are getting a bit nervous now – they’ve aired the first animated episode online, but they don’t have a script for the next 5 episodes – it’s up to people to blog ideas, and then they’ll use those suggestions to write the rest of the story. I also keep getting sidetracked by voting in their blog for poll questions like ‘Watson the dog – boy or a girl?’

We’ve got a big question of our own to answer though – what should we get everyone to read next year? People have been telling us that they love the One Book – One Edinburgh campaign, but we’re a bit stuck as to what book we should choose next year. Any ideas?

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