Rankin books a date for RLS day in Capital

Ian Rankin thinks the memory of Robert Louis Stevenson should be celebrated more
Ian Rankin thinks the memory of Robert Louis Stevenson should be celebrated more
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Author Ian Rankin has called for Edinburgh to stage an annual day of celebration around the work of Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Rebus author wants November 13 – the birthday of the Edinburgh-born globally acclaimed author – to be officially designated as Robert Louis Stevenson Day.

Councillors will be asked to back the proposal at a meeting later this week, with officials expected to be instructed to compile a report looking at the range of events and activities that can be arranged for next year.

Rankin’s own suggestions include projecting famous quotations from Stevenson’s work on to council buildings, including the City Chambers, creating a statue of him in the city centre and holding a series of talks across the Capital.

Other proposals include a literary tour taking in locations that played a part in the Kidnapped and Jekyll and Hyde author’s life.

Rankin, who worked with Napier University and the Unesco City of Literature Trust on a series of informal events to celebrate Stevenson on November 13 this year, said: “We have proposed showing movies based on books, literary walks, a more central statue of him in town because there’s not one.

“I’m in favour of a day to celebrate him and it’s very hard to do it without council backing.”

He said that getting the council on board would allow a much wider celebration of his work.

He said: “It might be we use council buildings to do some of the talks, or project images of Stevenson’s words on to council buildings like the City Chambers, for example. He is probably Edinburgh’s most important author and if you go around the world and mention Treasure Island or Jekyll and Hyde everyone knows them.”

A motion to be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the full council proposes designating November 13 as RLS Day and getting council officials to work with groups including the Centre for Literature and Writing at Edinburgh Napier University and the City of Literature Trust to present options on how to mark the day.

Councillor Gordon Munro, culture and leisure spokesman for the Labour group, who proposed the motion, said: “RLS is loved and celebrated by Edinburgh. He is already marked by a grove of trees in West Princes Street Gardens and brilliantly by Sandy Stoddart’s sculpture of Davie Balfour and Alan Breck at Western Corner.

“Personally, I think a daunder in Edinburgh in his memory would be a great way to do this.

“Hopefully the report will look at how Edinburgh can mark the birthday of one of its world-renowned authors in a way that befits his memory.”

Peggy Hughes, of the City of Literature Trust, said: “We would love to see it on a par with Burns Night.”