Celebrate the city’s greats and get your vote in for the top Edinburgher ever - Susan Dalgety
In the interest of simplicity, the five Bay City Rollers count as one entry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given our literary history, nearly half of the finalists are novelists. There are seven writers to choose from, including Irvine Welsh, whose first novel Trainspotting was nothing short of revolutionary, to the rather more sedate Sir Walter Scott. There are also three sportsmen, and sadly two of them – rugby star Doddie Weir and world champion boxer Ken Buchanan – died recently.
There is only one inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, whose telephone changed the world, and there are a few notable names missing. Where, for example, are Adam Smith and David Hume, who helped create modern society?
And it’s disappointing – to say the least – that there are only three women among the top 15, but what women they are. Dr Elsie Inglis, the pioneering medic who opened a hospital for women and girls here in Edinburgh, while at the same time campaigning for women’s right to vote.
Her work in the First World War saved tens of thousands of lives in France, Serbia, Ukraine and Romania.
Muriel Spark, the author of perhaps the most Edinburgh novel of all time, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, makes the cut. And of course, JK Rowling, whose phenomenal writing career started in Edinburgh cafes Nicholson’s and the Elephant House.
And in recent years she has become the undisputed queen of Scotland’s women’s rights movement, unafraid to stand up for what she believes in.
But whoever you vote for, isn’t it wonderful that our city has been – and still is – home to such amazing people.