Thursday, 17 April 2014

A literary picture of…Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the world’s most affluent cities with lots of sights to see, shops to visit, and new food to try. It is also brimming with literary heritage – making the Scottish capital the perfect place for an expat with a love of culture to explore! We’ve already looked at Barcelona and Dublin through a literary lens – but here’s what Edinburgh has to offer:

Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The world famous Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world, a great place to encounter original drama and comedy, and discover fresh new writing and performance talent. In August the city is flooded by tourists taking in the top shows.  Being an Edinburgh-based expat all year round will mean you don’t pay the earth for accommodation in the period and will know your way around when moving between festival venues.

Image Source: Creative Commons/ Festival Fringe Society

Burns Night
A tradition in Scotland for over 200 years, Burns Night celebrates the life and works of famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. The writer, also known as the Bard of Ayrshire, was part of the Romantic Movement and considered a key influential figure in Scottish literature. Celebrated on and around 25th of January, a traditional Burns Night affair consists of a meal followed by a recitation of Burns’ poetry. The menu for the evening includes the Scottish delicacy haggis (a savoury pudding containing sheep's offal), followed by some local whisky. The evening is a great way to have fun and make new friends for new expats in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Calling all book-worms! Edinburgh’s International Book Festival is said to be ‘the largest celebration of the written word’, and features over 800 authors from across the globe! The event takes place every August in conjunction with the Fringe Festival for two whole weeks. It celebrates the work of writers – from poets and novelists to historians and philosophers - in over 300 events. Hear from previous Nobel and Booker prize-winners this summer as they celebrate all things literary. 

Books set in Edinburgh
Probably the most well-known book set in the Scottish capital is writer Irvine Welsh’s first novel, Trainspotting. The gritty collection of short stories tells the tale of a group of locals and their life struggles.  Later made into a popular movie adaptation, Welsh’s classic explores the dark punk scene of 1980s Edinburgh. If you prefer books that make you think, then Ian Rankin’s collection of Inspector Rebus crime novels are set in and around the Scottish city. A great book for light-reading is One Day by David Nicholls; the modern novel follows the story of two lovers after meeting at Edinburgh University. 

Image source: Creative Commons/Kim Traynor

Other Cultural Highlights
It’s not only literature which Edinburgh has to offer when it comes to cultural highlights.  There’s also plenty for lovers of architecture - the Old Town is filled with character, from the winding alley-ways to the medieval skyline of Edinburgh Castle and, at over 200 years old, the misleadingly named ‘New’ Town features stunning neo-classical and Georgian buildings. And art lovers can also check out the National Portrait Gallery – one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings and home to over 3,000 paintings.

If you’ve made the move abroad, we want to hear from you! The 2014 Expat Explorer survey is now open! Take 15 minutes to help fellow expats by letting us know your views on life abroad and spread the word to expat family and friends by sharing the link here and using the hashtag #EESurvey14.


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