'Literary quarter' plan for Edinburgh

'Literary quarter' plan for Edinburgh

A project to create an official literary quarter in Edinburgh has been launched, marking 10 years since the Scottish capital was made the world's first Unesco City of Literature.

Arts organisations and local property owners are banding together to create a new charitable trust to drive through plans for the city's Netherbow area, pedestrianising part of the Royal Mile and redeveloping neglected buildings.

The area, which is home to independent publisher Canongate, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the Scottish Book Trust and the Saltire Society, is where Scotland's first books were published in the 16th century.

Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust, told the Scotsman: "Our priority for the next three years will be the development of this new literature hub on the Royal Mile, around the Scottish Storytelling Centre at the Netherbow. There is a lot of ambition for the area and all the partners involved see the potential in it. It’s about getting money behind it now. The area is a hot spot of literature and living culture organisations and it’s an environment saturated in Scottish literature and culture from the medieval to the contemporary."

It is thought that £3m will need to be raised the realise the plans, which include redeveloping the Scottish Book Trust's headquarters, a restoration of a 15th century church building, a finding a use for the Royal Mile's Mowbray House.