AS the fireworks fade over the Edinburgh skyline this Hogmanay, they will be replaced by a Message From The Skies.
Despite its name this is not something biblical, rather the stream of words that will illuminate buildings and landmarks across the capital is an innovative new approach to promoting literature.
A specially-commissioned short story by crime writer Val McDermid will be projected on to sites around the city from New Year’s Day until Burns’ Night, encouraging locals and visitors alike to take part in a walking tour through Edinburgh’s historic streets.
And Scotland’s Queen of Crime hopes her story, New Year’s Resurrection, will resuscitate the popularity of a forgotten 19th Century Scottish novelist, Susan Ferrier, who once outsold Jane Austen.
Susan will be integral to the plot of Val’s story, which also promises themes of murder and suspense that readers have come to expect from the author of The Wire In The Blood.
Val is excited not only about seeing her latest tale spectacularly projected on to some of Edinburgh’s most iconic sites, beginning with The Signet Library, but also to return Susan to the limelight.
Message from the Skies will be projected from 5pm-10pm daily from 1-25 January, and admission is free. For more information on the project and the app see www.edinburghshogmanay.com
Winning poems and stories from a writing competition for young people will be projected on to three of the same buildings from 4-5pm daily from 2-25 January. Developed with the help of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Message from the Skies turns the buildings of Edinburgh into the pages of a new short story by Val McDermid, written specifically for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Projected on to 12 buildings and landmarks in the Old and New Towns, it forms a route which audiences can follow between 5pm-10pm daily from 1 January until Burns Night. The project is one of the major arts components of this year’s Hogmanay Festival, and is co-ordinated by director and dramaturg Philip Howard, with projection and animation by young Edinburgh company DoubleTake Projections. While projecting words and images onto buildings now feels like a commonplace part of major festivals and events, projecting a complete story on to a series of buildings around a city is believed to be completely new. “It is a storytelling event with sound and animation and a few other things, but it’s still a short story by a very well known writer which works on the page,” says Howard, former artistic director at the Traverse Theatre who now runs emergent theatre company Pearlfisher. “It’s celebrating Edinburgh’s built environment and its status as Unesco World City of Literature, and it’s also a quasi-theatrical experience. We have quite a few tricks up our sleeve, but I think I’d have to be killed if I told you what they are.”
THE judges of the 2018 Man Booker Prize, the prestigious fiction prize, have been announced.
The 50th anniversary award jury is chaired by the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah.
He will be joined by Scottish crime writer Val McDermid, the critic Leo Robson, the writer and critic Jacqueline Rose and the artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton.
Gaby Wood, Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, says: “This year’s judging panel is not only stellar in its distinction, its members have a stunningly broad range of tastes and enthusiasms too.