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Behind the scenes at the Scottish Poetry Library

Gifted: The Edinburgh Book Sculptures on Tour 2012

Rarely a day goes by at the Scottish Poetry Library without an inquiry about the mysterious book sculptures that were discovered in various Edinburgh venues throughout 2011. The first and the last of the sculptures were discovered in the SPL. The only question asked more often than ‘Do you know the identity of the sculptor?’ is ‘When will an exhibition of sculptures take place?’ The waiting is over.

The Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh's UNESCO City of Literature Trust announced today that the ten book sculptures will embark on a tour of Scotland. All ten will be displayed in public together for the first time as libraries across the country (as well as the Wigtown Book Festival) host these wondrous works of art.

The tour is called Gifted : The Edinburgh Book Sculptures on Tour 2012 and it begins on August 17th, taking in Aberdeen, Dundee, Wigtown, Glasgow and Dunfermline before returning to Edinburgh on the 24th November ahead of Book Week Scotland.

Speaking at the announcement, Scottish Poetry Library Director Robyn Marsack said, “These book sculptures have moved us not only because of their exquisite and intelligent craft, their tribute to what all of the recipient organisations try to nurture and share, but also because they are the purest of gifts, unrequested and anonymous.”

Between March and November 2011, ten intricate book sculptures were found at various well known institutions across Edinburgh that celebrate reading, writing, and telling stories. Photographed as they were found by Edinburgh based photographer Chris Scott, they became a social media sensation. News and images of sculptures were hosted on over 100 different blogs and news sites as the act of generosity captured the imagination of millions around the world. The SPL fielded questions from American newspapers and film crews from Germany, while Ian Rankin and Rory Bremner visited the SPL as part of a documentary that is being made about the sculptures.

This tour will coincide with the publication of a book about the sculptures, Gifted – The Tale of 10 Mysterious Book Sculptures Gifted to the City of Word and Ideas, published by Birlinn, to be launched on the works’ return to Edinburgh. The tour will be marked by a series of events in each location, celebrating the artworks and encouraging audiences to explore their purpose and inspiration.

The full tour details are:

Aberdeen Central Library: Friday 17 August – Thursday 6 September 


Dundee Central Library: Friday 7 September – Tuesday 25 September 


Wigtown Book Festival: The Studio: Friday 28 September – Sunday 7 October


Mitchell Library, Glasgow: Tuesday 9 October – Saturday 27 October


Dunfermline Carnegie Library: Tuesday 30 October – Sunday 18 November


Scottish Poetry Library: Saturday 24 November – Saturday 8 December

We want everyone who visits the exhibition to get involved. Post your photos and tell us what you thought on Twitter, using the hashtag #GiftEDtour and connect on Facebook at the SPL’s page and on the events page we’ve set up for Gifted.

Category: exhibition