City of Literature enLIGHTen project

Quotes from Scotland's finest Enlightenment minds to illuminate the capital


JL Williams

Back in 2010, a City of Literature initiative used Edinburgh as the backdrop to the Carry a Poem campaign. On Valentine’s Day that year, arm-in-arm lovers and single folks mooching around the centre of town on their tod were stopped in their tracks by a line of Douglas Dunn’s ‘Disenchantments’ being projected onto the side of Edinburgh Castle. Such an attention-grabbing campaign is being revisited this year with enLIGHTen.

Every evening from St David’s Day to the day after St Patrick’s Day, between 6pm and midnight, buildings in the centre of the capital will be illuminated by a series of huge light projections featuring quotations from some of Scotland’s iconic Enlightenment minds. As eye-opening as all that will be, the project is not simply left there.

A series of modern poets and authors have been commissioned to create a response to those bon mots which will be turned into free audio downloads. Among those contemporary writers will be Gavin Inglis, William Letford, Kirsty Logan, Ken MacLeod, James Robertson and JL Williams. The whole event should prove to be a sensory literary experience the likes of which Edinburgh has never seen.

Edinburgh, Thu 1–Sun 18 Mar.


A series of huge light projections adorn buildings in the centre of Edinburgh – a UNESCO-designated World City of Literature, no less – with quotations from some of the city's great Enlightenment thinkers. To add to the experience, at literary locations around the city, responses to some of this wisdom have been created…

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