Those Edinburgh Paper Sculptures … now a book!

I have blogged here often about the amazing little paper sculptures that mysteriously appeared tucked on shelves in Edinburgh libraries. Here are only two examples of these detailed and remarkably creative little gems: two skeletons having a party, and the tiny Tyrannosaurus Rex that burst from the pages of The Lost World.

Over time, as the collection grew, a connection to Ian Rankin was rumoured, since so many of these masterpieces were based on Rankin’s work.

(Now, Ian Rankin, as you may remember, is the famous Scottish author who I met briefly in Harrogate at a hotel bar back in 2009 and who generously offered to let me use his name to contact his publisher about my then unpublished manuscript. The rest, as they say, is history.)

It seems that things have come full circle!

Today I received a completely unexpected email from Neville Moir, the publishing director at Polygon Books in the UK. It turns out that my blog posts about these sculptures became the inspiration for a book! Here’s what he wrote: 


You will be interested to read this article from The Edinburgh Evening News about the Edinburgh book sculptures. You will be amazed to learn that the inspiration for the book Gifted came from you. One of my colleagues, who is based in England, only found out about these amazing works of art through your blog and she suggested we publish a book. 

With some good fortune all the pieces fell into place; the wonderful curator of the Scottish Poetry Library found the money for a touring exhibition, coaxed the anonymous artist to contributing to the book and she also wrote a short text describing the excitement and mystery that gripped Edinburgh as the sculptures were discovered. And all done in support of ‘libraries, books, words and ideas’. Fantastic.

Fantastic indeed! The attached article, a newspaper story,  explains how Ian Rankin, who knew the artist, persuaded her to participate. Although she remains anonymous, she contributed an epilogue as well as a map to the sculptures. And soon, it seems, the sculptures themselves will be on tour. (Wow, I wish I could be in Scotland to see that: the photographs alone just make me smile.)

Why did she do it? Well, apparently she thought she should do more to support libraries than simply sign a petition, and believes that libraries are rich, important resources, ones she hopes will remain not just for children but her grandchildren.

How marvellous to have played even a small role in the evolution of this story! I can’t wait to see the book.

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