Edinburgh ready for Book Week – Honour for the creator of The Illusionist – Livingstone exhibition opens today – Dog and Cat Home Christmas Fair – At The Cameo Tonight

“I read around 10 books a week and have read 500 books this year” says self-confessed Edinburgh booklover Lynn Steer, or ‘Library Lynn’ as the local children call her, who has been chosen from hundreds to be one of Book Week Scotland’s League of Extraordinary Booklovers.

Next week, during the first ever Book Week Scotland (26 November – 2 December 2012) run by the Scottish Book Trust, Lynn will be using her ‘superhero’ powers to inspire people to try out new books and genres through her recommendations.

A voluntary librarian for 7 years at Ratho Primary School, Lynn spends much of her time encouraging the children at the school to read. In recognition of her work, she was chosen to be one of 20 ambassadors for Book Week Scotland from hundreds of applicants and nominees.

She said: Libraries have always been a second home to me. When I’m not in one, I’m taking some of it home with me! I particularly like to find the right book for the right person at the right time, for which I have had great success, partly due to the fact that I read so many books of different genres.

“I’m always wondering who might enjoy each book I read and every gift I give is a book, whether for a birthday, Christmas or out of the blue – it’s the gift that keeps on giving if you can get someone hooked on reading!

“One of my local librarians said I rush in like an addict – ‘What have you got for me? I’m always talking about what I’m reading and asking people what they are reading; if I know what they like then I can tell what they will enjoy next. I am passionate about encouraging parents to read to their children – there is no better way to settle a child than to cuddle up at night reading to them and I believe this also gives them a head start in learning for school and for life.”

The League of Extraordinary Booklovers is just one of the many activities being run during Book Week Scotland to encourage both adults and children to get involved with reading.

Across Edinburgh City Libraries a number of author events will be run as part of the Scotland-wide ‘100 authors in 100 libraries’ programme. This includes ‘End of the Wasp Season’ author, Denise Mina; Glasgow Queen of Crime, Alex Gray and popular medical thriller author, Ken McClure, among others.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the inaugural Book Week Scotland and I’m very much looking forward to the series of events that will be held across the city. This is a great opportunity for everyone to share their love of reading and encourage others to get involved. I can think of no better place than Edinburgh, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, to get people excited about reading, writing and literature.”

Book Week Scotland is a celebration of books and reading for everyone in the country. People the length and breadth of Scotland are being encouraged to take part in the first ever week-long national celebration of reading, and to participate in a wide range of free events to be held throughout the week.


The award-winning filmmaker, Sylvain Chomet, who lovingly put Scotland and Edinburgh on screen in the animated hit, The Illusionist,after a five-year sojourn in the city, is to receive an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh this month.

Chomet who has settled back in his native France and is working on a new live action feature, will have the doctorate bestowed by Sir Timothy O’Shea, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at a ceremony in the McEwan Hall on 28 November during the run of the 20th edition of the French Film Festival UK of which he remains patron. The degree ceremony will be followed on 29 November by a civic reception at the City Chambers in honour of the French Film Festival and Chomet, hosted by the Lord Provost, Donald Wilson.

Chomet and his wife, Sally, his producer on The Illusionist, said they were delighted by the honour. “I am looking forward to returning to the city that I grew to love so much during my time there,” said Chomet.

Richard Mowe, a film critic and director of the French Film  Festival, said: “It is wonderful that the city’s most venerable University has seen fit to honour the talents of Sylvain.”

Chomet made his first feature film, Belleville Rendez-vous, in Quebec. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and secured a couple of Oscar nominations. Chomet visited Edinburgh when Belleville Rendez-vousscreened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2003, and “fell in love” with the city. Mowe met him at a Quebec cinema event in Paris and urged him to come to work in the city.

The Illusionist was based on a script that the great French icon JacquesTati had intended to make as a live-action film with his daughter. Tati died in 1982, but Chomet inherited his great ‘lost’ script because Tati’s daughter was so impressed with Belleville Rendez-vous, in which one of the characters watches Tati’s film Jour de Fête on television. The Illusionist, which won a BAFTA prize, was originally set in Prague and the Czechoslovakian countryside, but Chomet relocated it to London, and especially Edinburgh and Mull.

Chomet managed to find time while in Edinburgh to complete his first live action short film: part of a portmanteau project set around the French capital called Paris je t’aime, with various directors contributing, among them the Coen Brothers, Walter Salles, and Gus Van Sant. It was presented at the French Film Festival in 2007 in the presence of Chomet and Amelie producer Claudie Ossard.

Currently Sylvain Chomet (48) has returned to the City of Light to work on his first live action feature Attila Marcel, a musical comedy set in Paris. The main character, Paul (Guillaume Gouix), lost both his memory and the ability to speak at the age of two when his parents died. He lives a monotonous life with his two aunts until he meets Mme Proust. She has an herbal remedy that will allow Paul, now age 33, to travel back to the very beginning of his memory and discover what happened to his parents.


Tuesday 27 November – 6:30pm
Wednesday 28 November – 11:00 am

At the French Institute
13 Randolph Crescent
Edinburgh Midlothian EH3 7TT

Admission free

0131 225 5366 / www.ifecosse.org.uk/L-Illusionniste


The life and achievements of one of Scotland’s most famous explorers are the subject of a new exhibition, Dr Livingstone, I Presume?, opening today at the National Museum of Scotland.

Raising the curtain on a national celebration of the 200th anniversary of Livingstone’s birth (19 March 2013), the exhibition of around 100 objects draws together a wide range of artefacts, documents and artworks with a personal connection to Livingstone in one place for the first time.

Livingstone himself collected material for the collections of what is now National Museums Scotland, and examples on display will include a weaving loom, mineral samples and African artefacts. As well as objects from National Museums’ own collections, there will be loans from a wide range of institutions, including the David Livingstone Centre, the Royal Geographical Society, Glasgow Museums and the National Library of Scotland and private individuals.

Highlights include, on loan from the Royal Geographical Society, the hats reputedly worn on the occasion of the famous meeting between Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, the journalist working for the New York Herald, who tracked across Africa in pursuit of the missing Scot and, on finding him, uttered the immortal phrase which gives the exhibition its title. There will also be the tools of his trades, both as a missionary and an explorer. Poignant evidence of Livingstone’s first-hand observation of the slave trade that he so vehemently opposed is seen in the form of collars and chains that he himself removed from African slaves.

This exhibition traces his life story from humble beginnings to national hero. From his early working-life in a cotton mill to studying medicine and divinity and becoming a missionary in Africa, as well as the legacy which has led to strong modern-day links between Scotland and Malawi.


Something for your December diary here…

Christmas Fair Poster2010[1]Final PDF


Tonight at The Cameo you might be tempted by the new Philip Seymour Hoffman film with Joaquin Phoenix with the added bonus of Amy Adams in The Master. Showing at various time today from 12:00.