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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 06:46 GMT
Literature scheme speaks volumes
Writers Museum in Edinburgh
The aim is to write a new chapter for writers and politicians
Efforts to forge closer links between politics and literature are being made during the first writer's residency at Holyrood.

Author James Robertson will spend the next few days in the new parliament building and will write about his experiences.

Robertson will give a reading from his book Joseph Knight to MSPs and leading artistic and literary figures.

He will also deliver three master classes to MSPs and Holyrood staff.

Joseph Knight was named Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year in 2003 and was this year's Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year.

I'm very much looking forward to getting into the bones of the Parliament
James Robertson

The author said: "This initiative is a huge opportunity for us to grab the attention of Scotland's politicians and encourage them to embrace books, reading, and Scottish literature as significant constituents of Scottish political and cultural life.

"Scotland's literary heritage is an important side of the national character, insofar as such a thing exists."

The writer added: "I'm very much looking forward to getting into the bones of the parliament and writing about my experience thereafter.

"As yet, I've no idea what form this will take or what the content will be, but I'm keen to find out."

Literary history

The scheme has been organised by the Scottish Book Trust, whose chief executive said it was a great idea.

Marc Lambert said: "This residency is a great way to underline the centrality of literature to the nation, to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament, and to signal the strength of Scottish writing today.

"Writers have always played a key role in helping to articulate and shape Scotland's sense of itself as a nation."

He added: "The relationship between writers and government is rich, complex, and fascinating.

"With this residency, we hope to provide an opportunity for MSPs to engage with this literary history and its themes, with the emphasis firmly on making it a pleasurable and interesting experience."

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