Rising stars of world literature to create work in Edinburgh

Ahsan Ridha Hassan from Krakow has been chosen to spend. Picture: contributed
Ahsan Ridha Hassan from Krakow has been chosen to spend. Picture: contributed
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International writers are set for a high-profile residency to immerse themselves in Edinburgh each year as part of a project launched to celebrate its status as the world’s first Unesco City of Literature.

The Lord Provost’s International Residency is expected to allow successful applicants to spend around a month in the city.

The initiative, which will be piloted next month, is expected to help rising stars of the global literary scene to create new work, as well as see them collaborate with Edinburgh-based authors and arts organisations.

The venture, which is aimed at helping writers to develop their own creative practice in the city, is open to novelists, short story writers, playwrights, screenwriters and even videogame creators.

Polish writer Ahsan Ridha Hasson, the first to benefit from the new initiative, is expected to help forge new links between his native Krakow, which has had the Unesco designation since 2013, and Edinburgh.

He will also be staying in one of the literary-themed rooms at The Place Hotel, in the city’s New Town, and will also have desk space at Edinburgh University thanks to backing from its Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities.

Edinburgh was designated the world’s first City of Literature 14 years ago and the honour has since been bestowed on a further 27 cities, including Reykjavik, Prague, Barcelona, Dublin and Melbourne.

The residency project is being led by the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust, which promotes the historic attractions, tours, notable landmarks and events linked to authors such as JK Rowling, Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Dame Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns.

Frank Ross, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, said: “The work undertaken by Edinburgh and Krakow as Unesco Cities of Literature has reinforced our partnership and allowed our creative communities to flourish and grow together. I want to congratulate Ahsan on securing this much sought-after residency and look forward to welcoming him to the world’s first Unesco City of Literature.”

Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust, said: “‘The Lord Provost’s International Residency is a great opportunity to showcase Edinburgh as a city of literature, as well as welcome one of Krakow’s most exciting new talents into our incredible creative community.”

Professor Steve Yearley, director of the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ahsan Ridha Hassan and the exciting, timely writing that his work represents.”