New chapter for mystery book sculptures

Media caption,
The first of the new sculptures was found by Emma Lister, a teaching assistant at Glasgow School of Art

The anonymous artist behind a series of intricate book sculptures which mysteriously appeared across Edinburgh last year has produced five new works.

The 10 original sculptures became a social media sensation and the artist was described as a "literary Banksy".

The artist, whose identity is still being kept secret, has produced the new works as part of Book Week Scotland.

The new sculptures, inspired by classic Scottish stories, have been hidden at secret locations across the country.

Clues released online each day this week will help literary fans to track them down and win their own sculptures.

The first was found on Monday by Emma Lister at Glasgow School of Art. It is a Lanark book sculpture inspired by Alasdair Gray's classic.

The original 10 sculptures were left at locations across Edinburgh between March and November last year.

They returned to the Scottish Poetry Library at the weekend after being seen by thousands of visitors while on display in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Dunfermline and at the Wigtown Book Festival.

The first of the sculptures appeared in March 2011, when the artist left an intricate paper 'Poetree' sculpture at the Scottish Poetry Library.

The work was based on the Edwin Morgan poem, A Trace of Wings, and had a gift tag attached which proclaimed that it was "in support of libraries, books, words and ideas".

Image caption,
This work - Lost (Albeit in a good book) - was left at the Edinburgh Book Festival and is created from a copy of James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Over the next eight months, a further nine "gifts" were left at locations around Edinburgh, including the National Museum of Scotland, the Writer's Museum, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the city's international book festival.

The book sculptures caused a sensation and were discussed around the world.

The identity of the artist remains a secret but she did reveal in a note to Poetry Library staff that she was a woman, who believed free access to libraries, art galleries and museums made life much richer.

After being contacted via an anonymous email address, the woman agreed to make five new sculptures for Book Week Scotland.

Marc Lambert, chief executive of the Scottish Book Trust, which organises Book Week, said: "It's an ideal time to celebrate these unique pieces of art, inspired as they are by a love of books, reading, and libraries.

"We are delighted that the artist has agreed to come out of retirement, if not hiding, to give booklovers across Scotland a chance to own one of these amazing homages to literature."

More than 350 free events will take place throughout book week.

Highlights include:

  • a pop-up book festival at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow on 1 December
  • 150,000 free copies of My Favourite Place - a collection of stories and poems written by the people of Scotland
  • The Reading Hour at 11:00 on St Andrew's Day (30 November) - a national celebration of books
  • The League of Extraordinary Booklovers - a band of bookloving volunteers aged from five to 75 years old who will be answering questions on books and reading during Book Week Scotland. Tweet them @BookWeekScot or email
  • Some of Scotland's best-loved authors will be visiting communities and hosting events all over the country including: Iain Banks in Loch Leven; Val McDermid in Orkney; Debi Gliori in Carnoustie; Janice Galloway in Benbecula; Christopher Brookmyre in Greenock and Vivian French in Glenrothes.

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