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The Lost World Read 2009

Edinburgh City of Literature The cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, and Portsmouth have announced that they will be joining together in a collaborative reading campaign in February next year. The Lost World Read 2009 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Conan Doyle, and the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Thousands of free copies of Edinburgh-born Conan Doyle's The Lost World will be distributed through libraries, schools and supporting partner organisations together with a ‘quick read' edition and a paperback comic biography on the Life of Charles Darwin. Edinburgh and the other cities will be joined by Shrewsbury, the county of Hampshire, and the 15 Library Authorities of South West England to make this the largest reading campaign in the UK - and it is hoped that other cities and local authorities will come on board.

An exclusive cover has been designed for the free edition of the book by Bristol's Aardman Animations, featuring their most famous creations, Wallace & Gromit. A spokesman from Aardman commented "Wallace and Gromit are big fans of reading and are so excited about being part of this project. They think it's great that so many people, up and down the country, are going to be joining in."

The reading campaigns in each area will be supported by a programme of public, community and schools events, including performances, films, discussions, debates and readings. A dedicated website will be launched in the New Year which will have details of all the activities in every part of the country.

Edinburgh's campaign will be led by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and Glasgow's by The Aye Write! festival. Although Glasgow has collaborated with other cities in previous years, this is the first time that Edinburgh and Glasgow will work together on their annual reading campaigns.

Ali Bowden, Director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust said "We are delighted to bring this wonderful book to Edinburgh and Glasgow next year. It is a fantastic adventure story for all ages, and from an author with a strong Scottish connection. The One Book One Edinburgh citywide reading campaigns have been growing in strength and popularity, and it is a logical step forward to collaborate with Glasgow in bringing this book to a wider Scottish audience."

Dr Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council said "‘Taking the hugely successful One Book One Edinburgh campaigns beyond Scotland's capital to Glasgow and Bristol is a logical evolutionary step, which makes the brilliant choice of book doubly ingenious - this is a ‘lost' classic that resonates right across history, time, and a whole range of intellectual disciplines, which will entrance readers from all walks of life'.

George Grubb, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, said "I'm sure that thousands of Edinburgh people will enjoy their free book making its famous plot the talk of the city. It's a great opportunity for people of all ages to visit the local library, not only for their free copy of The Lost World, but also to learn more about what fantastic services the city's libraries have to offer."

Karen Cunningham, director of Aye Write! in Glasgow said "I think the book is a wonderful choice, perfect because it not only celebrates a Scottish author but also has that link to Darwin and his theories. The book has a little bit of everything in it: it has excitement but also touches on a number of issues. Most of all it is a really good read, and Conan Doyle can really tell a cracking good story - we think it will appeal to everyone."

The Lost World Read 2009 will run throughout February 2009 and full details of the events and activities supporting the reading campaign, together with where you can claim your free copy of the book, will be released early in the New Year.

The Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust is looking for book groups, community groups and partners to join them in encouraging as many people as possible in Edinburgh to read the same book at the same time. If you are interested, and want to get your friends, staff or colleagues involved and claim free books for your group, please register by contacting

For further information and the Aardman Animations Ltd image of The Lost World please contact:
Frances Sutton
Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust Tel: 07841 579481

Supported by The City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Arts Council

Background information:
One Book One Edinburgh
The One Book One Edinburgh citywide reading campaigns aim to bring as many of the city's residents together reading the same book at the same time. Through schools, libraries, book groups, and community groups, free books are distributed and the campaign backed by a busy programme of events and activities taking place throughout Edinburgh.

The first One Book One Edinburgh citywide reading campaign, co-ordinated by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, took place in 2007 when thousands of free copies of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped were distributed throughout the city. As well as a paperback edition of the original text, four editions of a sensational graphic novel by Alan Grant, and illustrated by Cam Kennedy were also made available - the original story, a Scots edition, a Gaelic edition and a modern text version. Every primary and high school in the city participated in the campaign. In 2008, another Stevenson classic - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde - was selected and again the original text paperback was supported by a graphic novel by Grant and Kennedy.

Darwin 200
Darwin 200 is a national programme of events celebrating Charles Darwin's scientific ideas and their impact. The core period of activity will run between two landmark dates: 12 February 2009, the bicentenary of Darwin's birth, and 24 November, the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. Darwin revolutionised the thinking of his day by placing humans firmly within the natural world, and his innovative thoughts are just as important in the 21st century. His concept of evolution through natural selection has been described as 'one of the most illuminating scientific ideas of all time'. Many organisations, large and small, across the UK are planning a variety of events to celebrate the life and legacy of Charles Darwin. From conferences and exhibitions to graphic novels and dramatic performances, there is something for everyone from scientists to young children. Visit for further details.

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