On 1st February 2007, I was standing between Edinburgh’s Scott Monument and Waverley Station, giving away thousands of copies of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Kidnapped. The event kicked off a high-profile, month-long campaign to raise the profile of reading in Scotland, and to celebrate Edinburgh’s literary heritage.
Six editions of Kidnapped were created in partnership with four Scottish publishers – a classic novel, a quick read and four specially commissioned graphic novels, in English, Scots, Gaelic and a modern, plain text for emerging readers.
The Times singled out the Kidnapped graphic novel for a special mention on the Books for Boys list.
Kidnapped held three positions in the Scottish Top 10 Bestseller list, and was serialised in the Edinburgh Evening News.
Profile and prominence – we achieved 200 press articles across 22 publications, with a ciculation of over 3 million. The campaign had two cover features, a BBC Radio 4 feature and BBC and STV news broadcasts, reaching a television audience of over 1.3 million.
This campaign will have worked if even one new reader comes to Stevenson – whether they find him in the graphic novel version, the Scots or the modern English. – Ian Rankin, Writer & Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trustee
The proportion of the less affluent groups was higher than usually expected when profiling audiences for cultural events and activities. – The Audience Business
Motion passed in the Scottish Parliament congratulating Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature staff on the campaign.
“The most successful free offer we have ever run.” – The Big Issue in Scotland
“It is wonderful that one book can bring the city together to read.”- Lord Provost Lesley Hinds
What Happened Next?
Two years in the making, One Book – One Edinburgh: Kidnapped was a resounding success, and it was assumed that the campaign would run again in 2008. With just six months to pull together partners, a project and a publication, One Book – One Edinburgh: Jekyll & Hyde was born.