EdBookFest Day 12 – Mystery Book Sculptures & a Shoe Showdown

Books may have been read, wine may have been drunk, Alasdair Gray may have been back in town. The day, however, belonged to book art, and the story of these secret sculptures.

Mystery Book Sculptures

These beautiful book sculptures are gifts from a mystery artist, discovered at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Wednesday 24th August.

Despite the crowded Festival, full of school-children, no-one saw these artworks appear, and we have no idea who made them.


My colleague Ali found our gift on the City of Lit stand in the Entrance Tent, and together we squealed in utter delight as we fell in love with our delicate, heart-felt artwork.

We rushed to show Press Manager Frances, and the Press Pod came alive as photographers and Guardian journalists got just as excited as us.

Ali and I chatted to The Guardian‘s Michael MacLeod about our find – listen to it here, and watch the slideshow. We look so very chuffed.

Our sculpture is addressed to Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, and it’s made from a copy of James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner. The label reads:

To @EdinCityofLit – a gift

LOST (albeit in a good book)

This is for you in support of

libraries, books, words, ideas…

“No infant has the power

of deciding … by what

circumstances (they) shall

be surrounded” ~ Robert Owen

We soon discovered that we were not alone – the artist had left a book sculpture for the Book Festival too. Their gift was found in the Bookshop, and the label reads:

To @EdBookFest – a gift

This is for you in support of

libraries, books, words, ideas

…….. & festivals xx

The Six Book Sculptures

Six book sculptures have now appeared: the Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Storytelling Centre and Filmhouse each have a treasure and the National Library of Scotland have theirs on display.

Several of them are made from Ian Rankin books, but he hadn’t seen any of them in the flesh until today – Chris Scott got a snap of him as I showed our former Trustee the EdinCityofLit sculpture.

Literary Paparazzo Chris Scott has photographed all of the book sculptures – see them detail on his Book Sculpture web post.

Author Portraits

Our other photographer Chris was inspired to take a bookish image of Mr Rankin – more on that tomorrow. In the mean time, I’ve added a few more of his portraits to the Portraits exhibition page. Like these:

More Author Portraits >

Daily Shoe Challenge

I wore a sensible but stylish navy pair, with pinstripes, and just the right height of heel for running around the Book Fest showing off the stunning book sculpture.

My photographer was the Party Impressario Sponsorship Team’s Eli.

The Shoe Challenge So Far >

Having arranged a rematch with Ian Rankin, I didn’t want to wear anything too fancy – girls have nicer shoe options than blokes, and in Round One my patent heels clearly stole the show.

Round Two arrived, and I was confident of winning, but I under-estimated my opponent and his secret weapon of patterned socks.

I was soundly beaten, I think you’ll agree. To me, this means Best of Three…

Recent Stories

EdBookFest Day 11 – Soul Stealing, Story Shop & the Electric Lit Orchestra

EdBookFest Day 10 – Chairing, Yarns & a Literary Death Match

EdBookFest Day 9 – Pop-Up Bookshops, Sporting Obsessions and Author Portraits

EdBookFest Day 8 – Aussie Authors, Writing Careers and Ian Rankin’s Shoes

EdBookFest Day 7 – Literary Prize Winners and the Battle of the Shoes

EdBookfest Day 6 – Amnesty Authors, Kelpies and Silly Photos

EdBookFest Day 5 – Fairytale Meets Reality: Audrey Niffenegger & Neil Gaiman


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