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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dundee Literary Book Trail

Hang out the flags, blow up the balloons, I think I might have arrived! I’ve made my mark on the literary map. Well, it’s a comparatively small literary map. But I’m right there on it.

The map I’m talking about is the map for the Dundee Literary Trail. Have a look at this description on STV Dundee, with the header Dundee’s first literary trail could be a best-seller idea.
Map of Dundee Literary Trail - I'm location 29
The literary trail is a map that plots locations and buildings mentioned in books set in Dundee. The walk covers 15 miles of the city and has 48 stops enroute. But because of the distance it is divided into 3 parts. So those on the walk can choose which one they want to do. The Eastern walk, the Western one, or the Central one. I chose the Central walk because that is the one that features me.
Walkers meeting outside the Wellgate Library

Apparently 20 local authors contributed to the map, and I’m one of them. Some of the others include my good friends, Eileen Ramsay, and Russell McLean. Others included were Alexander McGregor, who wrote The Law Killers, Mae Stewart, Chae Strathie and others too numerous to mention. Some of the more famous names on the trail were Agatha Christie, George Orwell, and Jacqueline Wilson. My apologies for not mentioning everybody but with 48 stops, that means more than 48 authors and there just isn’t room.

The STV article did ask if Dundee was the most literary city in Scotland, and I certainly hope it’s up there among the front runners because that’s where I set most of my novels.
Witches Blood to commemorate the last witch burned in Dundee

Walkers heading for Dundee Sheriff Court

Anyway, I joined the literary walk for the central area. We met outside the Wellgate Library and commenced our walk down to the city centre where we took in the scene of Grizzel Jaffray’s burning as the last witch in Dundee, and was featured in The Curewife, Claire-Marie Watson’s Dundee International Prize winning book as well as William Blain’s classic novel Witches Blood. Further down the High Street we stopped to admire Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx from the DC Thomson popular comics the Beano and the Dandy. Then on to The Howff, the historical cemetery which is the scene of many a nasty Dundee murder including some I have committed myself – on paper I may add, unless I give you the wrong impression. Various other sites were visited including Dundee Sheriff Court, and even the Deep Sea fish and chip shop where some of my characters buy their fish suppers. 

The Howff Cemetery where a grisly murder in The Death Game takes place

The Deep Sea Restaurant where DS Bill Murphy buys his fish and chips

We took in Scott’s ship The Discovery, walked along the riverside where Macgonagall is commemorated on the paving stones, traversed Magdalen Green, and up the hill to the George Orwell Pub for a welcome drink before the organisers departed for Walk 3 of the day. One of them was wearing a mileometer and informed us that the walks had covered 14 miles. I was glad I’d only taken part in the second walk, and on enquiring how many miles the central walk had covered, I was told almost 5 miles. No wonder I was feeling knackered.

I left the group at that point, wished them well with walk three, and dragged myself back to my car, which I reckoned added another mile onto the walk I’d already done. The price of fame does not come cheap!

Chris Longmuir

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