ROBERT Louis Stevenson Day celebrates the life and work of a much-loved Scottish author with a series of events on and around his birthday. We hope you will find something here to enjoy…
Saturday November 9
Velvet Coat: The Ragged Luck of Robert Louis Stevenson
ON the other side of the globe from Edinburgh, Stevenson fans in California will be celebrating the author’s birthday early as actor and writer Keith Decker travels back in time to 1879, when RLS took lodgings in Monterey while waiting for his future wife Fanny Osbourne to divorce her unfaithful first husband. A delicious ‘unbirthday cake’, courtesy of the Robert Louis Stevenson Club of Monterey, can be enjoyed following this free event for the over-16s, reservations required, call (831) 646 3933.
Community Room, Monterey Public Library, 625 Pacific Street, Monterey.
Monday November 11
Stevenson and Haggard
JOIN Stevenson expert and Dead Man’s Chest author Nick Rankin for a talk about RLS and H Rider Haggard, two writers who shared a taste for adventure reflected in their hugely popular novels. Yet the creators of Alan Breck and Allan Quatermain shared more than a place in world literature, for Stevenson became friends in Samoa with Haggard’s brother Bazett, the British Commissioner, despite his unfortunate habit of getting very drunk when invited to dinner at Vailima. This keynote curtain-raiser to RLS Week, hosted by Edinburgh Napier University, will be followed by a series of original dramas inspired by Stevenson’s travels, created by the university’s MFA Playwriting and Directing students.
Free, unticketed, St Augustine’s, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.
Tuesday November 12
Alvin Langdon Coburn In The Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson
ON the eve of Robert Louis Stevenson Day, Roddy Simpson invites you to discover the work of American-born twentieth century photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, who helped illustrate a 1954 edition of Stevenson’s book Edinburgh Picturesque Notes with a series of photographs. Taken in 1905, Coburn regarded these photographs as some of his “very best” work though he always regretted that he never got to meet Stevenson himself, who had died in 1894.
Patrick Geddes Centre, Riddles Court,, 322 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh. Tickets price £10 bookable here
RLS Day: Wednesday November 13
RLS Poetry in Locomotion
THE Colinton Tunnel project celebrates Stevenson’s birthday with the unveiling of new sections of mural within the old railway tunnel. Following the unveiling of a picture of RLS, children from the seven local schools involved in the project will be walking through the tunnel and reading out Stevenson’s poem From A Railway Carriage, written on the walls opposite the colourful illustrations. Join them at 11.30am, when as many people as possible are invited to do the same in an attempt to set a record for reading 140 metres of poetry in locomotion!!
The Colinton Tunnel, Water of Leith Walkway, Colinton. Bus No 10 from Edinburgh city centre, alight at Rustic Cottages. Tunnel on Google maps here
The Third Robbie
AS a poet, Robert Louis Stevenson felt a strong kinship with two other ‘Robbies’ – Robert Burns and Robert Fergusson. But his enduring reputation as author of classics such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde tends to overshadow his talents as a poet, beyond his ever-popular Child’s Garden of Verses. Now, to celebrate his 169th birthday, members of the Robert Louis Stevenson Club read from a wide variety of Stevenson’s poetry, from Scots verses to rival Burns or Fergusson to ballads, love poems and lines of great lyrical beauty.
Free one-hour event in the Stevenson Room of The Writers’ Museum, Lady Stair’s Close, Edinburgh.
A Musical Evening Celebrating
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Birthday
BRINGING together the work of Robert Louis Stevenson and composer Ronald Stevenson, this classical concert at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery features Brian Bannatyne-Scott (Bass) and Jan Waterfield (piano) performing settings of RLS poetry by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Songs of Travel) and Ronald Stevenson (Hills of Home), as well as Ronald Stevenson’s cycle Songs from Factories and Fields on poems by Hugh MacDiarmid. Tickets price £15 here
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh.
RLS – Rebel Poet
AS a young Bohemian at odds with the unco guid of Edinburgh, Robert Louis Stevenson found release in poetry, railing against Victorian hypocrisy, respectability and sexual repression. His verses could be angry, satirical and witty but also lyrical, reflective and sometimes delightfully silly. Join some of today’s poets and Stevenson fans for a reading of some lesser-known works, showing RLS was a match for his brother poets in a variety of styles, from Keats to Edward Lear, Walt Whitman, Auden, Joyce or Eliot, with even a foretaste of John Cooper Clarke. Free event, wine from 7pm, poetry from 7.30. As Stevenson declared, wine is bottled poetry!
Typewronger Books, 4A Haddington Place (city end of Leith Walk), Edinburgh.
Party Time in California
A BIRTHDAY Party for RLS is being held today by pupils at Sinaloa Middle School in Simi Valley, California. The students, who have been reading Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, will be filmed reading from Stevenson’s works and there will be a drawing contest to sketch his portrait, plus traditional party games, a ‘pin the stache’ challenge and plenty of cupcakes to eat. Eighth grade English teacher Amy Aras says: ‘In our own way, we are celebrating RLS Day with activities in class.’