Media release: Edinburgh marks 25 years of Christmas tradition with one-off literary event

A MEETING of literary giants is planned to take place in Edinburgh as part of the celebrations surrounding the 25th anniversary of the city’s Christmas tree, gifted by Norway as a symbol of the two countries’ cultural and historical links.

This November, one of Scotland’s favourite detective novelists, Ian Rankin, and one of his Norwegian counterparts, Gunnar Staalesen, will come together for an unique seminar to discuss their legendary creations – John Rebus and Varg Veum – which share remarkable parallels despite being conceived an ocean apart.

Begins a spokesperson: “The characters of Rebus and Veum are synonymous with their home cities; Edinburgh and Bergen. Whilst their individual storylines and depicted lifestyles are influenced by the nature of the world around them, both are renowned for their unconventional attitudes as solitary divorcees with a disregard for authority.

“Not only do the characters share stark similarities, but the cities in which they are based are also renowned for their various twinned elements. Whilst Edinburgh’s Christmas tree was originally donated from the Norwegian city of Bergen, the links between the two cities extend far beyond this festive tradition.

“Both are classed as UNESCO World Heritage sites; are greatly influenced by their years as major European trading ports; host a world-class International Festival each year; and are widely recognised for their unusual combination of big city qualities and small town charm.

“Chaired by former director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Catherine Lockerbie, the anniversary event will be held on Friday 26 November 2010 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. Tickets are free.”

Those interested in attending should forward their name, address and contact number to to be entered into a draw for selection on Wednesday 17 November, at 5pm. For further information, visit

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Contact: Debbie Standen