A New Voice For Canongate Wall

The Canongate Wall courtesy of wikimedia
The Canongate Wall courtesy of wikimedia

By Elizabeth Gorrie

A new quotation is to be added to the Canongate Wall to mark the tenth anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, it has been announced.

The wall, which surrounds part of the Parliament building, currently displays 24 quotations related to Scotland and the Parliament. These include poetry, proverbs and psalms by the likes of Sir Walter Scott, Charles Rennie MacKintosh, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burn’s ‘To a Louse’.

Presiding Officer Sir Alex Ferguson said, “The Canongate Wall was always supposed to be a living wall – one that we would add to when the time was right. We believe that as we approach our tenth anniversary, that time is now.”

A group of literary experts and members of the Art Advisory Group have been enlisted to decide what will be the 25th quoation, which is to be announced on St Andrews Day this year.

Ferguson stressed the group’s wish for the public to get involved. “We are asking people to nominate a well-loved or significant piece of writing that is relevant for Scotland, perhaps something that expresses how they feel about Scotland, what it means to be Scottish, or hopes for the future.”

The wall can feature living or dead writers and suggestions can be written in English, Gaelic or Scots. The deadline is 31st August and submissions should be no more than 50 words.

To date, none of the 24 quotations have been taken from female authors. Some, including Laura, a Scottish Literature graduate, believe that this needs to change. “Some of Scotland’s greatest contemporary works of literature have been written by women, however masculinity is dominating the literary world and the wall could be a way to change this,” she told Edinburgh Napier News.

Suggestions so far have included Janice Galloway, Carol Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead all of whom are popular female Scottish authors and poets. Other authors, such as Edwin Muir, James Kelman and Norman MacCaig have also been put forward for a place on the wall.