Lighting up the Launch of Walter Scott 250

Ali Bowden
Director, Edinburgh
City of Literature Trust

16 March 2021

On Saturday 20 March, a light show will be held at Smailholm Tower in the Borders, launching a celebration of one of Scotland’s most famous sons.

Walter Scott 250 will be a year long programme commemorating various elements of Scott’s complex legacy, including his writing, his advocacy of the Scots language and his political work. The launch will be broadcast from Smailholm Tower, next to the farm where Scott lived as a child. Alongside a live projection on the tower, well-kent contributors will be lending their voices to the show, including Kirsty Wark, Brian Taylor, Diana Gabaldon, Damian Barr and Professor Sir Tom Devine.

“Smailholm Tower is next door to the farm where Scott lived as a boy, and his early experiences here continued to inspire him throughout his life. Scott’s life and death is written on the Borders landscape, so Smailholm’s intimate link with Scott gives it a particular potency and magic as we begin the celebrations of his 250th year.”

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive of Abbotsford

The full listings will be unveiled after the launch, which will include an event by the Scottish Storytelling Centre, in collaboration with Edinburgh City of Literature, which celebrate international connections inspired by the work of Sir Walter Scott.

Head to to see the launch show, which starts at 6pm on Saturday 20 March, followed by a Facebook Live showing of the projection from 6.30pm.

A Dynamic Legacy

  • Scott is perhaps best known as a writer of historical novels, primarily his series of ‘Waverley’ Novels, which were wildly popular throughout Europe.
  • He wrote his novels anonymously or under one of a series of pseudonyms, including Jebediah Cleishbotham, an imaginary schoolmaster and Parish Clerk.
  • He was also a poet, historian, biographer…and a clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, among other jobs
  • Edinburgh’s Waverley Train Station is the only station in the world named after a novel, which was celebrated in 2014 with the City of Literature’s Great Scott! campaign
  • The incredible Scott Monument was built eight years after his death, and is the largest monument dedicated to an author in the world.

Want to brush up on your knowledge of Scott ahead of the 250th anniversary celebrations? Stuart Kelly’s Scott-Land, published by Birlinn, explores Sir Walter’s life, works and impact on Scotland.