The once one-day celebration of this Scottish novelist on his birthday (13th November and RLS Day), has evolved into a string of festivities uniting communities across Edinburgh, Stevenson’s birthplace. After all, the man created literary gold and his works inspired other great Scottish writers such as Ian Rankin and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Stevenson, who is amongst the 26 most translated authors in the world, was a novelist, essayist, and travel writer. He spent his latter years until his death in Upolu, Samoa, where he was bestowed with the title of ‘Tuisitala’ or ‘Teller Of Tales’.
Although not strictly a crime writer, there is no denying his links to the genre. For instance, Stevenson drew inspiration from his surroundings, such as the devilish deeds of notorious body snatchers Burke and Hare and the menacing acts of Deacon Brodie, while Kidnapped was based around the Appin Murder. Stevenson was also friendly with and influenced by another one of Scotland’s literary jewels, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
Recent studies at the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust state that Stevenson would reach millionaire status if he published crime stories today. With this in mind, Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has seen over 200 film adaptations since the 1908 film produced by William N. Selig. Today, it is estimated that Stevenson would receive over £200,000 for this particular novel. In a nutshell, if Stevenson were alive today, he would most likely earn similar amounts to the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Christopher Brookmyre.
From literary walks and screenings to cocktails, talks and readings, here are a few highlights of the free must-see events at RLS Week 2016.
Who Shot The Red Fox?
📅 Monday, 7th November
Join the creator of Stevenson Way, Ian Logan, for an hour long talk about the 1752 murder of Colin Campbell, or ‘The Red Fox’. Learn how this event kick started the largest manhunt in Scottish history and inspired Stevenson to write Kidnapped.
RLS Hush Hour
📅 Tuesday, 8th November 7, 2016
Grab a drink and enjoy some sociable reading time with a book at this unique RLS Day event.
The Appin Murder And Other Crimes
📅 Thursday, 10th November
And the Scottish Storytelling Centre nails it again! Pop in any time throughout the day and prepare to be transported into the mind of Stevenson through readings by members of the Robert Louis Stevenson Club. Crime, of course, will be the topic.
📅 Saturday, 10th November
Make way for Makars’ Court and don’t stop until you reach the Writers Museum. See a short film about Kidnapped and how it helped inspire Stevenson Way walk. Don’t miss the group discussion after.
Stevenson Way Walk
📅 Sunday, 13th November
Walk in the footsteps of the great RLS — literally! Start at the Hawes Inn, grab a pre-walk bite or drink and wander down the coastal path to Cramond, lead by the Stevenson Way.
For more information regarding events, times and dates, consult the official RLS Week 2016 Guide.