Literature in Fife

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  • The statue of Alexander Selkirk at Lower Largo
    Statue of Alexander Selkirk in Lower Largo
  • Looking across the harbour at Crail in the East Neuk
    Crail
  • View over the Firth of Forth to the rail and road bridges
    Forth Rail Bridge
  • Looking across from the north shore of the Firth of Forth at North Queensferry
    Forth Rail Bridge from North Queensferry
  • Looking across West Sands beach and dunes towards St Andrews
    West Sands beach and dunes in St Andrews

With Scotland’s international poetry festival and a range of connections with fictional characters and bestselling authors and poets, the Kingdom of Fife’s literary connections are absolutely fascinating.

Whether you want to explore the setting of your favourite novel or get inside the mind of a world-renowned writer, a tour around the charming towns and villages of Fife can provide a fascinating literary journey.

Poetry greats William Dunbar and Robert Henryson have strong connections with Dunfermline and it is thought that they would have read their famous poems in Abbot House, which is now a public heritage centre.

Ian Rankin is the UK’s number one bestselling crime author and is well-known for the highly acclaimed Inspector Rebus series, which has been translated into 22 languages. Visitors can explore the former mining town of Cardenden where the author, and protagonist Detective Inspector John Rebus grew up.

Born in North Queensferry, Iain (M) Banks is perhaps most famous for his novels The Wasp Factory and The Bridge, the latter of which features the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. Val McDermid, another bestselling crime author, grew up in Kirkcaldy, and Aline Templeton, the creator of DI Marjory Fleming was raised in the fishing town of Anstruther in the East Neuk.

Nearby Lower Largo is the birthplace of Andrew Selkirk, the original castaway who spent four years on an uninhabited island and who is thought to be the inspiration behind Robinson Crusoe.

The University of St Andrews, Britain’s third oldest university, boasts several literary greats in its alumni which includes poets Gavin Douglas, Robert Fergusson and John Burnside. Also in the town, the wonderful StAnza Poetry Festival takes place every March. Visitors will love this modern and vibrant festival which fuses the crème de la crème of the poetry world from home and abroad.

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