I went to two events this week which celebrated words and literature. The first was the Edinburgh Literary Salon, which meets on the last Tuesday of every month (except August and December) and is for anyone with a “professional interest in literature”. I have to admit that that last phrase, taken from the City of Literature’s website, put me off going to the salon for a while. I thought I would feel like a bit of a gate-crasher. In fact, everyone was very welcoming and friendly. I spoke to loads of different people: writing and literature students, authors, City of Literature employees… It was an informal evening, great fun, and there were free sandwiches.
The second event was a tour of the Jenny Holzer exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery. Holzer’s work incorporates text that she has written herself or borrowed from elsewhere. We saw blown up American military maps of Iraq annotated with words like “exploit” and “seize” which Holzer acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. There were walls covered with printed statements and an LED display of seven vertical bars with messages flowing up them. My favourite works were the paintings: large blocks of colour which appeared to be obscuring some text underneath.