Merchiston exterior


‘Robert Louis Stevenson: New Perspectives’


Edinburgh Napier University 5-8 July 2017


The Centre for Literature and Writing (CLAW) at Edinburgh Napier University is delighted to be hosting the international Robert Louis Stevenson conference in July 2017. Under the title ‘Robert Louis Stevenson: New Perspectives’, the conference will be exploring the possibilities of fresh approaches which challenge traditional approaches to Stevenson’s works. The aim of the conference is to broaden the scope of Stevenson studies beyond the well-trodden literary terrain, to consider Stevenson’s lesser known works and to invite new applications of thought and theory to every aspect of this most multifarious of writers’ work.


The conference will begin on the afternoon of Wednesday 5 July and end at lunchtime on Saturday 8 July. Friday afternoon will be free for delegates to explore Edinburgh.


The full conference programme can be accessed here.

A complete list of abstracts of the papers presented can be downloaded here.


RLS Day is here again, with exciting events throughout the week leading up to Stevenson’s birthday on the 13th of November!

This years theme is Crime. Why not immerse yourself in the dark side of Stevenson’s psyche by reading Sins and Follies, containing three sinister stories by Stevenson?



Download your free copy here.

The full list of events can be found at the City of Literature’s website. Don’t forget to share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #RLSDay, and don’t forget to check back here for the highlights!



The Edinburgh Robert Louis Stevenson Club and Edinburgh Napier University have for three years collaborated on running a competition which aims to inspire young writers in Scotland by asking them to produce a piece of creative writing which draws on the rich and rewarding legacy that Robert Louis Stevenson has left us in his works of fiction, poetry, travel writing and essays.

On the 5th September, a masterclass was held for the writers of the best entries, led by Louise Welsh. This was followed by the prize-giving ceremony.


Louis Welsh Leads the Masterclass

Gillean Somerville-Arjat, of the Edinburgh Robert Louis Stevenson Club, provides this report:

‘Writers Shouldn’t Wear Headphones’


A big part of being a writer is being a listener, even assuming the role of a detective, observing and then processing what you hear and see. So said writer and Glasgow University creative writing professor, Louise Welsh, during her wide-ranging master class for the finalists in the 2016 Robert Louis Stevenson Club/Edinburgh Napier University Writing Competition, at the university’s Merchiston Campus on Monday 5 September. Seven finalists from all over Scotland attended and were initiated into the mysteries of where to find ideas, plotting a story, evoking a setting, theme, characterisation, using the five senses, creating conflict and how point of view affects narrative perspective, illustrated by examples from Stevenson’s own writing.

Louise, fresh from several months in the southern hemisphere, which included a trip to Samoa and Stevenson’s grave on Mount Vaea, is passionate about his work. She remembers as a small child her father reading Treasure Island to her and being terrified by the character of Blind Pew and the delivery of the black spot. She read the competition submissions while in the South Seas and was impressed by their diversity of subject matter and style, which, she felt, reflected Stevenson’s own diversity as a writer. After some group exercises she had many tips to share about the writing life, such as working your way through writer’s block, the place of play in creativity, the efficacy of topping and tailing a piece of writing and the importance of fully understanding your characters.

The overall winner was Stephanie Glendinning from Banchory Academy, the third winner from this school in as many years, with a vividly dramatic fiction set in a Japanese POW camp, inspired by her grandfather’s war memories. Runners up in the fiction category were: Phoebe MacDonald (Kirkcaldy High School), Kimberley Wong (Glasgow High School) and Nathan Copson (Gordon Schools, Huntly). Brogan Coll (Auchmuchty High School, Fife) won the reflective writing category with a heartfelt piece, appropriately entitled ‘Fierce’, about coming to terms with issues of gender orientation.



Stephanie Glendinning of Banchory Academy Receives Her Prize


Stevenson Unbound

Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre of Literature and Writing,

requests the pleasure of your company at a lecture on the

Ernest Mehew Robert Louis Stevenson Collection

by Nick Rankin, Writer and Broadcaster.

In 1983, Nick Rankin read Stevenson’s Fables to the blind Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges and was commissioned by Faber to write his first book, Dead Man’s Chest: travels after Robert Louis Stevenson, which took him from Scotland to Samoa. While writing it, he first met the civil servant Ernest Mehew, who was editing the definitive 8-volume Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson for Yale University Press and knew more about the Scottish writer than anyone else on earth.

Nick will give a short lecture on this rare collection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s papers, First Editions and other materials which is now housed at Edinburgh Napier University, and is being catalogued and made accessible to the public in a dedicated space, thanks to a generous bequest from The Mehew Estate, and PhD funding from the Dr David McNeil Summers Charitable Trust.

Date: Thursday 17 March 2016
Time: Lecture 6pm – 7pm
Venue: B2 Lecture Theatre, Merchiston Campus

The event is free but please register your attendance to

Happy RLS Day

RLS Day 2015: Stevenson on Stage and Screen

For RLS Day 2015 we are celebrating Stevenson on stage and screen. Events will be happening across the city of Edinburgh throughout the week and on 13 November, the day of Stevenson’s birthday, the city will be buzzing with RLS activity. Celebrations will culminate with the Edinburgh Napier University celebrity panel event at the prestigious Faculty of Advocates on the Royal Mile. Download the RLS Day Programme 2015.

Our panel for this year consists of actor and author Dr Nigel Planer chairing a discussion with composer Howard Blake OBE, and author and scriptwriter, Charlie Fletcher on how Stevenson has been adapted for stage and screen.

The evening will commence with a private screening of ‘The Land of Counterpane’, a short animated song cycle of selections from Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Howard Blake, famous for the animated film The Snowman, wrote the script and music, and also directed this unique adaption.

‘A Robert Louis Stevenson Stage & Screen Evening with Dr Nigel Planer, Charlie Fletcher, and Howard Blake OBE’

The event is hosted by our Chancellor Dr David Eustace and the Centre for Literature and Writing (CLAW), in partnership with the UNESCO City of Literature Trust.

Tickets and Info

Friday 13 November 2015
Tickets £7 – Buy here
Doors Open: 6pm
Screening and Panel: 6.30pm – 8pm