One City: A Just Capital?
In 2005, the OneCity Trust and some of Edinburgh’s most famous authors created One City, a collection of short stories with the aim of fighting poverty and social exclusion across the city. January 2022 will see the publication of a new One City anthology – it’s a stunning collection of multi-generational short stories linked to Edinburgh. Contributing authors Nadine Aisha Jassat, Sara Sheridan and Anne Hamilton take the stage alongside original contributors Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Irvine Welsh, to read from their essays and discuss how Edinburgh can become ‘One City.’
Twenty-one years since former Lord Provost Lesley Hind’s Poverty Commission, and a year on from the Edinburgh Poverty Commission’s report, A Just Capital, the event considers whether anything has improved. With poverty on the increase and inequality deepening, is Edinburgh still a divided city? The event is chaired by Lesley Hinds, founder of the OneCity Trust, a charity established in 2003 from Edinburgh’s Lord Provost’s Poverty Commission, which supports projects which tackle social injustice and inequality in Edinburgh.
This novel was published when I was fifteen-years old and had just left school. I read it, like many others of my generation, with a sense of overwhelming recognition for a culture and language that we had not been seen by a writer of our times.
The style, intellect, drive, energy and sheer velocity of flawed humanity was compelling and influential.
For some reason I feel it is too often overlooked as a literary work that depicts a culture just as much as many other writers do in different ways — Down and Out in Paris and London by Orwell, Journey to the End of Night by Celine, The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al-Aswaany, Alice Walker’s mighty novel The Color Purple, William Burroughs (who appears in Luckenbooth) or the inimitable and formidable intellect of James Baldwin, ZZ Packer, Hunter S. Thompson — so many more.
The idea that Scottish literature exists in a vacuum where, if it depicts working class culture, it can only contain a mono-reality that is resolutely inward, — is something that still bemuses me.
Trainspotting kicked many doors down, for good reason, it wasn’t playing nicely and it is all the better for it.