Canongate Wall - your suggestions

Gillian Forbes pictured with the two new quotationsTo mark the tenth anniversary of the Scottish Parliament and ten years of devolution, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body agreed that one or two new quotations should be added to the Canongate Wall, which forms part of the boundary of the Scottish Parliament building.

Public suggestions were invited via the Parliament website and via postcards distributed to book festivals and libraries across Scotland and almost 300 suggestions were received. A panel of MSPs and external experts met to consider these suggestions.

The panel selected two new quotations, bringing the total number of quotations on the Wall to twenty six.


The Panel

Robin Harper MSP, Chair

Robyn Marsack, Scottish Poetry Library

Jeremy Purvis MSP

Patricia Ferguson MSP

Ted Brocklebank MSP

Ian McKee MSP

Marion Bourbouze, Scottish Book Trust

Professor Douglas Dunn, Poet and academic


The selected quotations were:

From Mary Brooksbank’s Oh Dear Me (The Jute Mill Song)
Oh, dear me, the warld’s ill-divided,
Them that work the hardest are aye wi’ least provided,
But I maun bide contented, dark days or fine,
For there’s no much pleasure livin’ affen ten and nine.

From Norman MacCaig's A Man in Assynt
Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?
False questions, for this landscape is masterless and intractable in any terms that are human.

Mary Brooksbank is the first female writer to be represented on the Wall.


The new stones, carved by Gillian Forbes from Perthshire , were unveiled for public viewing by the Presiding Officer on December 17.

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