Edinburgh City of Literature
as Literary Ninjas

Rebecca Raeburn –
Communications Assistant

Sian Bevan –
Former Programme Manager

Ali Bowden – Director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust

Rebecca Raeburn

What were you like at school?

Super paranoid. I was always worried about getting in trouble, and it didn’t help that most of my classmates were always waiting until you tripped up so they could tell the teacher on you. I once even made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t say a word to anyone in class unless the teacher asked me a question – it lasted a day. My problem was that even when I thought I wasn’t speaking, I usually was.

What inspires you about the Super Power Agency?

From a young age I readily accepted the fact that books and reading were special – that nothing really compared to the power of being able to set off on a journey into another world without even having to leave your house. I am inspired by the passion driving the Super Power Agency because it reflects all of my beliefs about the importance of literacy for children everywhere.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?

I’d be the reinvented ‘mauvelous’ that was phased out years ago because what kind of crayon wouldn’t want that name?

Are you a town or a country mouse?

Country Mouse! Without a doubt. I grew up in the country and get claustrophic when I spend too much time in the city. Call it cliché but I love the open fields and fresh air – I love the animals, the sense of freedom, and the fact that there seems to be more time because life isn’t as fast paced as it is in the city. I like to find a balance, however, because the world’s cities are rife with stories and to steer clear of them would be to miss out on so much.

Sian Bevan

What were you like at school?

I always quite liked school: I wasn’t the cleverest in my class, but I was lucky that I had really nice pals. I was pretty accident prone though: one time I managed to get jabbed in the eye with a biro. I can confirm that’s really painful.

What inspires you about the Super Power Agency?

I love stories. I also love comedy, and comedy is mainly just telling funny stories and I think if you can work out how to tell the stories in your head, you can work out how to do nearly anything.

What’s your favourite thing about Edinburgh?

In the city I properly love the National Library of Scotland. The first time I went in there I hardly breathed: I couldn’t believe I was allowed in there, and thought I was going to get chucked out at any minute. It took a few times but now I love that anyone is allowed to go into a building and read any book – like ANY book – they want for free. Amazing.

Who or what would you choose if you had an imaginary friend?

I used to have an imaginary friend called Nicola who I mainly blamed things on. Weirdly, my parents sometimes accepted that it was Nicola who had broken something or not eaten the peas. This explains a lot about how I turned out.

Ali Bowden

What were you like at school?

Very, very quiet in class – suspiciously quiet. Out of class, I was constantly cracking jokes to try and make people like me.

What inspires you about the Super Power Agency?

Reading and writing is a super power and what I love about the Agency is that it’s there to help everyone power-up so that they can use their super power in any way they choose.

Are you a spring, summer, autumn or winter person?

I am without doubt, no questions asked, for definite an autumn person. I mean really, there’s no contest. Autumn! The colours, the leaves, the cosy fires, the sunsets, the hot drinks, the it’s-almost-Christmas thing, the clear night sky, the rolling over in your duvet and having an extra nap because it’s just a bit blowy outside. Autumn!

If you could only take one book to a desert island with you, what would it be?

I’m taking a dictionary, a big fat, no-messing dictionary. And I will rummage deep in that spectacular book each day and then wander around my desert island telling the wind that it is ‘mellifluous’ and note the clouds as being ‘darkle’ and tell the trees that they are ‘lackadaisical’ and when I’m tired, I’ll sit on it because big fat books make great wee stools.