Canongate Talks is a new series of events in Edinburgh with leading writers and thinkers from science, literature, philosophy, psychology, arts and culture, which we hope will add to our city’s rich cultural and literary heritage. Held in association with Waterstones, the talks will take place in various prestigious and beautiful venues across the city, opening these usually private spaces to the general public.
Edinburgh was, of course, a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment, an astonishing time of intellectual, artistic and scientific exploration which gave us David Hume, Adam Smith, Alison Rutherford, James Hutton and Sir Walter Scott among many others. Their ideas were often controversial, but their belief in the rights of an individual to argue their ideas in public gave birth to a new climate of cultural freedom which included ordinary people as well as intellectuals.
Our programme aims to reflect these values with speakers who will discuss inspiring, innovative and sometimes unconventional ideas in an environment which encourages the public to engage in the debate.
Check out our events with Jonah Lehrer, Richard Holloway and Oliver Burkeman below.
Oliver Burkeman takes a thoughtful look at the lengths we'll go to be happy, and how the antidote to all our failed attempts at happiness may well lie within the very things we work so hard to avoid.
Acclaimed neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer explores the necessity of grit, the value of epiphany and how you're a far more creative person that you might have imagined.
Former Bishop of Edinburgh and outspoken author Richard Holloway discusses his long-awaited memoir Leaving Alexandria and why he finally left the church.