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English - Doyle, Darwin and dinosaurs

Thousands of free copies of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World will be distributed in Edinburgh and Glasgow to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the author's birth and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

The 2009 Citywide Reading Campaign, to be launched in February, will also make available a "quick read" edition of Edinburgh-born Doyle's 1912 novel about the discovery of dinosaurs in South America, as well as a biography of Darwin.

This year's campaign will also take place in Bristol and Hampshire, and in library services in south-west England. More participants are being sought. A cover has been designed for the free edition of Doyle's book by Bristol's Aardman Animations, featuring their most famous characters, Wallace and Gromit (pictured).

Events in Edinburgh will be led by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, while Glasgow's will be part of the Aye Write! festival. Details will be released in the New Year.

Aye Write! director Karen Cunningham said: "I think the book is a wonderful choice, perfect because it not only celebrates a Scottish author but also has that link to Darwin and his theories."

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