Edinburgh honour for Harry Potter author JK Rowling

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has been honoured by the city where she first brought her fictional saga to life.

The Edinburgh Award 2008 was bestowed upon the writer by the council of the Scots capital in thanks for her contribution to the city.

The honour, which has been presented twice, recognises residents who have raised the city's profile through their work.

Her engraved handprints in Caithness stone are in the grounds of Edinburgh's City Chambers, alongside those of fellow Edinburgh author Ian Rankin. He won the honour in 2007, the first year of the Edinburgh Award.

The story behind the creation of the bestselling books, with the single mother trying desperately to write the young wizard's story at snatched moments in Edinburgh, has become a famous tale in its own right.

Rowling, who still has a house in Edinburgh, spoke of her delight and welcomed the decision to honour the "keyboard-chipped fingernails" of a writer.

"I was delighted to receive the Edinburgh Award, as this city and its wonderful inhabitants have meant so much to me for the last 15 years.

"I think it is particularly appropriate for a writer's hands to be represented, so I am deeply honoured to have my keyboard-chipped fingernails, not to mention my pen-induced friction callous, commemorated in the place where I produced Harry Potter."

George Grubb, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, said: "With the installation of the beautifully crafted stone bearing Ms Rowling's handprints, the City Chambers quadrangle is fast becoming a lasting visual testimony to some of Edinburgh's greatest living citizens.

"Our city is home to a huge wealth of talented individuals who truly put Edinburgh on a global stage through their achievements."

Nominations are now being taken for the Edinburgh Award 2009, and can be for someone whose work has contributed to the world of science, culture, sports, enterprise, technology, charity or education.

A nominee must have been born in Edinburgh or resided in the city for the past 12 months.