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My hero: Robert Burns by Alex Salmond

Scotland's first minister pays tribute to the national bard

Robert Burns is a cultural and literary icon, whose poetry transcends culture, creed and era. Whether in traditional publications or online, his work continues to thrive. This year, I delivered the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns address at the Dunblane Youth Burns Club and it was fantastic to see younger generations fully appreciate the global contribution of Scotland's national bard.

Thousands of Burns celebrations take place across the world, from Boston to Beijing, every year. Bob Dylan named Burns as his greatest inspiration and there are more Burns monuments than any other figure of modern times in the US, there are more statues of him than of any American writer.

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