In the biggest cultural statement for Scottish independence yet, more than 1300 artists have signed an open letter backing a Yes vote in the referendum.

The letter, published today, has been signed by a wealth of artistic talent from across cultural genres, including writers, musicians, actors, architects, poets, comedians, directors, authors and publishers.

The letter has been organised by the National Collective body of campaigning artists which has been a key feature of the ­grass-roots Yes campaign.

The National Collective said the letter and its signatories represent the culmination of more than two years of its campaigning for the "cultural movement for Yes".

The wording of the letter says that the undersigned "believe that Scotland can and should be an independent country".

The list of signatories includes the Makar, Liz Lochhead, writera Janice Galloway and Alan Bissett, songwriter Karine Polwart, the playwrights Kieran Hurley and David Greig, and the journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart.

The poet and professor of Scottish literature at Glasgow University, Alan Riach, has signed the letter, as have leading writers Irvine Welsh, Christopher Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Kathleen Jamie, Alan Warner, James Robertson and Jenni Fagan.

Also on the list is Glasgow Girls theatre director Cora Bissett and the poet and publisher Hamish Whyte.

Meanwhile, all the members of the rock band Mogwai, songwriter and author Aidan Moffat, Booker Prize-winning author James Kelman, musician and songwriter Emma Pollock, Gareth Williams the composer, singer Sheena Wellington, artist Gerard Burns, Deacon Blue singer and songwriter Ricky Ross, fiddler Aly Bain and poets Tom Pow and Aonghas MacNeacail.

Pat Kane, the musician and writer, and his brother Greg Kane have added their names, as have fellow musicians James Yorkston, Kris Drever and Roddy Woomble, as well as the broadcaster Derek Bateman and dramatist Stephen Greenhorn.

Glasgow publishers Murray Buchanan and Mark Buckland of Cargo and Adrian Searle of Freight have signed the letter, as have comedians Frankie Boyle and Bruce Morton.

Other names on the list of signatories include musician and singer Julie Fowlis, actor Iain Robertson, brothers Charlie and Craig Reid of The Proclaimers, writer and artist Alasdair Gray, film stars Brian Cox and Martin Compston, and writers John Niven, Peter Arnott and Janet Paisley, among many others.

The wording of the letter says: "We believe that Scottish culture will flourish come what may, but that political independence will give the people of Scotland the opportunity to build a better country, both socially and politically.

"We believe that our culture is shaped by how we choose to conduct politics, and that democracy is better served with power closer to home."

The letter goes on: "We believe that with independence the people of Scotland and their elected representatives will be able to address the issues Scotland has to face as a nation.

"We understand there are uncertainties. We embrace them."

It says that a Yes vote is "not a panacea to solve all Scotland's ills" and that "we are not voting es because we think Scotland is better than other countries. We are voting yes because we believe it is equal to them".

The letter concludes that the undersigned are voting for independence because they have "imagined a better country. Now, we want to build it."

The letter will now be put on the National Collective website in the hope that more add their names in support.

On the other side of the debate, the No campaign has also had backing from some significant cultural figures, including David Bowie, Paul McCartney, JK Rowling and King Creosote and many others.

The recent Let's Stay Together letter also featured signatories from cultural figures such as Dame Judi Dench, Ruth Rendell, Jeremy Deller, Tracey Emin, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Eddie Izzard, Anish Kapoor, Sarah Lucas, CJ Sansom and Richard Wilson, among others.

A spokesperson for the National Collective said: "That we have gathered the support of a great deal of well-kent folks is not the story.

"The story is the movement.

"This is the culmination of over two years of campaigning by National Collective and others in the cultural movement for Yes.

"These individuals represent the tip of the iceberg of a grass-roots movement that has galvanised the entire country, often far from the gaze of primetime news outlets.

"This is not about celebrity. It is about imagination, creative thinking and a desire for change."