The Dorothy Dunnett History Prize 2015 now open

The Dorothy Dunnett Society, in association with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Edinburgh, is pleased to announce that The Dorothy Dunnett History Prize 2015, worth £1000, is now open.

Entries for the competition will be accepted from history students registered on a PhD programme at any recognised higher education institution. Essays may address any aspect of current historical research that meets the Society’s constitutional aim which is:

To advance the education of the public concerning the history, politics, culture and religion of the 11th, 15th and 16th centuries by promoting the study of and research into such subjects particularly as they relate to the works of Dorothy Dunnett and to disseminate to the public the results of such research.

The closing date for submissions is Monday 16th November 2015.

More information and application details

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Oxford Day 2015

“Lymond is back.”

Wolfson College gardens

Oxford Day 2015, in association with the Dorothy Dunnett Society, was well attended and took place on 13th June in the new auditorium at Wolfson College, Oxford; this year the focus was on The Lymond Chronicles.

The day began with a short discussion of most loved and hated Dunnett characters, resulting in a very lively exchange of views, in particular on the subjects of Gelis, Lymond and Sybilla. This was followed by a talk given by Dr James Evans, on “Richard Chancellor and the Great Exploratory Voyage of 1553: the transformation of England”, in which James talked about the reasons for the voyage, both political and commercial, what went wrong, how the boats got separated, and a new theory on how Willoughby died. (James’s book Merchant Adventurers: The Voyage of Discovery That Transformed Tudor England was reviewed in Issue 126 of Whispering Gallery.)

After our usual tasty lunch the afternoon session was opened by Betty Moxon, Chairman of the Dorothy Dunnett Society, followed by Suzanne McNeill (Editor) on the Society’s magazine, Whispering Gallery.

Our final speaker for the day was Dr Deirdre Serjeantson whose talk was entitled, “The Private Labyrinth: the books that made Lymond”. Her starting point was The Ringed Castle where Philippa opens the door to Lymond’s old room and finds his books there; Lymond’s library gives us enormous insight into his attitudes and behaviour – and if you would like to know more, please come to next year’s Edinburgh Dunnett Weekend, as by popular demand and special request Deirdre has agreed to give a slightly revised version of her talk there.

The last programmed session of the day was a hilarious group activity based on organising a dinner party around the characters from a Lymond book, including a seating plan, a dish to be served and a piece of music to be played. Those who were able to stay on at the end of Oxford Day enjoyed drinks at the Linton Lodge Hotel – and a dinner somewhat less uproarious than some of those planned for Dorothy Dunnett’s characters!

Because of the Venice trip next year there will be no Oxford Day, but plans are already underway for 2017, so watch out for announcements in Whispering Gallery.

– Olive Millward

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2015 Dunnett Weekend and book launch

A host of Dorothy Dunnett readers from the UK and countries as far away as Australia and North America attended the 2015 Edinburgh Dunnett Weekend and the Dorothy Dunnett Society’s Annual General Meeting based again this year at the Royal OverSeas League (ROSL) in Princes Street, Edinburgh, from 17th-19th April.

The first treat of the weekend was the opportunity to visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery during Friday afternoon to view a self-portrait by Dorothy Dunnett

That evening, members and guests attended a drinks reception to launch the Society’s new publication, Edinburgh: The Dorothy Dunnett Guide, written by Nicky Cannon. This was held in a private room at the Sheraton Hotel, in Festival Square and was followed by our traditional welcome meal in the main restaurant.

The weekend activities continued on Saturday 18th April when we gathered at the ROSL for a packed day of lectures, debates and conviviality. Our speakers were Pauline Brace and Dr Stephen Lloyd, and members of the Edinburgh Renaissance Band, with whom Dorothy Dunnett had a close association, entertained us after lunch. More details about these events will follow in the Society’s magazine, Whispering Gallery issue 127 (June 2015).

We ended the working day with the Annual General Meeting of The Dorothy Dunnett Society. All members were invited to attend and non-members enjoyed refreshments in the ROSL bar while they waited. Saturday culminated at 7 pm with our gala dinner in the ROSL’s Castle Restaurant with its fabulous views across Edinburgh.

On Sunday we travelled by executive coach to Bowhill, home of the Duke of Buccleuch. There we enjoyed a guided tour of the house including some rooms not always open to the public, and saw an exhibition of exquisite miniature paintings. We then travelled the short distance to the newly refurbished and award winning Abbotsford House Visitors’ Centre where we had lunch before enjoying an exhibition about the life and work of one of Dorothy Dunnett’s favourite authors, Sir Walter Scott, and a guided tour of Abbotsford. We returned to Edinburgh in the early evening and those with any strength left met up in informal groups to enjoy some of the many restaurants and bars on offer in Edinburgh.

All told, it was just wonderful, and our grateful thanks go to our superb retiring Weekend Organiser, Kathy Lewis.

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Order your copy of Edinburgh: The Dorothy Dunnett Guide


Edinburgh: the Dorothy Dunnett GuideWould you like to explore Edinburgh in the footsteps of Lymond and Nicholas, the heroes of Dorothy Dunnett’s series of novels, The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolò?

Edinburgh: The Dorothy Dunnett Guide describes all the locations, past, present and fictional, described in her novels. This guide will enable you to see Edinburgh through the eyes of Lymond and Nicholas, as well as introducing you to the beautiful city in which Dorothy Dunnett lived and worked.

This guide contains a brief history of Edinburgh, locations from the books and of the period, maps of the old town, museum visits and detailed accounts of important scenes set in Edinburgh. This is the guide for any Dunnett reader visiting or imagining Edinburgh.

Publication date: April 2015.

ISBN: 978-0-9570046-3-4

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The Dorothy Dunnett Scottish Schools History Award

The Dorothy Dunnett Society is inviting all Secondary Schools in Scotland to participate in a Scottish Schools history award.

Schools are invited to offer the Dorothy Dunnett History Award for the best elective assignment submitted in their school in the 2015 Higher History diet. The Society will provide a certificate for presentation at each participating school’s internal awards ceremony.  Schools are further invited to submit their winning assignment for the Dorothy Dunnett National History Award to be presented at the Scottish Association of Teachers of History (SATH) conference.

Since 2011 the Society has awarded the Dorothy Dunnett History Prize, an essay competition open to PhD students of history in universities in the UK and beyond.  Now, in collaboration with SATH, the Society is extending its support for the study of history to schools in Scotland.

Please download the flyer for further details of the Dorothy Dunnett History Award.

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