Dorothy Dunnett History Prize 2017

The Dorothy Dunnett History Prize 2017, worth £1000, is offered by the Dorothy Dunnett Society (Scottish Charity SC030649 SCIO) in pursuit of its constitutional aim:

“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 Prize is for an essay of up to 5000 words (normally 3000-4000). Entries will be accepted from students registered on a PhD programme at any recognised higher education institution. The competition is open to medievalists, Byzantinists and Ottomanists.

Thematic Guidelines

The novels of Scottish writer Dorothy Dunnett (1923-2001) are supported by extensive geographical and historical research and have wide-ranging settings, including (using present-day names) Scotland, France, England, Belgium, Italy, Cyprus, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Iceland, Algeria, Norway, Gambia and Mali (including Timbuktu). Her work explores many issues of political, military and cultural/social history.

The author set her fictional characters within the actual events and among the real people of the times. Her novels also explore more general themes including: the development of trade; banking; exploration and discovery; the role of women; the rise of industries such as printing and dyeing; diplomacy and spying; social mobility; transport and travel; domestic life; contemporary literature, music, art and artists; the role of religion and religious communities; conflict and war.

Essays may address any aspect of current historical research that meets the Society’s aims and/or falls within the thematic guidelines or other relevant topics and is contained, broadly, within the time periods of the novels.

Style Guidance

We are seeking submissions that will reflect Dorothy Dunnett’s skill in bringing alive the events and people of her chosen periods. While being based on the writer’s PhD work, essays should be written for a well-informed general reader rather than a specialist academic audience. The panel will be looking for involving and readable essays which bring the subject matter to life. The maximum number of words is 5000 but writers should remember that non-academic readers welcome ‘short and pithy’!

To find out more and how to apply, visit the University of Edinburgh School of History, Classics and Archaeology.

The University of Edinburgh home

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Free Whispering Gallery offer!

To celebrate the republication of The Lymond Chronicles, and the 56th anniversary of its original publication, the Dorothy Dunnett Society will send a free copy of Whispering Gallery Issue 136 to the first 56 applicants.

Whispering Gallery 136 will be printed and distributed in September 2017.

How to Apply

To receive your free copy of Whispering Gallery, please email your name and full postal address to Simon Hedges at [email protected]. Ensure that the subject line of the email is DDSFreeWG.

If you are one of the lucky 56 you will be notified by email within a month.


I’m sending you my address details. What will you do with them?

We will use your email address to correspond with you about this offer, and will use your postal address to send you your copy of Whispering Gallery. After the free issues have been sent out, we will email you again, inviting you to join the Dorothy Dunnett Society. We will use your address details for no other purpose.

Do I have to do anything else?

No, though we’d really appreciate if you’d send in a photo of yourself with your free copy of Whispering Gallery to [email protected] when you receive it, for us to publish it in Whispering Gallery. Or else just post the photo on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #DDSFreeWG.

Does this make me a member of the Dorothy Dunnett Society?

No. Though of course, we’d love you to join, by going here: Join the Dorothy Dunnett Society.

Can I apply in writing? Or via Facebook? Or Twitter? Or any other means than by email?

No. You must apply by email.

I’ve only just joined! I wish I’d waited an issue!

If you buy (or have already bought) a new membership of the Society since 17th June 2017 and before this offer expires, your membership will be extended by 1 free issue, so you do not lose out.

Is there any other small print?

Yes. If you were previously a member of the Society, and your membership expired after Whispering Gallery 131 (June 2016), you are not eligible for this offer.

This offer will expire once all 56 issues are allocated, or at the end of August 2017, whichever is earlier.

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International Dorothy Dunnett Day 2017

Planning is already underway for the 7th International Dorothy Dunnett Day (IDDD) on Saturday 11th November 2017, when once again Dunnett Readers across the world will meet in homes, restaurants, pubs, parks, museums and other locations; and at 13.00 (1 pm) local time they will raise a glass to toast the Lady who started it all, and to absent friends.

To find out if there’s a gathering near you, or if you’d like to organise one, check our IDDD 2017 page or get in touch with Tina Dallas at [email protected].

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Charles Burnett portrait unveiled


What a lovely portrait of Charles Burnett, who designed for Dorothy Dunnett the beautiful unicorn we now use as our device.


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The HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition 2017


HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition

Can you transport a reader into the past? Can you tell a story which will grip the reader while immersing them in another time? Do you want the voices and the stories of the past to find a new audience in the modern world?

If your answer to any of the above is yes, then you could win £500, publication and the chance to learn from top industry professionals as well as receiving your prize at a ceremony full of the stars of Historical Writing in London.

We are celebrating Historical Fiction and the works of Dorothy Dunnett, which will be reissued by Penguin this autumn, with a brand new competition for unpublished short stories of up to 3500 words. Choose your theme, your genre and your period and bring the past alive. The only condition is that your story is set at least 35 years in the past.

We are looking for great story-telling, fresh voices, new perspectives and real ambition in these stories, which is why we’ve set a generous word limit.

We’ve kept the entry fee as low as possible, because we want to hear from as many writers as we can. The past is full of rich inspiration for fiction writers so please, let us hear from you.  Bring us your stories and bring the past alive.

Please read the full terms and conditions here: The HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition Terms and Conditions 

Once you have paid your entry fee, you’ll be able to upload your story at Please remember, all entries will be judged anonymously, so don’t include your name anywhere on the story itself. The HWA system will make sure we know who to contact if you win!

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