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and the works of Dorothy Dunnett, which will be reissued by Penguin this autumn, with a brand new competition for unpublished short stories of up to 3500 words.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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Whispering Gallery 134 is out now

Members of the Dorothy Dunnett Society around the world are now receiving their March 2017 copies of our quarterly journal, Whispering Gallery. It’s another exquisite issue and you can find out more about its fascinating contents here! To receive your copy, join the Dorothy Dunnett Society here.

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Oxford Dunnett Day 2017 – booking now open

In association with the Dorothy Dunnett SocietyDownload the booking form here.

Saturday 10th June 2017 will mark the 21st Dorothy Dunnett Oxford Day. Once again at Wolfson College there is a fascinating programme of events along with the chance to meet old friends and make new ones.

The chosen subjects are close to Dunnett readers’ hearts, and the speakers are:

Derek Gore, Honorary Fellow, University of Exeter, who will present a talk on “Earl Thorfinn the Mighty and the struggle for control of Northern Scotland”

Katie Birkwood, Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian at the Royal College of Physicians, who will present “John Dee and his Library”.

Our final speaker will be Carole Richardson, member of the Dorothy Dunnett Society, whose talk is entitled “ When is Christmas Day not Christmas Day?”

Download the booking form here.  Lunch, tea and coffee are included and there is an optional evening meal for those who would like to join us.

Wolfson College gardens

Wolfson College gardens

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Whispering Gallery 133 is out

Click the picture to find out more

A House of Niccolò timeline provides the background for Whispering Gallery’s review of the Dunnett Carnival of Venice in September: publication of the talks enjoyed by the Revellers; overviews of each of the day’s outings; singular aspects of Venice that made an impression on the participants; a moving tribute to the event; and as many gorgeous images taken by the Society’s talented photographers as can be squeezed in.

 Alongside these, we continue our two series examining Dorothy Dunnett’s lexicon and the role of birds in her work. We examine how the character of Agnes Herries develops from romantic fantasist, and consider the historical novels in which our author may have immersed herself as a young reader.


  • The Chairman’s Column
  • Trustees’ Notice Board
  • Members’ Page
  • Event Report
  • A Dunnett Lexicon
  • Have You Read?
  • Venice as a Character in The House of Niccolò
  • The Dunnett Carnival of Venice: Overviews, Aspects of Venice and Memories of Venice
  • Venetian Art in the Age of Niccolò
  • Real and Metaphorical Birds in the Dunnett Novels
  • Talking Point
  • Who-Dunnett?
  • That’s Relevant!
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Edinburgh Dunnett Weekend 2017 – booking now open

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to join us at the 2017 Dunnett Weekend and Annual General Meeting which will be held at the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) in Princes Street Edinburgh.

Download the booking form here

The organising team have arranged a weekend of lectures and activities with something, we hope, for everyone. The programme of events starts on the afternoon of Friday 21st April with a visit to Edinburgh’s famous zoo. We have arranged for delegates to visit the pandas, and have an ‘animal handling’ session with some small, friendly creatures. Entrance to the zoo is included in our visit and after the arranged events you can wander around at your leisure. Note that this visit will involve walking and that the zoo is built on sloping ground; some parts are steep. That evening we will gather for a welcome dinner at The Royal Over-Seas League in Princes Street, our home from home in Edinburgh, when friends old and new can catch up with each other over a delicious set meal.

On Saturday 22nd April we will enjoy a full programme of lectures and activities at the ROSL, as well as the Dorothy Dunnett Society’s Annual General Meeting. We welcome a return visit from Philippa Langley, heroine of the quest to find the body of King Richard III.  Philippa is attempting to solve another historical mystery, the fate of the ‘princes in the Tower’, the sons of King Edward IV. Her talk is called The Missing Princes Project: The Final Frontier and a Smoking Gun.

Our very own Charles Burnett, former Ross Herald of Arms Extraordinary, friend of Dorothy Dunnett and an honorary member of the Dorothy Dunnett Society, will be speaking to us about Mary of Guelders, the young wife of James II of Scotland and mother of James III. His talk is entitled A Forgotten Scottish Queen and the Vanished Church to her Beloved Husband. After lunch there will be a quiz and a mystery musical interlude, and the daytime events will conclude with the Annual General Meeting of the Dorothy Dunnett Society (for members only).

On Saturday evening we will hold our gala dinner at The Caledonian Hotel in Princes Street. There will be fine fare, good conversation, plenty of laughter and all the usual toasts, speeches and readings.

On Sunday 23rd April we will travel by coach to visit Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. We will tour the palace accompanied by Blue Badge Guides who will give us a flavour of life in this magnificent building. Afterwards, author and storyteller Ewan McVicar will talk to us about Anselm Adornes. We will then tour St Michael’s Church, where Adornes’ burial is commemorated with a plaque.

After a relaxing lunch, our next stop will be Blackness Castle, a garrison fortress long after most Scottish castles ceased having any useful military function. Note that the visit to Blackness and Linlithgow will involve walking short distances, and as both castles are in ruins, surfaces are uneven and may be hazardous.

We aim to be back in Edinburgh by 6 pm. Those who wish to can dine that evening in one of Edinburgh’s many restaurants and bars.

We hope to see many of you at the weekend. Please note that places are limited and prompt return of the booking form is advisable.  Forms must be received by Tuesday 28th February at the latest.

Download the booking form here

The Dunnett Weekend Team: Carole Ross, Jayne Smith, Kathy Lewis, Olive Millward and Sheila MacAllister

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