2020 Weekend Programme

Friday Evening – Welcome !

On Friday evening we will meet up in the Radisson Blu hotel in the High Street (Royal Mile) for an informal meal and get-together. We will have a buffet meal in the St Giles Suite, giving time and space to eat, drink and meet up with old friends and make new ones.


Saturday – Conference & AGM

The main event will take place at Edinburgh University’s purpose-built John McIntyre Conference Centre.  We have a varied programme including:

“Whitecoats and Rascals”

Jon Cooper
Centre for Battlefield Archeology, University of Glasgow

Jon will talk about the work carried out on the history of 16th Century Haddington, the development of ‘Trace Italienne’ fortifications in Scotland and give a flavour of what life must have been like for the residents of the town during those long months of the siege. Jon will close with a look at the ‘Tuesday Chase’ – an incident which Dorothy recalls in The Game of Kings.  You may also discover why wearing your underwear on the outside of your armour is not always a good idea!

Jon will also be joining us on the Sunday tour to Haddington, so if you book this tour you will have the opportunity to see the locations Jon will describe in this talk for yourself.

“Lymond amongst the Roisterers”

Dr Deirdre Serjeantson
Faculty of English, Cambridge University

The Lymond Chronicles contain many dazzling set pieces in which Francis Crawford joins in a series of perilous group activities: chases across rooftops, races down towers, hunts with wildcats and with eagles. This talk will attempt to put these into the broader context of the pastimes of his contemporaries, the swashbuckling young men of the sixteenth-century royal courts, and will ask how unusual it really was, circa 1548, to spend your evenings climbing bell ropes in Blois while your ‘friends’ tried to send you plummeting to your death.

“Inspiration to Print”

Imogen Robertson
Chair of the Historical Writers’ Association

Imogen will take us through the process of researching, writing and publishing a historical novel today, based on her own experiences as an author.  She has lots of stories to tell about diamonds and painters, making big changes to a novel at a late stage and how research actually works.

Annual General Meeting

This will be followed by the Dorothy Dunnett Society Annual General Meeting (AGM) to bring the daytime proceedings to a close.  

[Note: The AGM is for members of the Dorothy Dunnett Society only]


Gala Dinner

The culmination of the Saturday programme is the Gala Dinner.  We will return to the Radisson Blu Hotel in the High Street, for a splendid evening of delicious food and even better company, along with toasts, speeches and readings.


Sunday – Coach Tour

On Sunday 26th April we meet in central Edinburgh and travel by coach to visit Haddington.  Jon Cooper offers you a follow up to his talk on Saturday at the conference,  leading us up some dark alleys, across killing fields and into the siege trenches to explore some shocking truths about the great siege of 1548. Ideal for those who would like to dig a little deeper into Haddington’s somewhat more traumatic past.

After exploring Haddington we will take the coaches to our lunch venue [food included in the cost].  After lunch we will visit the last truly great castle built in Scotland, the  mighty fortress of the house of Douglas,  Tantallon Castle.

We will be accompanied on our visits by a team of Blue Badge Guides to help us interpret and understand more of life in these sites.  

Please note: The Sunday will involve walking outside over surfaces that are uneven and may be hazardous. Please ensure you have suitable footwear and bring appropriate warm clothing! 

We aim to return to Edinburgh before 6 pm, and the buses will return us to the pick-up point.

Further information on the venues, including maps and postal addresses, can be found here.


This is THE event of the year for all Dunnett Readers!