Whispering Gallery

Issue 147 of our stunning quarterly magazine was sent out to Dorothy Dunnett Society members in June 2020.

Transcriptions of two talks feature in this issue. The first is a speech given by Dorothy Dunnett in 1994 on the subject of editing at an industry conference at which she was the headline speaker. The second is by historian and tour guide Jon Cooper, who was to have been our opening speaker at the Dunnett Weekend, and who has kindly given us permission to publish his talk on the Siege of Haddington.


An entry in March 2020’s ‘That’s Relevant!’ slot was the precursor to a longer article in this issue about Lymond, the Renaissance lute and music collections, as well as some fascinating digressions into Nicholas’s use of codes and ciphers. We have the first part of a close examination of Gelis’s character and Thorfinn’s history as played out in the Orkneyinga Saga; and our series on the Chronicles’ book covers concludes with the recent reissues.


Contents of Whispering Gallery 147, sent out to Dorothy Dunnett Society members in March 2020

    • The Chairman’s Column
    • Trustees’ Pages
    • Members’ Page
    • Dorothy Dunnett and the Daunter of the Scots
    • Thorfinn: the historical figure, the saga hero and the human
    • ‘You can never rely on authors to remember what they meant to say in their own books …’
    • The Royal Arms of Scotland
    • Wrapping Up Dunnett
    • Lymond, Lutes and Musical Codes
    • Understanding Gelis, Part One
    • A Dunnett Lexicon
    • Talking Point
    • That’s Relevant!
    • A Letter from Dorothy Dunnett

Whispering Gallery is the successor to a letterzine named Marzipan and Kisses, founded in the USA in 1984 by Jean Clissold and Karen Brandl.  From Issue 33, Dorothy Dunnett arranged for an international variant named Whispering Gallery to be created and published by the Dorothy Dunnett Foundation (DDF) for readers outside North America.

The DDF was wound up by Dorothy Dunnett in 2001 and its assets and rights assigned to the Dorothy Dunnett Society (then known as the Dorothy Dunnett Readers’ Association) which now publishes Whispering Gallery.  In 2001, Marzipan and Kisses ceased publication and Whispering Gallery became available for readers in North America as well as the rest of the world.

Since Val Bierman’s time, the editor’s role has been undertaken by unpaid volunteers, the latest of whom is Suzanne McNeill whose first issue was Issue 108 in September 2010.

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Magazine Editors
Marzipan and Kisses
1984–2001Jean Clissold with Karen Brandl
Whispering Gallery
1984–1986 (Issues 33–40)Edinburgh Book Festival Staff
1986–2004Valerie Bierman
2004–2007Denise Gannon
2007–Jun 2010Sandra Hall
Sep 2010–Suzanne McNeill

Submissions to Whispering Gallery

Issue NoCopy deadlineDistribution
148 – Sep 2020End Jul 2020End Sep 2020
149 – Dec 2020End Oct 2020End Dec 2020
150 – Mar 2021End Jan 2021End Mar 2021
  • Please indicate that your contribution is for publication.
  • The editor has the final word on shortening any contribution, editing and deciding on the contents of Whispering Gallery.
  • Longer articles may be split and used in more than one issue.
  • Any contributions received by the editor after the deadline may be held over until the next issue.
  • Full addresses will not be printed.
  • Please send in photographs (you either have to own the copyright, or have permission to reproduce them), but the final decision on using them lies with the editor.
  • If you are taking photographs for publication on a digital camera, please ensure it is set to take high resolution images. This equates to a pixel setting of at least 2400 x 3000 pixels (or 7.2 megapixels) and a quality setting of ‘superfine’. (Different terms are used for quality settings: “Normal-Fine-Superfine”, or “Basic-Normal-Fine”, or “Good-Better-Best”. Select whichever is the possible quality to give a smooth rather than stepped image.)
  • If your article includes quotations from the books, please supply the book title, part and chapter (for example: CM, Pt 3, Ch 13).
  • If possible, please send your contribution by e-mail to editor AT ddsoc.org. Otherwise, send your articles and letters to the editor at the address published in the most recent issue of Whispering Gallery.
  • Contributions are welcome whether or not you are able to send them by e-mail!

Note on Publication Rights:  The Dorothy Dunnett Society is the publisher of Whispering Gallery and holds the copyright and publication rights for all Whispering Gallery issues, whether published by the Dorothy Dunnett Society or by its predecessor organisations, the Dorothy Dunnett Foundation and the Dorothy Dunnett Readers’ Association.  It has also been given permission by Jean Clissold and Karen Brandl (Bound in Leather Press) to copy and distribute back issues of Marzipan and Kisses.