More about BOSLIT

Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation

Set up in 1994 by the University of Edinburgh and the National Library of Scotland, with the assistance of the Scottish Arts Council, BOSLIT has been engaged on identifying, creating and bringing together online records for translations of Scottish literary works in a central database for more than a decade.

The BOSLIT database is hosted by the National Library of Scotland, and is administered jointly by the University of Edinburgh and the National Library of Scotland. Over the years BOSLIT has received financial support from a wide range of funding bodies. It was awarded an 'A' rating by the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), which has been its major source of funding in recent years.

BOSLIT committee and editors

BOSLIT's work is overseen by an Advisory Committee, which comprises academics, writers, poets, librarians, literature administrators, and teachers from different areas of Scotland. The current Convener is Dr Zsuzsanna Varga, University of Glasgow. Previous BOSLIT Conveners have been Professor Emeritus Peter France of the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Emeritus Ronald D S Jack of the University of Edinburgh.

Past Honorary Editors of BOSLIT include Paul Barnaby, Tom Hubbard and Zsuzsanna Varga.

 External contacts

BOSLIT works closely with Scottish PEN, which is opening an office for the first time in the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh, and is proud of its record in having kept a living presence for Scottish writers in all languages on the international scene since 1927.

BOSLIT maintains active contact with other organisations, interest groups and individuals concerned with translation in the UK and overseas, including the Reception of British Authors in Europe (RBAE) project, which is based in the University of London. Individual BOSLIT members are also active in the field of translation:

  • Professor Emeritus Peter France, a former Convener of the BOSLIT Committee, co-edited 'European Poetry in Translation: an Anthology of Translations' (Edinburgh University Press, 1989).
  • Professor Emeritus Ronald D S Jack, another former Convener, is the author of 'The Italian Influence on Scottish Literature' (Edinburgh University Press, 1972).
  • Dr Tom Hubbard, BOSLIT's former editor and researcher, helped to set up the Scottish Poetry Library's EPIC (European Poetry Information Centre) Project, and during the winter of 2004-2005 was a British Council-sponsored lecturer on cultural links between Scotland and Hungary at the Ernst Museum, Budapest, and the University of Veszprém.

 BOSLIT definition of 'literature'

'Literature' is defined broadly in BOSLIT: in addition to poetry, drama and prose, BOSLIT records translations of material from the oral tradition, together with writings by Scottish historians, philosophers, scientists, theologians and others whose works are considered to have aesthetic, intellectual and cultural significance.

Most translations recorded in BOSLIT are from Scottish literary works in English, Scots and Gaelic, but more recently BOSLIT has recorded translations from writers of Scotland's diverse linguistic communities, for example Arabic, Persian and Albanian texts.


Translations included in BOSLIT have been traced from the late 15th century, including vernacular versions of works originally in Latin (e.g. by Michael Scot, George Buchanan and John Barclay), as well as in the three main literary languages of Scotland. Coverage of the 18th and 19th centuries reflects overseas interest in the Scottish contribution to the Enlightenment and to pre-Romanticism; Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and their contemporaries; Victorian writers such as Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Smiles; and 'wandering Scots' from Mungo Park and David Livingstone to Robert Louis Stevenson.

Translated Scottish writers of the 20th and 21st centuries include Hugh MacDiarmid, Muriel Spark, Edwin Morgan, Alasdair Gray, Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, A L Kennedy and Louise Welsh.

 Financial support

BOSLIT warmly acknowledges financial support from the following bodies:

  • The Humanities Research Board of the British Academy
  • The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
  • The Scottish Library and Information Council
  • The Scottish Arts Council
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Board
  • University of Edinburgh Knowledge Transfer Fund


For further information and assistance, please contact:

Andrew Martin
Modern Scottish Collections Curator
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge

Tel: +44 (0)131 623 4673

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