Events at the National Library

National Library of Scotland events are free and take place in our George IV Bridge Building, unless we state otherwise.

Book online or phone 0131 623 3734. Places are limited, so we recommend that you book in advance. 

November events | December events

List updated: 25 November.

For more information, or to join the events mailing list, email


November events

See also: Workshops and tours

Scottish history through a wide angled lens

A Book Week Scotland event

'Scottish history' book cover.png

Dr David Allan explores how borders have influenced the course of Scottish history. Scotland is shaped by a multiplicity of divisions — not only the border with England, but also other boundaries that have separated the country's inhabitants. The creative forces unleashed by deep-lying diversity are a formative factor in the Scottish experience.

26 November
Free. Book 'Scottish history' with Eventbrite or phone 0131 623 3734.



Creative writing workshop led by Val McDermid

Val McDermid

This is an exciting opportunity to spend an afternoon with bestselling Scottish novelist Val McDermid in the surroundings of the National Library of Scotland. Using Library collections as a stimulus, this workshop will offer the chance to develop writing skills and creative ideas. McDermid will be using archive material from the First World War Writers' Propaganda Bureau to inspire participants. Limited to 12 places on a first-come-first-served basis.

27 November
Tickets: £12. Book online for the Val McDermid workshop via Moniack Mhor, or phone 01463 741675 or email



Val McDermid

A Book Week Scotland event in partnership with Moniack Mhor

Val McDermid

Celebrated and bestselling Scottish novelist Val McDermid will discuss her literary inspirations with critic Stuart Kelly. Raised in Kirkcaldy, McDermid studied English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and was a prize-winning journalist before becoming one of the great names in crime writing. Her latest novel is 'Splinter the silence', but she has also recently revisited Jane Austen's 'Northanger Abbey'. The conversation promises to be wide-ranging, entertaining, and informed.

27 November
Tickets: £5. Book online for the Val McDermid workshop via Moniack Mhor, or phone 01463 741675 or email



Some bat-squeak echo of other time: A tour guided by fiction

Two people performing on a staircase

Take a journey through the Library, weaving together fictions, description and music. Within our collections are descriptions of fictional buildings which have only ever existed in the imagination. Explorations of the building, informed by staff and visually impaired participants, have resulted in this unexpected way to experience the Library. Created by Ken Cockburn and in collaboration with Artlink Edinburgh and Lothians.

28 November
This event is fully booked.



Bruce, Meg and me: A St Andrew's Day event

Photo of Gregor Ewing

In 2012, Gregor Ewing and his dog Meg recreated Bonnie Prince Charlie's escape during the 1746 Jacobite rising. In his new book, 'Bruce, Meg and me', Ewing and Meg return to the hills, following in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce. This is a fun and informative afternoon with a possible guest appearance from a furry friend.

30 November
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734.



Favourite Scots words: A St Andrew's Day event

'Favourite Scottish words' book cover

St Andrew's Day is the perfect time to celebrate all things Scottish, including the language. Betty Kirkpatrick, lexicographer and writer on both the English language and Scots, shares some of her favourite Scots words. Many of the words will be based on her recently published book, 'Favourite Scots words', which casts an eye over treasured expressions.

30 November
This event is fully booked.



December events

See also: Workshops and tours

Scottish premier film screening: 'Beatus: The Spanish Apocalypse'

'Beatus' and depiction of men creating manuscripts

'Beatus: The Spanish Apocalypse' is a film exploring medieval manuscripts compiled by the abbot Beatus around 775. The illuminated manuscripts revel in the imagery and mysteries of the Apocalypse as foretold in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Murray Grigor's film takes us back over 1,000 years across northern Spain to link copies of the 'Los Beatos' manuscripts to their remote scriptoriums. Scholar John Williams, author of the five volume 'Illustrated Beatus', visits many of the places where these manuscripts were made.

1 December
Venue: Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh.
This event is fully booked.


Museum of Childhood: Christmas past, Christmas presents

Santa image on Christmas card

Lyn Wall, Curator at Edinburgh's Museum of Childhood, explores the evolution of today's Christmas traditions. Wall shares examples of the Christmas presents, traditions, cards and treats represented in the Museum of Childhood collections.

1 December
Free. Book online or phone 0131 623 3734. 



Poetry pamphlet fair

People reading books

Come along to our annual poetry pamphlet fair to discover new Scottish poetry, meet the publishers and buy the pamphlets. Independent Scottish poetry publishing is going from strength to strength, and this festive fair at the Library is always a popular event.

2 December
No need to book to attend. To book a stall at the event, email Graeme Hawley at



Christmas fair

Christmas fair logo

Our annual Christmas Fair has yuletide bargains and festive treats galore. Enjoy a 20% discount on everything in the Library shop, including exhibition prints, mugs, candles, hard-to-find books and children's favourites. Once you've shopped, relax with our tasty refreshments and festive entertainment. A delightful way to start the Christmas season!

3 December
No need to book, just come along on the night.



Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Library: Exploring Bach

Photo of Rosenna East

Violinist and journalist Rosenna East and guests examine the lives and music of the Bach family. Featuring live music and discussion, this event offers new perspectives and insights into this musical dynasty. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will perform works by J S Bach, W F Bach and C P E Bach at Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, on 10 December.

8 December
This event is fully booked.

See also:

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