Events at NLS

Browse the list below to find out about talks, workshops and more, organised by the National Library of Scotland.

Book online or phone 0131 623 3734. Places are limited, so we recommend that you book in advance. For more information, or to join the events mailing list, email

List updated: 24 November

Events take place in our George IV Bridge Building, unless we state otherwise.



Scotland's still light: An evening with Andy Hall

Andy Hall

Join Andy Hall for a look at Scotland at its most beautiful, in words and pictures. Hall will show us his collection of stunning photography accompanied by excerpts of poetry and prose from some of Scotland's most famous writers and bards. The images were developed from the author's study of the quality of light unique to Scottish landscapes and cities. A Book Week Scotland 2014 event.

25 November
This event is now fully booked.


Burke and Hare: Owen Dudley Edwards

Book cover: 'Burke and Hare'

Here is the unvarnished, human story behind the infamous Burke and Hare murders. Owen Dudley Edwards, author of the definitive book on the notorious bodysnatching duo, delves into their past, their personalities and the circumstances that made them resort to murder as a money-making scheme. It's a tale of desperation and greed, of outsiders, ambition, corruption love, and betrayal. And it's all true! A Book Week Scotland 2014 event.

26 November
This event is now fully booked.


Beyond 'Endurance': The life and works of Sir James Mann Wordie

James Wordie

Ernest Shackleton's ship 'Endurance' sailed to Antarctica 100 years ago and became stuck fast in the ice of the Weddell Sea. The story of the crew's survival and subsequent rescue by Shackleton have become the stuff of legend. One of the crew was Scottish geologist James Wordie, whose influence went on to change the face of polar exploration. NLS Curator Paula Williams will draw on Wordie's books and papers at NLS to tell his story. A Book Week Scotland 2014 event.

27 November
This event is now fully booked.


Stories from the NLS shelves

Workshop led by James Robertson

James Robertson

This workshop is in two parts. First is a behind-the-scenes tour of the Library with a curator. After lunch, novelist and poet James Robertson will lead a writing workshop based on the morning's experience. More about the workshop

28 November
Free. Book by emailing




Photo of a microphone

The monthly night showcasing three different poetry and spoken word talents. Three different voices, three different styles, three different takes on life. This month: Harry Giles, Jo Clifford, and T S Rosenberg.

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


Eclipsed by Shackleton: Icebound Antarctic expeditions before 'Endurance'

Photo of 2 boats stuck in ice

Ernest Shackleton is widely used as a role model for modern business leadership, especially in this centenary year of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The successful rescue of all his crew is undisputed — but what of other heroic leaders before him? De Gerlache's 'Belgica' in 1898 and Drygalski's 'Gauss' in 1902 were icebound over winter (but escaped), while Otto Nordenskjöld's 'Antarctic' was crushed in 1903, leaving three isolated groups for rescue. Bruce Mair will recount the forgotten heroism and leadership of these three men.

2 December
This event is now fully booked.


Edinburgh: Mapping the city

Edinburgh map detail

'Edinburgh: Mapping the city' uses historic maps to provide insights into the history of Edinburgh over the last five centuries. In this illustrated talk, authors Chris Fleet and Daniel MacCannell will discuss the main themes of the book. In addition to the history of the city, it includes the important people and institutions involved in mapmaking, the different political, commercial and social uses to which these maps have been put over time and their relevance today.

8 December
This event is now fully booked.


Scotland decides: An evening with David Torrance

Unfortunately we have had to postpone this event, which was scheduled for 9 December, due to unforeseen circumstances.


Guided tour of the Library

Group of people on staircase

Guided tour of the building and introduction to the Library's collections and history. The tour will last approximately 45 minutes. Numbers limited, so booking is essential. Please let us know if you have special access requirements.

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


Poetry Pamphlet Fair

Poeple at Poetry Pamphlet Fair

Independent Scottish poetry publishing is going from strength to strength. This festive poetry pamphlet fair at NLS is always a popular event. Come along for a glass of wine, meet the publishers, hear the poems and buy the pamphlets! To book a stall, please contact Graeme Hawley on

10 December
No need to book: just come along on the night.


Christmas Fair

'Christmas Fair'

Our annual Christmas Fair has yuletide bargains and festive treats galore — we are sure we will have something for everyone. Enjoy a 20% discount on everything in our shop, from exhibition prints, mugs and candles to those hard to find books and children's favourites. Once you've shopped, you can relax with our tasty refreshments and festive entertainment. A delightful way to see in the Christmas season!

11 December
No need to book: just come along on the night.


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