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Events | exhibitions


Douglas Haig's diary added to UNESCO international register

Douglas Haig at his desk
Douglas Haig in his office on a train
during the First World War.
View larger image

The National Library of Scotland has become the first Scottish heritage organisation to be awarded a much-sought-after international accolade.

Field Marshal Douglas Haig's war diary, from the Library's collection of the Haig papers, has been added to the international register of the UNESCO Memory of the World programme.

This register recognises documentary heritage of global significance, and features only a select group of organisations.

Haig's handwritten diary provides a unique insight into the conduct of the First World War. Haig was Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, and commanded the largest British Army ever assembled. He wrote a daily entry throughout the conflict, recording key events at battles such as the Somme and Passchendaele.

UNESCO has added other new additions to the international register, including Winston Churchill's papers, the archives of mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary and biologist Louis Pasteur, and the world's first ever sound recordings.

A number of items from the Library's collections already appear on the UK Memory of the World register. Haig's diary was added there in 2013.

Read more in our UNESCO register press release


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21 June 2016


Ghost story competition opens for entries

Ghost story competition logo: Scared person holding a pen

A ghost story competition has launched which is inspired by a challenge laid down by Lord Byron 200 years ago.

In the Villa Diodati close to Lake Geneva in June 1816, Byron dared his travelling companions to write a ghost story. The result was a literary sensation — the birth of Frankenstein and the blood sucking vampire.

Commemorating this feat of imagination, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Storytelling Centre now invite writers of all ages to produce their own ghost story.

The competition is inspired by two of the greatest creations in Gothic literature which grew out of that night in Switzerland — Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and John Polidori's 'The vampyre'.

Stories should be written to be heard, rather than read. Professional storytellers will perform the six winning entries before an audience at the National Library on Halloween as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

The closing date for entries is 5 September. Full details are on the Scottish Storytelling Centre website.


See also our competition press release

16 June 2016


Robert Adam architecture display opens

Robert Adam's design for Register House
Register House on Princes Street,
Edinburgh, designed by Robert Adam.

Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728-1792) is celebrated in a new treasures display at the National Library of Scotland.

'The beautiful spirit of antiquity: Robert Adam and his influences' showcases the work and impact of one of Scotland's most famous architects. Adam designed some of Scotland's most iconic buildings, including Register House on Edinburgh's Princes Street.

A selection of the Library's finest architectural books shows how classical design and Enlightenment ideas influenced Robert Adam and the future of architecture. The display includes:

  • Vitruvius's 'De architectura' (1511): The first illustrated edition of the only architectural text to have survived from ancient Rome
  • 'The works in architecture of Robert and James Adam' (1778): The book which established the neo-classical 'Adam style'
  • 'A book of ceilings' (1776) by George Richardson: Designs by a previous employee of the Adams, influenced by their style.

See also our Robert Adam display press release.

15 June 2016


Poetry pamphlet competition winner announced

Lady Marks and Jenny Elliott with the award
Lady Marks and Jenny Elliott
at the awards ceremony.

The Shed Press has won the National Library of Scotland 2016 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award

The winning poetry pamphlet was The Shed Press's 'Makkin-wires', written and published by Jenny Elliott.

Second place was awarded to Lancaster's Wayleave Press, for 'Clay' by Elizabeth Burns.

Established in 2001 in memory of Callum Macdonald, the award recognises the publication of poetry pamphlets. It is funded by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, and the 2016 award was presented by Lady Marks.

First prize is £800, and second prize is £400. The author of the winning pamphlet is also eligible for a two-week residency in Greece in July as the Michael Marks Poet in Residence at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies.

Read more in our award press release.

13 May 2016

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