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Events | exhibitions


Shortlist announced for 2015 pamphlet poetry competition

'The angel and the aipple'
The 2014 winner was
Perjink Press.

Six publishers have been shortlisted for the annual pamphlet poetry prize at the National Library of Scotland.

The Callum Macdonald Memorial Award recognises outstanding examples of pamphlet poetry publishing with a connection to Scotland or Scottish culture.

This year's shortlist is:

  • Annie Reid Press of Balerno for 'Through a rear-view mirror' by Marjorie Mitchell
  • Mariscat Press of Edinburgh for 'Prodigal' by Jim Carruth
  • Mariscat Press of Edinburgh for 'A witch among the gooseberries' by Ian McDonough
  • Red Squirrel Press of Morpeth for 'Greetings from Glasgow' by Chris Young
  • The Shed Press of Balmullo for 'Seeing the wood for the trees' by Jenny Elliott
  • Valloria Press of Glasgow for 'Chasing winter dragons' by Ann Rawson.

The winner of the 2015 award will be announced at a ceremony in the Library on 14 May.

23 April 2015


Celebrating Mary Midgley

Mary Midgley

Scientific philosopher Dr Mary Midgley receives the Edinburgh Medal in a ceremony this evening (7 April) at the Edinburgh Science Festival.

We commemorate the life and work of this thought-provoking writer and thinker with a small display in our George IV Bridge Building.

Along with a selection of Dr Midgley's own work are books by others who have inspired her, including James Lovelock, Jane Goodall and Iris Murdoch.

Visitors to the building can also see a copy of the journal article presenting her critical assessment of Richard Dawkins' book 'The selfish gene'.

The material is on display until 17 April. Read more about Mary Midgley on the Science Festival website.

7 April 2015


Display celelebrates the iconic Forth Bridge

A new display at the National Library of Scotland celebrates the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge 125 years ago.

'The Forth Bridge: Building an icon' exhibits items from Library collections to tell the story of the bridge's eight-year development.

Detailed plans, photographs of construction and an original copy of the opening ceremony lunch menu demonstrate the atmosphere of celebration that surrounded the bridge's opening on 4 March 1890.

Among key items in the display are:

  • The diary of a tourist who visited the Forth Bridge on his holiday in Scotland in 1890
  • Newspaper articles about the opening ceremony, including the Prince of Wales hammering in the final rivet
  • Weekly photos of bridge construction during 1886-1887 taken by Philip Phillips
  • A photographic demonstration of the cantilever principle using human subjects.

Manuscripts Curator Alison Metcalfe hopes that 'this display will show some of the ingenuity involved in its construction and help to remember the sacrifice of so many who lost their lives when it was being built.'

The display is open daily from 1 April to 21 June, and entry is free.

Read more in our Forth Bridge display media release.

1 April 2015


Rare 'Alice in Wonderland' display for World Book Day

Knave of Hearts with tarts, 1865
Illustration opposite the
1865 title page.

On World Book Day, visitors to the National Library of Scotland can view the earliest editions of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's adventures in Wonderland'. This small display includes the rarest and most sought-after version of the famous book.

Visitors can see the first edition of 'Alice' from 1865, open at the title page. This first issue was withdrawn from publication after the illustrator, John Tenniel, complained about the quality of the printed illustrations.

Recipients of presentation copies were asked to return them, and only a few bound copies have survived. The Library's copy has the added attraction of being in its original red cloth binding, which is particularly rare.

Tenniel's illustrations

Also on display are two copies of the 1866 second edition of 'Alice'. This was the first edition sold to the public. The books will be open to show two of John Tenniel's most famous illustrations: Alice meeting the Cheshire cat and Alice at the Hatter's mad tea-party.

Visit the Library's Boardroom on 5 March between 16.30 and 18.30 to view these rare and fascinating works.

A selection of early editions featured in our 'Alice' treasures display in 2011.

Read more in the World Book Day media release.

2 March 2015

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