Unpublished Conan Doyle stories — 'not very good'
The strange tale of a set of stories found locked away in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's safe after his death is revealed in the John Murray Archive.
Among the author's papers now held at the National Library of Scotland is evidence that even Sir Arthur had 'off' days.
After his death in 1930, Conan Doyle's publisher John Murray found the stories and had them typed up. However, in the archive is a note found with them which describes them as 'not very good and not used as the quality is poor'.
Early versions of Holmes and Watson
The stories include some early experiments with characters similar to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Some were published in obscure publications, but most are unknown to the reading public.
Although they may not be of high quality, they are still of great interest, given Conan Doyle's status as one of the giants of English literature.
Archive at NLS now complete
These papers are among the final donations by the Murray family to the John Murray Archive at the National Library. Formerly held in London, this publishing archive provides a remarkable insight into British life over three centuries.
Among other highlights recently added are:
- Drawings by Osbert Lancaster who invented the pocket cartoon in daily newspapers and produced cartoons for the 'Daily Express' from 1939-1981
- Travel notebooks belonging to John Murray III which are considered the precursor to the first modern travel guides
- Registers which reveal the names of authors who contributed anonymously to the 'Quarterly Review', one of most important publications of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Read more in our Conan Doyle papers press release.
30 April 2012
Pamphlet poetry shortlist announced
Seven poetry pamphlets are in the running for top prize in an annual competition that recognises excellence in pamphlet poetry publishing.
Out of 38 'outstanding' entries received, the judges for the 2012 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award have selected these pamphlets and publishers for the shortlist:
- 'Ecstatics, a language of birds', by Lesley Harrison and Laura Drever, published by Brae Editions
- 'Happyland', by William Hershaw, published by FRAS Publications
- 'Some consequences of saying yes', written and published by Mary Thomson
- 'A natural curiosity,' by A C Clarke, published by New Voices Press
- 'Upon a good high hill', by Helen Lawrenson, published by Perjink Press
- 'Linked lines', by Hayden Murphy, published by Roncadora Press
- 'Dain Do Shomhairle', by multiple authors, published by the Scottish Poetry Library and the Sorley MacLean Trust.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the National Library of Scotland on 17 May.
Read more in the pamphlet poetry shortlist press release.
19 April 2012
Moray travel guide goes mobile
A mobile app travel guide has been developed in Moray in a project led by the National Library of Scotland.
Local schools and community volunteers have worked with the Learning Team at NLS to develop 'Great Escapes Moray', now available free from the Apple App Store.
The travel guide features 20 of the best things to see in the area, including:
- Lossiemouth, the birthplace of Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937), Britain's first Labour Prime Minister
- Elgin Cathedral
- Early reptile footprints
- Pluscarden Abbey
- The local whisky industry.
Archive film clips, interviews with local people, audio, images, and text are all used to bring the content alive. Much of it comes from NLS archives.
The app is is available for iPhone 4 and above, iPod Touch and iPad.
Read more in the 'Great escapes Moray' press release.
10 April 2012