top of page
  • Kristin Bundesen, PhD

Dorothy Dunnett Centenary Gathering

As readers of this blog will know, I am an avid Dorothy Dunnett fan. I reread her Lymond Chronicles every other year and have been doing so since I was 20. (When I was 17, I met a woman who reread all of Jane Austen every year - hence the inspiration. ) The Lymond Chronicles is thousands of pages long depending on which edition(s) one reads. It takes a bit to get through all 6 books. Dunnett wrote many other books across genres, but the Lymond Chronicles are the ones that keep calling me.

The Dorothy Dunnett Centenary Gathering, hosted by the charitable organization The Dorothy Dunnett Society, will be held in Edinburgh in April 2023. There will be events, lectures, a concert, tours and an academic conference. The conference theme is "Understanding Diversity in the 15th and 16th Centuries". The full call for papers is here. There is some funding available for those who lack institutional support. Papers are solicited that touch on a wide variety of themes that covered in Dunnett's works including:

  • race

  • family

  • gender

  • property

  • sexuality

  • education

  • social class

  • trade

  • disability

  • travel

  • law

  • finance

  • religion

  • public and private spaces

  • philosophy

  • professions/occupations

  • politics/government

  • clothing

  • science (including medicine)

  • food and drink

  • literature, music, painting, sculpture

The two-day conference implements the mission of the Society "to advance the education of the public concerning the history, politics, culture and religion of the … 15th and 16th centuries by promoting the study of and research into such subjects generally and into such subjects particularly as they relate to the works of Dorothy Dunnett."

By Kim Traynor - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The academic conference will be followed by the Centenary Gathering of the International Dorothy Dunnett Society starting with a lecture day. The organizing committee very kindly has asked me to start the day off with a paper titled ‘Oh, the places you’ll go.’ Travelling through time, space, and genre with Dorothy Dunnett" that will summarize and tie the academic conference to the rest of many events over the following week. And the rest of the events are many. Even if you've never heard of Dorothy Dunnett, or you are a new to her work, the Gathering events are worth attending in their own right. Think custom tours of Stirling Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland's oldest inhabited house Traquair House, Hadrian's Wall, St. Giles Cathedral, the Great Tapestry of Scotland, Melrose Abbey and more.

For those interested in an incredibly well-researched, albeit fictional, origin story for Macbeth, check out Dunnett's King Hereafter.

Dunnett depicts Macbeth’s transformation from an angry boy who refuses to accept his meager share of the Orkney Islands to a suavely accomplished warrior who seizes an empire with the help of a wife as shrewd and valiant as himself.

Be forewarned that you will want paper and pencil to keep track of the names and places. To start with, the young earl prefers his birth name Thorfinn over his Christian name of Macbeth. Set in the 11th century and traversing Norwegian, Danish, and Scottish geographic and political landscapes it will forever change the way you read Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Hope to see you in Edinburgh in April!


bottom of page