Orkney - scene of Dorothy's book King Hereafter

Dorothy Dunnett

Historical fiction at its very best

Dorothy was one in a billion; a superb writer, a meticulous researcher and historian, a talented painter and sculptress. Quite simply the most intelligent person I've ever met, yet modest, kind, and perpetually interested in other people. As a team with Alastair they made a massive difference to Scottish life and culture that can hardly be overstated.

I got involved with the world of Dorothy Dunnett and her readers back in 1994 when I was putting together the first website for James Thin. The story of how that developed is mentioned in the Books page and and also recounted on the main Dorothy Dunnett website which I run, so I won't duplicate it here. What I can do is mention some of the developments since then, and how we're trying to keep Dorothy's legacy of remarkable writing available for future generations.

After the completion of the House of Niccolo series she decided to wind up the Dorothy Dunnett Foundation and gave her blessing and financial help to the formation of the Dorothy Dunnett Readers' Association to keep the readers in communication and continue publication of Whispering Gallery magazine. I was asked to join the steering committee which set it up as their internet consultant and subsequently joined the new committee of the DDRA. After a while I offered to take over administering the membership records and constructed a proper database for them and I continued in that role for about 5 years before standing down due to pressure of work. In addition to this I was asked to take over from the retiring Ann McMillan as Chairman of the association in 2007 and I did that for two years.

There have been a number of changes in the DDRA since its formation and we are now have our third editor for the magazine. We annually hold the AGM weekend and in conjunction with that we have been organising such things as a visit to the Dunnett archive in the National Museum, the commisioning of a stone plaque to Dorothy in the Makars Court outside the Writers Museum in Edinburgh and various other smaller events such as presenting books to the library in Birgu on Malta. By these and other means we hope to keep interest alive in Dorothy's legacy of writing and see her gain her rightful place in literary history and teaching.


© Bill Marshall

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