10 Edinburgh… Literary Societies

Reading may be one of the best solo activities around, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share the joy. Check out ten of Edinburgh’s excellent literary societies.

Carlyle Society image

Carlyle Society

Celebrating the work of not one but two Carlyles, the society meets regularly at its Edinburgh University address to celebrate the work of essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane Welsh Carlyle, a noted letter writer born in Haddington and the inspiration for Leigh Hunt’s poem Jenny Kissed Me.

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Dorothy Dunnett Society

The doyenne of historical fiction, Dorothy Dunnett was celebrated worldwide for her series of novels including The Lymond Chronicles, The House of Niccolo and King Hereafter. A true renaissance woman, she was a portrait painter and leading light of the Scottish art scene. The society honours her work with members across the world.

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Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club image

Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club

A poet, novelist, critic and ballad collector, Scott is one of the nation’s most revered men of letters – and rightly so. The Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club has been going since 1894, sharing the love for Sir Walter Scott and his contribution to Scottish literature for well over a hundred years.

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James Hogg Society

James Hogg, also known as The Ettrick Shepard, is best known for the chilling and unforgettable novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner but he produced a huge number of poems, plays and novels throughout his long career. Hosted by the University of Stirling, the society host events, conferences and lectures on the great man and his work.

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Muriel Spark Society image

Muriel Spark Society

The author who gave us the irrepressible Miss Jean Brodie is honoured by a society based in Edinburgh, which she named ‘her own city’. A very private person, when it suited her, Ms Spark gave her blessing to the formation of the society which provides a welcoming meeting place for anyone wishing to discuss her work.

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Robert Fergusson Society

Called by Robert Burns ‘by far my elder brother in the muse’, poet Robert Fergusson had a huge impact of 18th century literature and politics despite his untimely death at the age of 24. The society is dedicated to preserving his memory and spreading word of his work.

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Robert Louis Stevenson Club

Everyone is welcome to join the Robert Louis Stevenson Club, a lively worldwide group dedicated to fostering interest in the incomparable author, and one of our partners in RLS Day. The RLS Club holds many events throughout the year from talks and lunches to full-on treks.

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Saltire Society image

Saltire Society

Celebrating the Scottish imagination as a whole, The Saltire Society also has a strong literary strand with two new literary awards announced in 2014. Offering prizes for writers and publishers, this society champions free speech, celebrates individual achievement and encourages new work. Lang may their lumb reek!

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Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society image

Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society

Founded in 1888 as a way of bringing British culture to the Jewish immigrant population of Edinburgh, the society has considerably widened its scope over the years. Now, it’s a discussion forum for a wide range of topics covering every area of culture and history with a Jewish connection.

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Costorphine Literary and Geographical Society image

Costorphine Literary and Geographical Society

Since 1880 ‘The Lit’ as it’s locally known has been packing in large audiences for its programme of events. Illustrated talks form the core, but musical items and social events keep The Lit vibrant after all these years.

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