Dorothy Dunnett

Older News items for those who are seeing the pages for the first time

Personal Appearances

Dorothy took her usual slot in the Edinburgh Book Festival on the 23rd August 2000, reading from and talking about Gemini, and a couple of weeks later had two days of talks and discussion with a small group of readers at Greywalls Hotel in Gullane, a venue she has appeared at on a number of occasions before. Greywalls House is a splendid building designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and offers a more relaxed and informal atmosphere than can sometimes be the case at author events.

She visited and spoke at the English Book Fair in Avon, near Fontainbleau in France on the 9th and 10th of December.


Shortly after Gemini was released in June 2000, Dorothy gave a reading, talk and signing session in the Events Room of our South Bridge store. Needless to say it was full to overflowing and an enjoyable evening for everyone. Details and pictures.
The following evening Michael Joseph held a champagne reception in the New Club in Edinburgh's Princes Street to celebrate the achievement of completing the House of Niccolo.

Dorothy took part in a "Meet the Author" event at Duff House in Banff in February 2000, hosted by Charles Burnett - Ross Herald who some readers will have heard speak on heraldry.

She also spoke to the Friends of Dunkeld Cathedral in that lovely Perthshire town on 12th April 2000. She tells me that attendance was double the normal figure and she spoke on some of her King Hereafter research that was relevant to the Cathedral - specifically the detective work which was required to isolate King Duncan's father, the Crinan Abbott of Dunkeld. A copy of her research pertaining to Dunkeld was deposited in their archive

Visit to Australia

In March 2000 Dorothy spent some time in Australia visiting Adelaide for the Writer's Week where she had both a solo talk and took part in a panel session with Melvyn Bragg, Roger McDonald and Hilary Mantel. This was followed by a number of promotional events in places such as the Mosman Library in New South Wales. All the appearances were a great success, frequently going well beyond their planned times, and quite a lot of our net connected Australian contingent were able to see and speak to her.

Caprice and Rondo

The 7th and penultimate volume in the House of Niccolo Series - Caprice and Rondo has been available here in the UK since November 97

With a publication date of 6th November, we arranged to get our copies a little earlier to enable us to process the orders and we just had a few days of Dorothy's week at home for her to sign as many as she could before she flew to the US for the second part of her author tour. She managed to get through all the reserved copies and some of the remainder (about 450) but such was the demand that we soon ran out of signed copies until she came in on the 12th November for a public signing session. In fact although she gallantly stayed on afterwards to sign as many as possible we ran out of those as well and have now sold over 650 copies in total. That helped to put Caprice and Rondo in the UK Top Ten hardback fiction chart in November which was a wonderful achievement. The hardback has been through four reprints and in fact we are now reliant on stock already with wholesalers as Michael Joseph ran out and didn't feel a further reprint was justified with the trade paperback about to come out

Paperback released in May 98
The first paperback version - a Michael Joseph trade paperback edition - was published on 28th May priced at UKP 11.95 ISBN 0718140826
The first US cloth edition published by Knopf was also released in May 98.

The Penguin edition was published at the end of December 98. It is the same size as the Penguin edition of To Lie with Lions - slightly bigger than the first 5 in the series, and the cover is a miniaturised version of the hardback one. (Copies of both the hardback and trade paperback are also still available)

Dorothy's 1997 US author tour a great success!!

The October 97 two-part visit to promote the reissuing of the US editions of the Lymond Chronicles was extremely successful, with large crowds at those venues I've had reports from. While visiting us during the week between the two legs of the tour, Dorothy expressed her astonishment at the enthusiasm and warmth of her welcome. The shops were packed to overflowing - much to the amazement of the publishers and booksellers. In one case it was described as being more like an appearance by Madonna than by a writer of historical fiction! On at least one occasion the shops actually ran out of the books! Many fans travelled vast distances to attend and I've had many emails telling of their pleasure at having seen and spoken to her and how witty and enchanting they found her.

Dorothy in Boston
many thanks to David Boyd for this picture - taken by Kathy Douglas and used with her kind permission

Random House added a Dunnett page to their web site at as part of the promotion, with details of the books, some historical background, and some "reading group guides".

The Dorothy Dunnett Companion is out of print

We first heard at the beginning of May 97 that the "Companion" was out of print, and while this was later amended to "reprint under consideration" it soon became apparent that Michael Joseph had no plans to reprint it unless they receive sufficient orders to suggest that it is worthwhile. This is now highly unlikely and our best hope seems to be that a second edition is commisioned once the Niccolo series is completed and all the more recent references can be included. For a while we managed to trace copies that were still in the pipeline - a number turned up in Canada and we were able to coordinate with the company there who had them, and later copies turned up in a chain of remainder shops here in the UK and I was able to obtain a couple of batches from them. Since then only the odd copy has turned up and since I have a waiting list of over 50 people it's highly unlikely that we'll manage to unearth sufficient copies to supply them all. If you're in the UK it may still be worth keeping your eyes open just in case.

The Lymond Chronicles Reissues

The Lymond Chronicles series, which was unavailable for a while after Dorothy switched publishers, has been reissued on both sides of the Atlantic - as Michael Joseph trade paperbacks in the UK and as Vintage paperbacks in the US - and both are now complete, although since then two of the UK editions (Ringed Castle and Checkmate) have sold out and gone out of print again. We have a few copies left of them but once they are gone that is it.
The Michael Joseph editions started to appear first - The first two titles - Game of Kings & Queens' Play were published in the UK in November 96.
The Disorderly Knights & Pawn in Frankincense were then published in March 97.
The Ringed Castle arrived in November 97 but Checkmate which was originally supposed to accompany it was delayed until April 1998.

The US editions from Vintage only started to appear in May 97, but with a much faster schedule they were completed first with the second pair coming in July 97, and the last pair in September/October 97 in time for Dorothy's visit. They are priced at $US 14.00.
We discovered that we are able to obtain copies of these for any of our non-american customers via a specialist US wholesaler who handles some books not normally distributed over here. As it turns out they are cheaper than the UK editions at around £9.00 (depending on the exchange rate). Here are the jackets for the first four of them too.

I was also sent copies of the Vintage catalogue and the first two books when they first came out and I must say they did Dorothy proud. The catalogue had a fold out section in order to cover the four titles and still have room for a full page photograph of Dorothy standing outside Craigmillar Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Comparing the two editions I rather prefer the covers of the US versions, which are very elegant indeed, but for reading I prefer the typesetting of the actual text in the UK editions, which are much easier on the eyes.
A number of people have asked about the comments in the preface about changes in the text. Dorothy tells me that these are mostly grammar and punctuation and intended to clear up ambiguous or slightly misleading phrases, and make the text easier to read and interpret. There are no changes to the story itself.

Media and Personal Appearances

In 1998 Dorothy appeared on a UK television programme in her guise as a portrait painter, acting as a judge on some submitted paintings. I'm trying to get more details on this at the moment.

In 1999 she contributed to a book of childhood memories called A Scottish Childhod Vol 2, which was published with the royalties going to the charity Save the Children. There are contributions from over 60 well known Scots so each is quite small - Dorothy's is about 4 pages and is devoted to her grandparents. For anyone interested the book is £5.99 and the ISBN is 0004721764. Other contributors include rugby player Gavin Hastings, percussionist Evelyn Glennie and film director Bill Forsyth.

Last updated 5th May 2001


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