Author details

Jenni Calder


I was born in the USA, educated in the US and England, and have lived and worked in Scotland since 1971. I was with the National Museum of Scotland in various capacities (including Head of Publications and script co-ordinator for the Museum of Scotland exhibitions which opened in 1998) from 1978 to 2001; before and since I’ve worked as a freelance writer and lecturer.

About writer's work

Most of my work has been in areas of literary and social history and biography, with recent topics including Scottish emigration, particularly to North America, and questions of identity. Other key interests include Scottish literature, particularly R L Stevenson and women writers. I have been publishing poetry consistently for over twenty years and am now also writing fiction.

Current events and projects

I am available talk about any topic reflected in my books (preferably subjects I’ve worked on recently), to give readings and talk about my work, and about the business of writing generally. In recent years I have talked and given readings to local history groups, writers’ groups, discussion groups, academic audiences, and at libraries, museums and literary festivals. As a member of Scottish PEN I participate in events highlighting issues of freedom of expression and the promotion of literature across frontiers. I prefer not to drive long distances in winter. Most of my recent work has been with adults, but I’m happy to talk to audiences of any age.

Other work

Chronicles of Conscience: A Study of Arthur Koestler and George Orwell, Secker and Warburg, 1968/ 436 08120 2 political fiction; documentary writing of the 1930s and 40s; Case Studies of Orwell and Koestler/Scott (with Angus Calder), Evans, 1969/ 237 35028 9 introduction to life and work of Walter Scott; Scottish literature; historical fiction

There Must be a Lone Ranger: The Myth and Reality of the American West, Hamish Hamilton, 1974/ 241 02450 1 American frontier history; Western fiction and film

Women and Marriage in Victorian Fiction, Thames and Hudson, 1976 /0 500 51001 position of women in the 19th century; social and cultural context; depiction of marriage in major and minor fiction

Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Edward Arnold, 1976 0 7131 59200 analysis and comparison of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell; Fiction of Dystopia Heroes, from Byron to Guevara, Hamish Hamilton, 1977/ 241 895367 examination of concepts of heroic action; real life and fictional heroes; adventure stories

The Victorian Home, Batsford, 1977/ 0 7134 08170 19th-century home in fact and fiction; design; position of women

The Victorian and Edwardian Home in Old Photographs, Batsford, 1979/ 0 7134 0793X

RLS: A Life Study, Hamish Hamilton, 1980 /0 241 103746 / Life and Work of Stevenson; Victorian Scotland; Scottish Literature Stevenson and Victorian Scotland (ed, with an introduction), Edinburgh University Press, 1980/ 0 85224 399 5/ discussions of Stevenson’s work; Victorian Scotland; Scottish literature

The Robert Louis Stevenson Companion (ed, with an introduction), Paul Harris, 1980/ 0 904505 944/ 19th and 20th century essays on Stevenson; Scottish literature

The Enterprising Scot (ed, with contributions), National Museums of Scotland, 1986 0 11 492483X/Scottish achievement particularly in the 19th century; Scottish biography

Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Open University Press, 1987/ analysis of two of George Orwell’s key works; dystopian fiction; 20th-century fiction

The Wealth of a Nation (ed, with contributions), National Museums of Scotland, 1989/ 0 86267 267 8/ Scottish material in NMS collections; curatorial and historical essays

Scotland in Trust, Richard Drew, 1990/ 0 8267 285 6/ National Trust for Scotland; Scotland’s history reflected in NTS properties

St Ives by R L Stevenson (new ending), Richard Drew, 1990/ 0 8267 272 4/completion of Stevenson’s adventure story St Ives (last four chapters), unfinished at his death in 1894

No Ordinary Journey (with Ian Bunyan, Dale Idiens, Bryce Wilson), NMS Publishing, 1993/ 0 7735 1107 5/life of Orcadian Arctic explorer John Rae; history of Arctic exploration; Scottish contribution to opening up Arctic Canada

Treasure Islands, A Robert Louis Stevenson Anthology (ed), NMS Publishing, 1994/ 0 948636 59 9/ Stevenson material related to seafaring and island themes (accompanied Treasure Islands exhibition, 1994)

Mediterranean (poems, as Jenni Daiches), Scottish Cultural Press, 1995/ 1 898218 35 8/ poems reflecting Scottish landscape and experiences overseas

Tales of the South Seas, stories etc by R L Stevenson (ed, with introduction), Canongate, 1996/ 0 86241 643 4/ fiction and non-fiction arising from Stevenson’s six years in the South Pacific

The Nine Lives of Naomi Mitchison, Virago, 1997/1 85381 724/ biography of Mitchison; women’s writing; Scottish culture

Present Poets 1 (ed, poetry anthology), NMS Publishing, 1998/ 1 901663 14 0/ published version of poetry poster project which featured 50 poems by contemporary poets inspired by material to be displayed in the Museum of Scotland

Translated Kingdoms (ed, poetry anthology), NMS Publishing, 1999/ 1 901663 04 3/ Scottish poems of the sea

Robert Louis Stevenson, (selected poetry, ed), Everyman/ 1999 Present Poets 2 (ed, poetry anthology), NMS Publishing, 2000 / 1 901663 39 6/ published version of poetry poster project which featured 50 poems by contemporary poets on the theme of emigration and exile

A Beleaguered City and Other Tales of the Seen and the Unseen by Margaret Oliphant (ed with introduction), Canongate, 2000 1 84282 060 2

Scots in Canada, Luath Press, 2003/ 1 84282 038 9/ emigration from Scotland; Canadian history; Scottish contribution to development of Canada; Not Nebuchadnezzar: In Search of Identities, Luath Press, 2005/ 1 84282 060 5/ autobiographical essays; questions of identity

Smoke (poems, as Jenni Daiches), Kettillonia, 2005/ 1 902944 22 4/ poem cycle on Holocaust theme

Scots in the USA, Luath Press, 2006/ 1 905222 06 8/ emigration from Scotland; US history; Scottish contribution to development of US; Letters from the Great Wall (fiction, as Jenni Daiches), Luath Press, 2006/ 1 905222 51 3/ living and working in Scotland in the 1980s; movement for democracy in China; Tienanmen Square 1989

Frontier Scots: The Scots Who Won the West, Luath Press. Scottish involvement in exploration, fur trade, Indian fighting, settlement, ranching and cattle industry, mining, law making etc in American West


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Age groups

5-8, 9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type

Poet, Writer