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The Maker of Modern Lives
James Boswell, Biographer 1740-1795
The Maker of Modern Lives
James Boswell, Biographer 1740-1795

As author of the Life of Dr Johnson, Boswell invented the art of modern biography; his tour to the Hebrides and his account of Corsica established him as one of the earliest travel writers; and his rediscovered journals first published in the 1950s turned him into a twentieth-century literary sensation.

The Boswell Quill in Auchinleck Churchyard, where James Boswell and his immediate family are buried, orientates visitors on their discovery of the churchyard trails and celebrates the universal power of the written word.

‘Boswell is the first of biographers. He has no second.’ Thomas Babington Macaulay.

The Boswell Trust acknowledges the contribution of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to the creation of the Boswell project in Auchinleck graveyard.

Boswell's Quill
The Boswell Quill

Bill Paterson reads excerpts from James Boswell's books and journals

The much-loved Scottish actor, known to many through his recent roles in Shetland, Fleabag, Guilt and Rebecca as well as through his narration of numerous TV and radio programmes including being the voice of BBC 1’s ‘The Repair Shop’ and the reading of his own classic childhood memoir Tales from the Back Green, will be reading excerpts from James Boswell’s most enduring books and journals, including An Account of Corsica and Tour to the Hebrides – which was recently the inspiration behind the Sky Arts programmes with Frank Skinner and Denise Mina.

While The Life of Samuel Johnson has never been out of print since its publication in 1791, Boswell’s numerous other writings have been less accessible to the reading public. Yale University, where the Boswell archive is held, have been engaged in a monumental campaign to publish the complete Boswell papers and one of their greatest triumphs was the publication in 1950 of Boswell’s youthful London Journal 1762-1763 which became an international bestseller.

The starting point for exploration of the newly landscaped churchyard, is the square neo-classical mausoleum, enlarged in 1754, attached to the original seventeenth-century old kirk, where Boswell and his immediate family are buried.

Visitors are offered mapped trails of the churchyard, which tell the history of Auchinleck and its people – from every walk of life.  And take time to enjoy Scotland Boswell’s Quill, created by sculptor Harry Gray, which is destined to become a unique landmark renowned throughout Ayrshire and beyond.  

15 hours ago

Boswell Book Festival
We are delighted to be in partnership with Bath Festivals to create the wonderful Reading is Magic Festival 2021!This digital festival has many wonderful events with fantastic authors, from Thank You poems with Joseph Coelho to a brilliant event with Waterstones Laureate Cressida Cowell sharing her thoughts on books that she loved as a child.This free, online festival will take place from 27th September-1st October 2021, and we can’t wait to share with you what will be a wonderful festival for schools and families around the world. Click here for more info: bit.ly/3zFZnkX#RIMF2021 See MoreSee Less
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4 weeks ago

Boswell Book Festival
GREAT NEWS! 🎉 We are delighted to announce that we are taking part in the wonderful ✨ Reading is Magic Festival ✨ this year. The FREE online children’s book festival for schools and families runs from 27 September – 1 October and we are so excited to be part of it. We have programmed a session celebrating life stories with the best-selling author Alice Oseman, poet and writer Rebecca Tantony and comic artist Gordon Shaw. The festival programme which is jam-packed full of fantastic authors and illustrators. Featuring Joseph Coelho, Cressida Cowell, Michael Rosen, Harry Baker, Laura Ellen Anderson, BB Alston, Holly Bourne, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Rob Biddulph, M.G. Leonard, Dr Shini Somara, Dean Atta and many more!Find out more and sign up to email updates bit.ly/3xIFN5X See MoreSee Less
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