Quines Exhibition

Launching next Saturday 7 March on the eve of International Women’s Day is the exciting new exhibition `Quines: poems and textiles in tribute to women of Scotland’ on display across Central Library.

Taking inspiration from Gerda Stevenson’s poetry collection Quines: poems in tribute to women of Scotland celebrating and exploring the richly diverse contribution women have made to Scottish history and society, edge textile artists Scotland members have each selected varied poems from the collection, interpreting them in diverse and inspiring personal ways.

Come to the launch afternoon running 2-4pm Saturday 7 March. Book on Edinburgh Reads to hear Gerda Stevenson reading poems from her collection Quines and take a guided tour led by edge members around the exhibition. Enjoy a cuppa and chat to edge members.

The exhibition is on display on the Mezzanine, on the Staircase and in the Art & Design Library running until Monday 30 March.




Women seek peace after World War One – part of Harpies, Fechters and Quines Festival

Did the women who obtained the vote in 1918 expect their voices to be heard in international politics of 1919?

In the spring of 1919 the four political leaders of America, Britain, France and Italy, and their associated Allies met in Paris to draw up the peace terms that were to be imposed on Germany and the Central Powers.  The hundreds of men involved in the Paris Peace Conference were somewhat surprised to receive telegrams and then a delegation of women expressing concern and criticism of the draft treaty. The five women had been delegated to travel to Paris by the 140 women from 16 countries meeting in Zurich in the second International Women’s Congress.  Did the men listen to the women and did it affect the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty?

Helen Kay has undertaken archival research on the lives of women involved in the suffrage movement in Scotland, exploring the links they made into the international political situation and the campaign for peace: in particular she has studied the career of the Edinburgh suffragist and barrister, Chrystal Macmillan (1872-1937) who helped to establish The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Come along and hear how Scots women have influenced the world – Wednesday 5 June, 2 – 3pm Central Library, George Washington Browne Room.

Book your free ticket for this brilliant talk via Eventbrite and browse the full programme for this year’s Harpies, Fechters and Quines Festival online.

Image © IWM (Q 28345)

Gie’s peace: a one woman show celebrating women’s activism for peace

As part of the Harpies, Fechters and Quines 2019 programme, Morna Burden will be performing her one woman show, Gie’s Peace.

Morna Burdon is a director, performer, writer and singer whose work ranges from creating and directing large scale international projects to performing at Glastonbury. Much of her own work has been about giving voice to those whose stories are rarely told.

Morna devised, directs and performs in Gie’s Peace, a tapestry of true stories and songs about remarkable women worldwide who have walked for peace, rebelled against war and sometimes risked everything in the process.
She says: 

“As with my previous show Bonnie Fechters , it is the strength, courage and determination of these women that is so affecting. From the Japanese girl  who inspired a movement to the astonishing bravery of a Somalian mother to the young African American who overcame fear to sing in the darkness”.

Gie’s Peace is recommended for ages 14 and upwards and it enjoyed sell-out shows during Edinburgh Fringe 2018.

An audience member commented:

“Beautifully structured……  As always, her words and music bring emotions to life….Evocative songs of protest and struggle…moving and inspirational story –telling”.

You can experience the show at Central Library for free by booking your place online.

To book for this event and to see the full line-up of events for the Harpies, Fechters and Quines Festival, visit the programme page online.

Harpies, Fechters and Quines 2018 – Women, War and the Book

Monday’s launch of the Harpies, Fechters and Quines festival saw the annual 2 week programme of events off to a flying start!

Edinburgh Libraries is working in association with the Bonnie Fechters, a local women’s group, and with Scotland’s War, the Glasgow Women’s Library, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Workers’ Educational Association to deliver a range of activities. These include talks, workshops, an exhibition, a film and a concert.  As a result, there are lots of opportunities to come along and join in.

Tapestry kindly loaned for display by the Workers’ Educational Association stitchers (Mezzanine, Central Library)

Whether you want to sing along at the Lena Ashwell concert, produce some creative writing, experience early film or simply look at the commemorative tapestries you are warmly welcome. You’ll find details of all the forthcoming events at www.edinburghreads.eventbrite.co.uk.


Art Library exhibition for June 2018

The exhibition in the Art Library this month is Face Your Beauty: Feel Your Power.

The exhibition is a series of fashion photos by Joanna Jarzymowska and Michal Pocwiardowski.

Face Your Beauty: Feel Your Power runs until 30 June 2018 in the Art and Design Library.

A Woman’s Place art exhibition

This month’s exhibition in the Art & Design Library is by Julie Galante and is entitled     A Woman’s Place: an exploration of home and belonging.

Julie is a painter and mixed-media artist based in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Her artwork focuses on people and places real and imagined. As someone who has lived in several different countries, she is particularly intrigued by the ways in which one’s location can affect a person’s inner and outer life.

The exhibition works started out as a study of the relationships between people and places: how one’s location and proximity to other people affects one’s mental state and well-being. The themes and subjects have grown and developed with the events of the past year. Julie explained to where the inspiration for her work had come from –

“The power of groups of women became evident to me in the women’s marches taking place all over the world, as well as in the close-knit group of female friends who supported me through my husband’s leukemia diagnosis and treatment. His death in April of this year left me reeling, person-less and place-less. Much of the artwork I have created since then is an exploration of my new role of young widow. And finally, many of the pieces in this exhibition celebrate Edinburgh, the city in which I know I belong. There is very little certainty in my life right now, but one thing I know for sure is that this city is my home”.

A Woman’s Place can be viewed within the Art & Design Library, Central Library from   2 – 30 August.




The Other Einstein

The titles we get for our OverDrive Big Library Read club just keep getting better and better! Hot on the heels of the brilliant DC Daley (our May ebook read) we now meet an amazing woman in the form of Mileva Marić, the woman behind one of the most famous men of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict offers a window into the fascinating story of Einstein’s first wife. A brilliant physicist in her own right, her contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight. This historical fiction book, offers readers a window into a brilliant woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow.

Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric, 1912

“The moment I first learned about Mileva, I discovered that she was fascinating in her own right and I felt compelled to tell her tale,” said Marie Benedict, author of The Other Einstein. “The more I researched Mileva and came to know her through her letters, I realized that her story was powerful and important in itself, and instrumental in understanding our own history and the role of women in it.”

This Big Library Read will be available on our OverDrive site with unlimited downloads from the 12 – 26 June. All you need is a library card to take part. So if you are going away on holiday, this is the first thing to download and put in your suitcase! Why not encourage friends and family to read it too, it’s the perfect excuse to get together and have your own book group. Or join in online with the conversation about the book at BigLibraryRead.com.



Harpies, Fechters and Quines Festival 2017

We’ve very pleased to announce the programme for this year’s Harpies, Fechters and Quines Festival, organised in partnership with the Glasgow Women’s Library and the Edinburgh Womens’ Group Bonnie Fechters.

This year the focus is on women and film – Reel Women – and includes many free film screenings. Come along and meet like-minded folk, learn something new or just sit back and enjoy.

Browse the full programme and book your tickets via Eventbrite

Art Library exhibition for December

The Art Library’s December exhibition is Every Woman Super Woman

Every Woman Super Woman is an exhibition of work by young Scottish women from Young Saheliya produced in partnership with Stills Centre for Photography and Edinburgh Art Festival.


The exhibition celebrates a summer of creative workshops inspired by Ciara Phillips’ Every Woman commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and the Jo Spence exhibition at Stills. Also working with Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, workshops included photography, creative writing, blogging and female representation in the media.

Dazzle Ship 'Every Woman', by Ciara Phillips in Leith.

Dazzle Ship ‘Every Woman’, by Ciara Phillips at Leith. Image from http://www.capitalcollections.org.uk

The exhibition of portraits, explores self-expression through photography. Inspired by Jo Spence’s work, the group created characters to tell their own stories, drawing from personal experience, role models and fictional personalities.

This fantastic exhibition runs from 2 to 31 December.

Hysterical Women and Graphic Grrrlz

Graphic novels are not just by boys, for boys! Some of most powerful and original examples of the genre have been created by female writers and artists as diverse as Posy Simmonds, Inverna Lockpez and Marjane Satrapi. And this is not a recent phenomenon.

Want to know more? Of course you do. Come along to Central Library next Wednesday (2nd May) from 6.00 – 7.30pm, when illustrator and zinemaker Heather Middleton will give an illustrated talk on the history of graphic novels and zines by women.

When Heather gave a similar talk in Glasgow recently it went down a storm so book now to reserve your place.

This is part of an exciting series of talks and exhibitions celebrating the lives and achievements of some remarkable women, organised in conjunction with Glasgow Women’s Library and The Bonnie Fechters.