Diana Gabaldon to receive Great Scot Award

from the National Trust for Scotland Foundation

January 18, 2022, New York City – American author Diana Gabaldon has brought the romance and drama of Scottish history to life for more than 50 million readers worldwide with her best-selling Outlander novels. Now, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA will recognize her extraordinary contributions to Scotland and America’s shared heritage by presenting her with the 2022 Great Scot Award at their 15th annual fundraising gala, A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures, on April 14, 2022.

“2022 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Stories, and so it seems especially appropriate to honor Diana Gabaldon, whose stories have come to embody Scotland and Scottish culture for millions of readers and television watchers around the world,” said Helen E.R. Sayles CBE, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA’s chair. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to thank her for inspiring so many to explore and fall in love with Scotland.”

Ms. Gabaldon’s first novel, Outlander, was published in 1991, and the story has extended across eight additional New York Times bestselling volumes. The latest, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, was published in November 2021.

Largely set in 18th-century Scotland, many of the Outlander novels use actual historic events as the backdrop for Claire and Jamie Fraser’s romance. Some of these, including the 1746 Battle of Culloden, are historic sites now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

In addition, National Trust for Scotland properties including Falkland Palace, Preston Mill, and the Village of Culross, have been used in filming the Sony / Starz television series based on Ms. Gabaldon’s work. The series stars Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, and its sixth season premieres on March 6, 2022.

“I have seen firsthand how American readers have embraced Scottish culture through their love of Outlander,” said Kirstin Bridier, executive director of NTSUSA. “Many of her readers have contributed generously to the preservation of National Trust for Scotland sites associated with the novels and television show – sites like Preston Mill. We could not ask for a better ambassador for our work.”

The presentation of the Great Scot Award is at the heart of a black-tie event that raises funds to support Scotland’s largest conservation charity. Past recipients of the award include documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, comedian Sir Billy Connolly, Golden Globe-winning actor Brian Cox, endurance athlete and world-record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont, sculptor Andy Scott, and authors Denise Mina and Alexander McCall Smith.

A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures is a festive evening that features a whisky tasting by The Macallan; the recitation of Burns’ Ode to a Haggis by Alasdair Nichol, Chairman of Freeman’s auction house and a frequent appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow; Scottish country dancing; and live and silent auctions. Before heading home, guests form a circle, clasp hands, and sing Auld Lang Syne.

Meal do naidheachd, a sheann charaid!
(Congratulations, old friend!)

Book Review: ‘An Echo in the Bone’

An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7) An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Like many fans of the “Outlander” series, I “met” author Diana Gabaldon on an online literary forum in the days of yore when CompuServe was the Internet service provider. At the time, Diana was posting what she referred to as “chunks” of her work-in-progress and garnering very enthusiastic comments and a fair amount of interesting discussion. The excerpts were so fluid and natural, I fair thought we might all end up speaking either Highland English or Gàidhlig before the manuscript was complete. In 1991, the writing chunks became “Outlander.”

In the years that followed, we traveled with Sassenach (English people and Lowlanders) Claire Beauchamp Randall through multiple countries in time lines beginning in 1945 and 1743. In 1945, she’s married to Frank Randall. In 1743, she’s in love with Highlander James Fraser.

As “Outlander” led to a sequel and then another sequel, I thought it rather presumptuous to review any of the installments of a series (heading toward 17 million copies sold in 21 languages and 24 countries) written by the very gracious mentor for the writers on the CompuServe Literary (now Books & Authors) Forum.

But 19 years and seven books have passed since I read the opening line “It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least not at first glance” as former combat nurse Claire Randall surveyed a 1945 Inverness bed and breakfast with “fading floral wallpaper” where she was celebrating a second honeymoon with Frank. Surely Diana would say “dinna fash” if I told her I was mustering up the grit to say a wee word or two.

Were I to distill this wordy review down to basics and say only a wee word or two, it would be this. “An Echo in the Bone” is the best book in the series since the first one.

Some readers have criticized the novel’s episodic presentation and multiple story lines. On the contrary, I view this approach as one of the novel’s many strengths, others being the evolving characterizations of individuals series readers have known for years, the exceptional detail and historical accuracy, and the author’s clear focus on the tension, danger and humor that make a darned fine story.

With “An Echo in the Bone,” we have regained the tension and tight plotting that we lost to come extent in “The Fiery Cross” and and “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” which spent too much time with everyday affairs at the expense of the stories’ primary thrusts. Well after “Outlander,” it was almost as though the uniqueness of a modern and highly skilled medical practitioner living two centuries before her own time was being asked to carry too much of the books’ weight.

“An Echo in the Bone,” however, is exceptionally strong. Multiple characters grow in multiple times and places, and the episodic approach strengthens the drama of the strong doses of harm’s way in each lifeline we’re following. Drama is not contained by linear time, a fact Diana has proven many times over, and this time out, she has honed her writer’s scalpel to a fine edge indeed.

The use Fort Ticonderoga and the September and October 1777 Battles of Saratoga as a major focal point anchors the novel in historic time and provides a memorable counterpane for compelling action sequences and character development without losing the series hallmark (often earthy and humorous) interactions between a feisty Sassenach and a volatile Highlander.

No one need try to read “An Echo in the Bone” as a standalone novel, for the characters have too much history for that and there’s no way to catch up with it short of, say, adding some distracting and/or helpful footnotes. And then there’s the cliffhanger ending, or–more accurately–the multiple cliffhanger endings. Some readers are saying (basically), “Diana, how can you do this to us?”

My last wee world or two is: How can she not, for storytelling doesn’t get better than this.

View all my reviews >>

Copyright (c) 2010 by Malcolm R. Campbell

With each purchase of my novel “The Sun Singer” in any format, Vanilla Heart Publishing makes a donation to Glacier National Park in support of this year’s centennial celebration. It’s only $5.99 on Kindle.

“The Sun Singer,” an adventure novel that also bends time, is set in Glacier National Park’s Swiftcurrent Valley.

Congratulations Diana Gabaldon

EchoCoverUSAWhile I’ve only met author Diana Gabaldon once, I feel like I’ve known her for years. During the past twenty years, I’ve been a member of the CompuServe Books and Writers forum where many people (including myself) have come and gone as newer venues like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook competed for our time. But during this entire time, Diana has not only been a faithful member of the forum, but a mentor to us as well.

She has posted her novels in progress for discussion. She has read our work (including my novel “The Sun Singer”) in progress and offered encouragement and suggestions. She has always been there with gracious and and detailed answers to our questions about writing, publishing, agents, research and anything else remotely related to reading and writing good books.

DianaGabaldonSo, it pleases me no end to see that the latest novel in her Outlander Series is sitting at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. If this weren’t another Dan Brown mega year, “Echo in the Bone” would be sitting at #1.

Beginning with “Outlander” in 1998, six novels in the series lead up to “Echo in the Bone.” And for those of us who have been avid readers, we understand that this novel isn’t the last one about Jamie and Claire and their wonderful saga through time and through history.

Malcolm