Proposals are invited for a conference in Edinburgh about Arthur Conan Doyle. At the centre of the conference will be the relation between the writer and his native city, but papers about all aspects of his work and life will be welcome.

“I do not come before you as a stranger. I was born in Edinburgh. I spent my boyhood there. I was educated at the University, and I graduated there. I owe much to the old City” (Arthur Conan Doyle, The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch 25th Sept 1900).

Doyle was born in Edinburgh on the 22nd of May 1859 and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1876 to 1881. Famously, Dr Joseph Bell, one of his professors, was said to be the inspiration for the character Sherlock Holmes.  Although Conan Doyle only spent 12 years of his life in Edinburgh, it was the city which shaped him and out of which his stories grew. As Val McDermid notes: “those early years in Edinburgh played a crucial role in his development as a writer” (2009). This conference will explore the interplay between city and writer, and we invite broad, imaginative and interdisciplinary interpretations on the topic of ‘Conan Doyle in Edinburgh’. We also welcome proposals for papers on other topics concerning the writings and life of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Key note speakers: Owen Dudley Edwards and Nicholas Daly. We will also be running a virtual conference alongside the physical conference which we hope will encourage greater participation for those unable to attend for financial, environmental or other reasons. If selected, the online participants will be asked to record their presentation which will be hosted on our website before, during and after the conference. Viewers and attendees of the conference will have the opportunity to ask questions of the online participants. The online participants will be included in the conference programme.

‘Conan Doyle in Edinburgh’ is the second event associated with a new scholarly enterprise, The Edinburgh Edition of the Works of Arthur Conan Doyle, sponsored by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Selected papers from across the conference will be considered for book publication. Please send proposals for 20-minute papers, panels of three papers, posters, or virtual attendance, on topics which can include, but are not limited to:


Proposals should be no more than 300 words, and submissions should include a 50 word biography. Online participants should note on their proposal their wish to be considered for the virtual conference. If you are only able to attend for one day please state which day in your proposal. Proposals should be sent in Word or .odt format to Linda Dryden, Douglas Kerr and Jonathan Wild at: Deadline for proposals: Friday 31st January 2020.

Attending the Conference

Full conference £200, single day £75, virtual conference £45. A social events calendar, including opportunities for visits, walks and planned meals, will be sent to participants before the conference. Conference attendees will have Saturday afternoon free to explore Edinburgh.

Last modified 17 December 2019