George MacDonald collage

Celebrating George MacDonald

Celebrating George MacDonald

Celebrating George MacDonald

Celebrating George MacDonald

Celebrating George MacDonald
Celebrating George MacDonald

The Forgotten Father of Fantasy Fiction



George MacDonald Bicentenary logo

George Macdonald was born in Huntly in December 1824.  Not so well-known himself nowadays, he was an inspirational literary figure for many other writers such as Lewis Carroll and JRR Tolkien. Macdonald wrote dozens of novels and poems is often referred to as the "Forgotten Father of Fantasy Fiction".

2024 is the bicentenary of his birth and we are celebrating with a programme of fantasy-themed events and activities shown below.

We have also relaunched the digital manuscripts. The originals are currently held in the Discovery Centre in Mintlaw.



Listen to readings selected from titles of George MacDonald’s books read by members of the team available on the Live Life Aberdeenshire Conversations podcast channel.

Baby: The poem written from a child’s perspective from the book Gathered Grace. It’s written with simple language to create a sense of innocence and wonder.

Listen to Baby

Sir Gibbie: (with dialogue in the Doric) tells a tale of a young mute boy born in an unnamed city fleeing from there to the countryside.

Listen to Sir Gibbie

The Princess and Curdie: The children's novel is the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, set two years later. Curdie is sent on a mission to save the old king and his daughter  from the corrupt clutches of his government ministers.

   Listen to The Princess and Curdie




Phantastes: this work influenced both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Listen to Phantastes

Lilith: a romance published in 1895. It is thought to be one of the darkest and most profound of MacDonald’s work dealing with life, death, and salvation.

Listen to Lilith

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Creative Writing Workshops

Join fantasy writer, Kate Davidson, at the Brander Library (Huntly) for creative writing workshops on the theme of fantasy.   Kate, a highly successful writer, has written episodes for popular dramas such as Hollyoaks and Doctors as well as for The A-List, Kindle's supernatural teen thriller which was also shown on BBC iplayer. 

There are two workshops delivered over a four week period.  

Workshop 1 is on Saturday 7th September, 1 - 2.30pm. At the first workshop you will receive advice and guidance on how to get started with writing a short fantasy story. 

Book your place

Workshop 2 is on Saturday 5th October, 1 - 2.30pm. The second workshop will support you with developing your story and receive feedback on your writing from Kate and other workshop attendees. 

Book your place

There is a charge of £5 for each session.

To gain the most from the workshops it is recommended you attend both sessions. The workshops will have a welcoming, informal atmosphere to help writers of all levels feel comfortable and inspired.


Family History Session

Join the library team for an introduction to researching your family history and find out about the resources provided by the library service which can help your research.

George MacDonald's family will be used to demonstrate the range of resources you can access to delve deep into your family history.

Book your place


George MacDonald birth record

Treasures from the Collection of Aberdeenshire Museums Service

Aberdeenshire Museums Service holds a wide selection of objects, original manuscripts and photographs relating to the life of George MacDonald and his family. 

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of MacDonald’s birth in Huntly, a special selection of collection highlights will be on display in Huntly Library from Saturday 24 August – Saturday 30 November 2024 during normal opening hours. 

Come explore MacDonald’s creative process through his original handwritten manuscripts, learn more about the wider MacDonald family, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland!

George MacDonald Digital Display

Visit this digital display which provides links to George Macdonald information and suggestions for fantasy reading ideas.

George MacDonald digital display

George MacDonald Digital Display

George MacDonald Books

George MacDonald books

We have a large number of books, both by and about George MacDonald, which can be reserved from our Library Catalogue

Dungeons and Dragons Workshop

Join the wonderfully talented Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast, Amiy Chatley.  Amiy will be exploring making and painting DND models.

Some kit will be provided, but feel free to bring your own models and paints too.

Suitable for adults and 11+.

Book your free place

Dungeon's and Dragon's armed figure

Image provided by Amiy Chatley


Summer Reading

Summer Reading is for all ages with lots of fantastic prizes for taking part by reading, attending an event or activity at your library, or entering the Summer Reading Creative competition which has a fantasy theme.

Summer Reading - book with fantasy characters

Summer of Play

Story and craft sessions and lego building sessions will have a fantasy them. See the Create and Discover activities and book where required


Scottish Illustration Festival

Scottish Illustration Festival 

Taking place at No 30, The Square in Huntly from 28th August to 9th September, the Scottish Illustration Festival will celebrate Scottish children's book illustration and animation, with a fascinating exhibition and a varied programme of animation screenings and illustrator events for all ages.

To celebrate the bicentenary of George MacDonald’s birth, another exhibition will explore the story of George MacDonald, his family and his children’s stories through the work of 48 illustrators who created artwork for his books from the 1860’s to the modern day. 


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