Galt Society Events & News

On this page you can find details of the inaugural meeting of the John Galt Society, as well as plans for further meetings and related news.


Next Galt Memorial Lecture

Acclaimed novelist James Robertson will be delivering the second in the relaunched Galt Memorial Lecture series. Thanks to generous support from Inverclyde Council it will take place at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock at 7:00 pm on Friday 4th May and will be followed by a buffet supper with wine. Tickets can be reserved by contacting the Society's secretary at The venue is appropriate because the Beacon is on the Greenock waterfront almost on the spot where Galt began his working life.


Upcoming Edinburgh Edition of Selected Works of John Galt

Preparations are underway to publish a scholarly edition of Galt's works with Edinburgh University Press. Beginning in 2020, the following volumes will be the first to appear:

  • Annals of the Parish (ed. Robert Irvine)
  • Sir Andrew Wylie, of that Ilk (ed. Sharon Alker)
  • The Entail (ed. Mark Schoenfield & Clare Simmons)
  • The Provost (ed. Caroline McCracken-Flesher)
  • Three Short Novels: Glenfell, Andrew of Padua, The Omen (ed. Angela Esterhammer)
  • Bogle Corbet (ed. Katie Trumpener)

In addition, the research team of Prof. Angela Esterhammer, General Editor of the series, has set up a website profiling the John Galt Project at the University of Toronto.

Among other things, the site features transcriptions of unpublished manuscript material held at the Archives of Ontario.


John Galt Memorial Lecture

The John Galt Memorial Lecture, hosted by North Ayrshire Council, will be delivered by Professor Sir Tom Devine at 19:00 in Irvine Townhouse and followed by a buffet supper with wine.  A few tickets, priced £20, are still available and can be obtained from or Lesley Forsyth at the Council. The new International Companion to John Galt will be launched. 


Annual General Meeting 2017

The Society's AGM will be held on Saturday 1st April in 7 University Gardens, Glasgow at 10:30.  Professor Ian Campbell (who incidentally published an excellent omnibus edition of 4 Galt novels last year) has agreed to speak on Galt and Change.  We also intend to show an episode from the 1970s BBC Scotland production of The Annals of the Parish.  The tape was thought to be lost but thanks to Professor Douglas Gifford a video has been unearthed and has been digitised by the University.  We are grateful to Glasgow University for their continuing assistance to the Society.


Galt Lecture

We are reviving the tradition started by the Greenock Philosophical Society of having an annual Galt lecture but on this occasion we are going to the birthplace and to the newly refurbished Irvine Townhouse.  The day is Saturday 6th May and we are delighted that Professor Sir Tom Devine will be the speaker.  It will be an evening event with a light supper.  Details of the title, precise time and cost will be sent to you nearer the time.

New papers

Professor Angela Esterhammer has just published a paper entitled "John Galt's The Omen: Interpretation and its Discontents". It appears in European Romantic Review and you can find the link in the 'Papers' section of this site.

Dr Gerard Lee McKeever of Glasgow University has published a new paper dealing with aspects of Galt's work. It is entitled '"With wealth come wants": Scottish Romanticism as Improvement in the Fiction of John Galt', and can be found in Studies in Romanticism, 55.1 (Spring, 2016): 69-93.

The text of Honor Rieley's interesting talk at the AGM on Galt, Canada and the Periodical Press, including the slides she used, has also now been posted on Papers section the website.

Both of these papers are well worth a read.

Annual General Meeting 2016

The AGM was held on Saturday 30th April 2016. Please visit the 'Papers' page on our website, where you can download the minutes and the paper on 'John Galt and North America' by Ian McGhee.

Inaugural meeting

The inaugural meeting of the John Galt Society took place at the University of Glasgow on Saturday 6th December 2014.

Papers were delivered by Professors Christopher A. Whatley and Colin Kidd. Please visit the 'Papers' page to download their papers.

Events & News


Annual General Meeting

To be held on

Saturday 30th April 

In Room 107, 7 University Gardens, Glasgow at 10:30 am


1. Welcome and Introduction, Prof. Gerry Carruthers

2. Secretary’s Report

3. Treasurer’s Report

4. Election of Committee and Office Bearers

5. Possible Future Activities

6. Emigrant Literature, Honor Riely

7. Galt as Predictor, Prof. Ian Campbell

8. Conclusion

Coffee will be served from 10:00 and lunch will be available at the close of the meeting.



Please click here for more information on the publication of Four Galt Novels: Annals of the Parish; The Ayrshire Legatees; The Provost; and The Entail. They will be published together by Kennedy & Boyd on 17 September


On 8 May the Society held its own commemoration Galt's grave in Greenock.  About 25 members gathered to see a wreath being laid by the award-winning author Andrew O'Hagan who spoke of how Galt had inspired him.  A lament was played by fiddler Alison McNeill (click here for video) and members then enjoyed a lunch, hosted by Andrew, where they heard a talk on Galt's later novels by emeritus Professor of Scottish Literature, Douglas Gifford.  We hope to put the text of that talk on the website in due course.  The pictures show Andrew laying the wreath and Chair Gerry Carruthers welcoming the members.


On 2 May, Galt's birthday, Irvine Burns Club held a commemoration ceremony at his birthplace in Irvine.  A wreath was laid by North Ayrshire Provost Joan Sturgeon (the modern successor to James Pawkie) and Society Chair Gerry Carruthers talked about the current resurgence of interest in the author.  The wreath-laying was followed by a reception in the Club premises where guests could see Galt's letter, sent from Guelph in 1828,  accepting the offer to become Irvine Burns Club's first honorary member.  The Club also has a fine and extensive collection of Galt first editions.


On 23 April, the anniversary of the founding of Guelph by Galt in 1827, Vocamus Press published a new edition of Galt's play "The Star of Destiny" together with the short story "The German's Tale". The pictures show (l to r) John B McMillan, Director of the Scottish Studies Foundation in Toronto, David Knight, Editor of the book, and Gil Stelter, emeritus Professor of History) at the launch and an enthusiastic cast doing a reading of the play's second Act. The publishers can be contacted at


See below for the pictures of the unveiling of the replacement bust of Galt on Greenock Esplanade on 24 March.  The unveiling was carried out by Inverclyde Provost Robert Moran and the bust was sculpted by Wayne Darnell.  Among a crowd of about 50 people there were representatives of Irvine Burns Club, Irvine Lasses Burns Club and our Chair, Gerry Carruthers.


Top‌: New Galt Bust; Right: Bust and refurbished fountain; Bottom: Wayne Darnell (sculptor), Inverclyde Provost Robert Moran & John Galt Society Chair, Professor Gerry Carruthers


A new edition of Galt's play, "The Star of Destiny", together with the short story, "The German's Tale", is due to be published by Vocamus Editions in Guelph on 23 April, the anniversary of the founding of that city by Galt in 1827.  The editor is David J Knight who can be contacted at