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About Us

Birlinn Ltd - Passionately independent
Shortlisted for the Saltire Society Publisher of the Year Award in 2018/19
Winner in 2017/18 and Commendation award in 2016 /17
'Birlinn have had an excellent year. They have continued to produce high-quality publishing while pushing the boundaries. Taking on the task of publishing the complete works of Muriel Spark as part of the international celebrations of her centenary, Birlinn have created a beautiful collection that will stand the test of time’ – Saltire Society Publisher of the Year – Shortlisted 2018/19
We are proud of our reputation and prominence in Scottish publishing. We constantly challenge and nurture the talent of our authors and of our innovative team. We push the boundaries of the imagination.  
Take a look around the site: look, listen, read.
The company, Birlinn Limited, is made up of a number of imprints:
Birlinn publishes Scottish and general UK interest books, from biography to history, military history, and Scottish Gaelic. The name comes from the old Norse word ‘birlinn’, meaning a long boat or small galley used especially in the Hebrides and West Highlands of Scotland in the Middle Ages.
Origin is a new imprint for the more specialist end of our trade list. The imprint is a way by which we can keep books in print which deserve to be so either for their importance in local history or their classic nature while still keeping the full production values of our main trade list. It will enable new titles to be introduced to the list and open up new publishing opportunities.
Polygon publishes literary fiction and poetry, both classic and modern, by writers as highly acclaimed as James Kelman, Liz Lochhead, Agnes Owens, Norman MacCaig, Robin Jenkins, George Mackay Brown and the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, and counts among its authors some of the best in contemporary Scottish writing – Kevin MacNeil, Denzil Meyrick, Michael Pedersen, Shirley McKay and Rosemary Goring – as well as international writers such as Leila Aboulela and Jan-Philipp Sendker. Music journalists Stuart Cosgrove, Tom Doyle, Vic Galloway and Zoë Howe also publish non-fiction with Polygon.
BC Books is designed to provide writing and illustration of the highest quality for young readers throughout the UK and beyond. BC Books is dedicated to nurturing young readers and helping them discover a passion for reading that will last a lifetime. 
Arena Sport is a sport imprint and is designed for the general trade. The sport books range from football and rugby, to golf and cycling. These books have an international as well as national appeal. 
Birlinn eBook publishes Birlinn Limited's eBooks across all imprints.
John Donald publishes academic books.
Open and honest, welcoming and inclusive
What we stand for . . . 
The long-standing aim of Birlinn Ltd is to build an inclusive team and to nurture writers and illustrators who, together, reflect the diversity and stories of our nation and the audience who will read them. Whilst we sit at the heart of cultural life in Scotland, our authors are known far beyond, and we are proud of what we have achieved together since we started out in 1992.
In order to deliver on our aim, and as we move forward, we are working to remove barriers. We seek out new talent and new collaborations and welcome the opportunities they bring.
Who takes us forward . . .
Our leadership team is made up of a working Board - three women and four men - from a variety of educational and social backgrounds. We are not shy of embracing a wide range of influences.
None of our books would be published without the dedication of our small and highly skilled team. We are committed to providing an inclusive, supportive and flexible working environment, which acknowledges that work is only one aspect of life, promotes equality and diversity, values the contribution of all staff members and encourages everyone, regardless of gender, age, religion, identity or experience, to grow and realise their potential.