The Edinburgh-based project was awarded a grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund


The Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive, based in Edinburgh, was awarded a three-year grant of £148,250.00 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This grant will allow the Archive to finally materialise their dream: The Community Programme: Space for Our Stories. 

With this new programme, the Archive will be able to organise author talks, book discussion groups, and living memory projects to keep queer history in Scotland alive. 

Co-founder Sigrid Nielsen said: “40 years after Bob Orr and I opened Lavender Menace Bookshop, Scotland’s first lesbian and gay bookshop, we will have the resources to reach out to LGBTQ+ readers all over the UK, record their stories, and pass our written heritage on. We’d like to thank all Lottery players everywhere – you made this happen.” 

Opening in 1982, the Lavender Menace Archive aimed to remember older lesbian and gay works and also amplify the voices of new writers. The bookshop itself became a muse for James Ley who wrote the play Love Song To Lavender Menace in 2017. 

As part of this new project, Keava McMillan, a former fellow of Edinburgh College of Art and Research Manager for the Scottish Book Trust, has been appointed to help deliver the archive’s programme. The main aim is to preserve the stories of LGBTQIA people from previous generations that may not have been heard. 

The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said: “National Lottery funding can make amazing things happen in local communities across the country. This project delivered by Lavender Menace is a great example of community activity in action, showing just what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause or to help others.” 

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