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Here at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum we believe in life-long learning that is engaging and thought provoking.  We offer specialist insights into Robert Burns life story and works and the RBBM Collection.  Talks, evening dinners, specialist tours, story-telling days and a variety of classes and learning resources are organised specifically for adult learners.

  • Are you aged between 18 - 30 and interested in volunteering at RBBM?

Then apply to become one of our Project Scotland Heritage Property Assistants! Follow this link to apply or call 01292 430 315 for more information.


  • Calling all budding writers over the age of 16!

The Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) is running a writing competition to 'reboot' Tam o' Shanter for the 21st century. The poem ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ was written by Robert Burns in 1790 and its 224 lines, tradition has it, were composed in a single afternoon. It is often recited and performed at Burns Nights.

The Challenge

The challenge is to reboot ‘Tam o’ Shanter’, bringing it up to date in a new and original version that follows the structure of Burns’s poem but would be relevant in the twenty-first century. What would Burns have written about had he been alive today? An outing to a football match in Barcelona, a blind date to Benidorm, a premarital hen party, a rave at a zombie night-club, a critical encounter with some representative characters of the psyche of contemporary Scotland, a visit to the Scottish Parliament at Question Time? And what forms of intoxication might deliver real insight? What might spur flight from imminent destruction? And what form of speeding transport would help Tam – or Tamsin for that matter- escape the grasp of hostile forces?

The Invitation

You are invited to write and send us a poem, ‘Tam o’ Shanter Reboot’. The poem should be about a night out and the return home after a wild and unpredicted experience – of whatever kind! It should be written in Scots or English and be the original work of the author, unpublished and not accepted for publication elsewhere. It should not be under consideration in other writing competitions and should not be a translation of another author’s work. The original ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ runs to 224 lines. Entries should be no longer than that, and particularly short poems are not appropriate: so, no limericks, sonnets or villanelles, please. Any metrical form would be welcome – the ballad stanza, rhyming couplets, iambic pentameters, free verse are all welcome options. We are looking for a narrative poem of substance, insight and wit.

Eligibility The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16.

The Judges Lesley Duncan, Poetry Editor of The Herald; Charles MacLean, Whisky Evangelist; Hugh Lockhart, Trustee of FSFF, David Purdie, editor of The Burns Encyclopaedia; Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University; Alexander McCall Smith, novelist.

How to enter All entries are to be made online to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You can make as many entries as you like. Entries will be acknowledged by email. There is no fee for entry.

Closing date for entries is: 1st October 2012

Entry implies acceptance of all the rules. Copyright remains with its author, but the sponsor or its nominee will have the unrestricted right to publish any one or more of the entries for the purpose of promotion. The author’s name will always be acknowledged. Judging The decision of the judges is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. Entrants will be notified of the results by email. The Sponsor First Scottish Film Features (FSFF) was established in 1995 with the main aim of supporting artistic creation. Among other projects, the charity has backed two feature films and has funded the script and musical arrangements for a musical about Robert Burns, which has been made available free to all schools in Scotland. The Prizes The three best entries will submit to final judgement at an event in the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum beside the Auld Haunted Kirk of Alloway, in Ayrshire, Scotland and prizes will be awarded as below: 1st prize £500 2nd prize £200 3rd prize £100 And a further four prizes of £25 each.

To find out what is on at RBBM visit our events listing page