The archives of the author who ignited the interest of a generation of readers with his books of Scottish history are to be purchased by the National Library of Scotland.

The papers of John Prebble, the journalist and author of popular and controversial studies of Culloden, the Highland Clearances and the massacre at Glencoe, are to be bought by the library in the year of the centenary of his birth.

Today his family will mark the 100th birthday of the late writer and also celebrate the archives journey to Edinburgh.

His widow, Jan, said she had received an offer from the National Library and hopes for the papers to be sent to Scotland, from her home in Pimlico, London, by the end of July.

Prebble's papers, which she said cover a wide range of topics aside from Culloden, the Glencoe Massacre and the history of the Highlands, fill three filing cabinets and two large tea chests.

Mrs Prebble said: "We have something to celebrate.

"The good news is that we have agreed to sell his archives to the National Library of Scotland.

"Final details have still to be worked out but the Library wants them and we want them to go to a good home so the deal with certainly go through."

Mr Prebble died in 2001 aged 85, was born in Middlesex but spent much of his early life in Canada, and fought in the British Army in the Second World War.

His Fire and Sword Trilogy concerned the fall of the Scottish clan system.

Culloden was the first book in 1962, followed by The Highland Clearances (1963) and Glencoe (1966).

His nearly 20 published books sold millions of copies, and he also wrote for television.

His widow said that the papers will be of interest to academics and students as well as fans of his writing.

Mrs Prebble said: "All the papers are in my basement and I will be very glad to get them out of there.

"I think John would have been very happy that they are going to Scotland - he always said that his papers should go somewhere sensible.

"I think he would have been pleased and if asked I suspect the National Library of Scotland would have been his first choice."

After Mr Prebble died, he asked for his ashes to be scattered at Glencoe.

Mrs Prebble said at the time: "We came up to Scotland twice a year and no matter where else we went, we had to come to Glencoe.

''So when he was given a few months to live I said 'Come on, what about the funeral arrangements?' He said very definitely it was to be Glencoe and at the Meeting of the Waters."

Prebble also wrote the script for the 1964 film Zulu, about the defence of the Rorke's Drift mission, in Natal, in 1879, by a small group of British soldiers facing 4,000 Zulus.

In newspapers in London, he worked as a columnist, feature writer and reporter until 1960, after which he concentrated on his books and his work for radio and TV.