Scotland Chooses its 10 Favourite Books

By October 23, 2016November 30th, 2017Culture, Literature, News

A survey conducted by BBC Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust, and The Scottish Library and Information Council asked Scots to name their favourite books. The choices were from a list of thirty novels compiled by the panel of the Scottish Book Trust all set in Scotland or by authors who are Scottish.

The nation has spoken, and from the votes we have a top ten favourite books, as chosen by the Scottish people. There are some fantastic selections in the list, so without further ado, here it is.

Sunset Song – Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Sunset Song is considered to be one of the most important Scottish novels of the 20th century, so we’re not surprised to find it at the top. Written in 1932, it captures the hardships of rural Scotland and deals with many shocking issues.

Sunset Song US
Sunset Song UK

Submit a Review?

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

The Wasp Factory was the first published novel by Scottish author Iain Banks and centres around a psychopathic teenager living on a remote Scottish Island.

The Wasp Factory US
The Wasp Factory UK

Submit a Review?

Lanark – Alasdair Gray

Set in Glasgow, Lanark combines realist and dystopian surrealist depictions of the city. Made up of four books in one it goes from Bildungsroman to bizarre as you move through the story.

Lanark US
Lanark UK

Submit a Review?

The Thirty Nine Steps – John Buchan

The Thirty Nine Steps is one of the most iconic novels ever to come out of Scotland. Set in 1914, it’s a thrilling tale of spies and espionage and is considered an iconic novel.

The Thirty-Nine Steps US
The Thirty-Nine Steps UK

Submit a Review?

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark

Set in 1930s Edinburgh, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is an iconic novel, often included in the ‘greatest of all time’ lists. The story follows a group of girls and their teacher, Miss Jean Brodie.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie US
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie UK

Submit a Review?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K Rowling

While Scotland is never named in Harry Potter, it’s fairly clear to anyone from the UK that Hogwarts is built there, putting the tale of the boy wizard in this top ten.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone US
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone UK


Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh

Welsh’s iconic and hard hitting style isn’t for everyone, but we’re not at all surprised to find the tale of a bunch of Edinburgh heroin addicts in the top ten.

Trainspotting US
Trainspotting UK


Knots & Crosses – Ian Rankin

The first of the Inspector Rebus novels, Knots & Crosses is a gritty detective novel set in Edinburgh, and it spawned an entire series from the author.

Knots & Crosses US
Knots & Crosses UK

Submit a Review?

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes may have dwelled at Baker Street, but Sir Authur Conan Doyle is from Edinburgh in Scotland, and as this survey shows, he’s still as popular today as he ever was.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes US
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes UK

Submit a Review

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner – James Hogg

Scottish author, James Hogg penned this anonymously, and it’s the first on the list that I haven’t heard of. Part gothic, part mystery, part satire and part crime-fiction, it’s set in Scotland and while reviewers of the first edition didn’t think much of it, it’s received much critical interest and attention in more recent years.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner US
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner UK

Submit a Review

So that’s it, Scotland’s top ten books, according to the people of Scotland. Would you agree? Are there any iconic Scottish novels you think are missing from the list?


Leave your vote

Leave a Reply

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.