Famous Scottish Writers

Typing ‘Scottish writers’ into Google brings up pages and pages of names. As I said in Monday’s post, for such a small country, Scotland has produced a disproportionate amount of talent.

Here are just a few of those names.

Thomas Carlyle – I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read any of his work, but he was one of the most important philosophers of the 19th Century. Click here to read some of his most famous quotes. The one I found most inspiring: ‘He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything’.

Robert Burns – If you’ve ever sung Auld Lang Syne at New Year, you’ve sung this famous poet’s words.

Sir Walter Scott – Ivanhoe, Rob Roy.

J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan.

Robert Louis Stevenson – Treasure Island.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – The creator of Sherlock Holmes

A.J. Cronin – not quite so popular now, but a huge name in the 40s with The Citadel and Dr Finlay’s Casebook.

Alistair MacLean – The Guns of Navarone. Where Eagles Dare.

Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Kenneth Graham – Wind in the Willows. (I have to admit this was a surprise as it has always seemed a very ‘English’ book to me.)

Iain Banks – The Crow Road

Ian Rankin – Rebus Detective Series

Val McDermid – Crime Writer (Tony Hill Series)

For the Scottish Independence Referendum in September this year, the Scottish Government defines a Scot as someone who chooses to make Scotland his or her home. Under those ‘rules’, here are a few other names you might recognise.

Louise Welsh – Crime writer

Julia Donaldson – Children’s writer.  (The Gruffalo)

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter series.

Not bad for a small country. What names would you add to this list?

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Auld Lang Syne

Growing up in Scotland, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) was perhaps the most important night of the year. After the house was cleaned from top to bottom, Dad set up the drinks trolley ready for the first footers. As the last hour of the old year ticked away, we’d have BBC Scotland (Andy Stewart or Kenneth McKellar’s Hogmanay show) playing on TV. Just before the ‘bells’, Dad would charge our glasses as we waited for the countdown.

Even then I found there was something melancholy about the passing of the old year. I greeted – and continue to greet – the New Year with excitement, but there’s still that sense that something magical has passed. But as that happens every Hogmanay, I now understand it means that every year – good or bad – brings its own magic.

Wishing you and your family health, happiness and magic in 2014.

Happy New Year!