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?


Advice To A Young Author – Arthur Conan Doyle

I visited the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh on my last visit there, a fascinating – but quite gruesome – place. One of the exhibits detailed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s training as a doctor at The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh before he became celebrated as the creator of Sherlock Holmes. It included the following poem, which I found both inspirational and thoughtful.

ADVICE TO A YOUNG AUTHOR by Arthur Conan Doyle

First begin

Taking in.

Cargo stored,

All Aboard.

Think about

Giving out,

Empty ship,

Useless trip!


Never strain

Weary brain.

Hardly fit,

Wait a bit!

After rest

Comes the best.

Sitting still,

Let it fill.

Never press,

Nerve Stress

Always shows

Nature knows.


Critics kind,

Never mind.

Critics flatter,

No matter.

Critics curse,

None the worse!

Critics blame,

All the same.

Do your best,

Hang the rest!