Top Ten Tuesday – Scottish Writers (October 16)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Favorite Authors In X Genre (Ex- Top Ten Favorite Science Fiction Authors, Top Ten Fave Contemporary YA authors)’. I don’t really have a favourite genre as such – I read almost anything and everything. So, I decided to choose my favourite authors from the country of my birth, which is Scotland. Here, in no particular order, are my favourite 10 Scottish writers.

  1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – famous for the Sherlock Holmes stories, but also wrote many other things, including the Professor Challenger stories. He was born in Edinburgh in 1859.
  2. George Mackay Brown (GMB) – I grew up in Orkney, which was the home of GMB, and he was a well-know local reclusive writer. I really enjoy reading his short stories, of which there are quite a few published collections. My favourite novel of his is Greenvoe.
  3. Allan Guthrie – another writer who hails from Orkney, although he is more recent than GMB. He is becoming well-known for his crime fiction. A number of his books, such as Tow-Way Split and Kiss Her Goodbye, have won awards. I knew him many years ago (although he probably doesn’t remember me now), and his late grandfather was one of my music teachers in high school. Although he was born in Orkney, he is now based in Edinburgh.
  4. Robert Burns – no list of Scottish writers would be complete without Rabbie Burns. Often simply know as ‘The Bard’, he is also regarded as the national poet of Scotland. His birth is still celebrated around the world today, with Burns Suppers held in his memory on 25 January, none of which are complete without at least the recitation of The Selkirk Grace and Address to a Haggis.
  5. Ron Ferguson – a writer from Fife who now lives in Orkney. He is a retired Church of Scotland minister, who writes regular columns for The Glasgow Herald and The Press & Journal. He is also the author of at least a dozen books, including the recent biography of George Mackay Brown, The Wound and the Gift. A number of his newpaper columns have been compiled in various of his books and are always worth reading. My favourite book of his is probably Love Your Crooked Neighbour, which is a collection of broadcast meditations, newspaper columns, poetry, sermons and a short story, all based on the theme of brokenness from a variety of angles.
  6. R.T. Johnston – he is famous in Orkney circles for his stories based on the fictional parish of Stenwick. Although originally from Buckie, he ended up in Orkney before World War II, where he was a correspondent for the now defunct Orkney Herald. He married my dad’s aunt, which I guess would make him my great uncle. The Stenwick stories originally appeared in the Orkney Herald, but were eventually compiled in a collection called Stenwick Days, a copy of which I have and like to read from time to time. These stories, written in Orkney dialect, are still worth reading and are very humorous.
  7. Alistair MacLean – writer of many popular thriller and adventure stories, such as The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, and When Eight Bells Toll. I read a lot of his books when I was in my teens, but haven’t read any lately. I should return to some of them again, if I get the time, because I remember really enjoying them.
  8. Robert Louis Stevenson – famous for writing Treasure Island, as well as Kidnapped, The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr Hyde, and many other things. He is among the top 26 most translated authors of all time.
  9. J.M. Barrie – he was a very prolific writer (with over 40 published works), but is most famous for the creation of Peter Pan. I have to confess that Peter Pan is the only book of his I have ever read, but it remains a favourite.
  10. Sir Walter Scott – famous for such classics as Waverley, Ivanhoe, and Rob Roy, but published many more books, including numerous collections of poetry. He is regarded as the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime.

There are probably a number of other writers I could have included, but this list represents my favourite ten.


11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Scottish Writers (October 16)

  1. This is a great list. I recently did a small project on Scottish literature for a Guiding Award and found this post really interesting. I am going to look up some of those that I haven’t heard of before. Thanks.

    • I picked up the first ten books in McCall Smith’s ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ series for next to nothing, but haven’t got around to them yet. He might make the list next time, if I get them read! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. LOVE your choice of list…I’m a sucker for all things Scottish and was supremely lucky to be able to travel there earlier this year. I’ve read plenty of books that take place in Scotland, but not so many by Scottish authors, so thank you very much for this enlightening list!

    • Hope you enjoyed your trip. I haven’t been back for three years, but am hoping to visit again in 2014. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I love how original your list is! Robert Louis Stevenson is a great author. Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde is a fantastic book (I am grateful my 9th grade teacher assigned it, otherwise I wonder if I would have picked it up)!

    • I have a few books like that, where I had to read them at school and only realized many years later how great they really are. Thanks for visiting.

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