Sunset Song named Scotland's favourite book in new poll

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon has been named Scotland's favourite book in a new poll.

Sunset Song has been named Scotland's favourite book. Picture: Contributed
Sunset Song has been named Scotland's favourite book. Picture: Contributed

The top ten novels in the BBC Scotland survey included contemporary and classic works by authors born or based in Scotland.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks was in second place followed by Lanark by Alasdair Gray and The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh were also in the top ten.

The results of the public vote, conducted by BBC Scotland in partnership with The Scottish Book Trust and The Scottish Library and Information Council, were announced last night in a programme presented by Kirsty Wark as part of the BBC’s #LovetoRead season.

Over the summer, online voters chose from a list of 30 novels which were selected by a literary panel curated by the Scottish Book Trust.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon championed Sunset Song as her favourite novel in this evening’s programme.

She said: “I first read Sunset Song when I was in my early teens, so maybe 13 or 14.

“It resonated with me firstly because it is a wonderful story, beautifully written, but it also said something about the history of the country I grew up in and it resonated with me very strongly as a young Scottish woman, and I think its themes are timeless to this day.”

Published in 1932, Sunset Song is the first part of Grassic Gibbon’s trilogy A Scots Quair.

It tells the story of a young woman growing up on a farm in the north-east of Scotland at a time of major change for rural life in the early part of the 20th century and reflects local communities dealing with the impact of the First World War.

Other advocates in the programme included Tam Dean Burn for Lanark, Evelyn Glennie for The Thirty-Nine Steps, Susan Calman for Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, Sanjeev Kohli for Trainspotting and Gary Lewis for The Private Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Pauline Law, executive producer, arts, at the BBC, said: “From the feedback we’ve had, the poll certainly seems to have provoked discussion about Scottish literature.”