Outlander quote tops Scotland’s 10 most popular literary lines

LEWIS Grassic Gibbon, JK Rowling, JM Barrie, Iain Banks, Alasdair Gray and Roald Dahl are among the writers honoured in a poll to find Scotland’s ten favourite literary quotes.

A scene from the Outlander TV series

However, the huge fanbase of historical fantasy novel Outlander has ensured American author Diana Gabaldon came out on top in the online survey.

Almost a third of the votes cast in the Scottish Book Trust survey were for a quote from the first instalment of the time-travel stories, largely set around the time of the Jacobite Rebellion, which have recently been turned into a hit TV series.

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Outlander fans voted in their droves for a line said by Jamie Fraser, the Jacobite warrior at the centre of Gabaldon’s stories, to Claire Randall, the Second World War nurse propelled back in time in the first book, which read: “I am your master…and you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”

Iain Banks. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Memorable lines from Gibbon’s classic 1932 novel Sunset Song, a new big-screen version of which is about to hit the nation’s cinemas, were edged into second place by Outlander.

Another American author, Maya Angelou, and the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry were among those to feature in the top ten, which was revealed today as part of the Book Week Scotland, the nation’s annual celebration of reading and literature.

It features the famous opening lines of the classic Iain Banks novel The Crow Road, an excerpt from The Twits by Roald Dahl and lines drawn from a poetry collection by Scottish writer Jackie Kay.

However, Dame Muriel Spark, William McIlvanney, Robert Burns, Liz Lochhead and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were among those to miss out on a top ten placing.

JK Rowling. Picture: PA

Another Iain Banks book, The Bridge, won a previous Scottish Book Trust poll in 2013 to find the best Scottish novel of the last 50 years, which attracted more than 8,000 votes.

A surprise emerged last year when devotees of historical novelist Dorothy Dunnett voted Francis Crawford, the star of her Lymond Chronicles series, Scotland’s favourite literary character.

Marc Lambert, director of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “It is no surprise to see Diana Gabaldon at the top of this list – her fanbase is huge, loyal and fantastically supportive of the Outlander series of books, which are meticulously researched and have done wonders for Scottish tourism over the past few years.”

He added: “I’m also delighted to see a Scottish author sitting at No2.”


1. “I am your master … and you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.” Outlander Vol 1, by Diana Gabaldon

2. “You hated the land and the coarse speak of the folk and learning was brave and fine one day and the next you’d waken with the peewits crying across the hills, deep and deep, crying in the heart of you and the smell of the earth in your face, almost you’d cry for that, the beauty of it and the sweetness of the Scottish land and skies.” Sunset Song By Lewis Grassic Gibbon

3. “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” The Twits BY Roald Dahl

4. “You may shoot me with your words / You may cut me with your eyes / You may kill me with your hatefulness/ But still, like air, I’ll rise.” And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

5. “It was the day my grandmother exploded.” The Crow Road by Iain Banks

6. “The dead don’t go till you do, loved ones. /The dead are still here holding our hands.” Darling by Jackie Kay

7. “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” The Little White Bird by J M Barrie

8. “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

9. “It is only with the heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” The Little Prince by Antoine de St Exupéry

10. “You suffer from the oldest delusion in politics. You think you can change the world by talking to a leader. Leaders are the effects, not the causes of changes.” Lanark by Alasdair Gray