Classic yarns beat tales of 90s low life

THE SCOTTISH novel about drugs and low life, Trainspotting, which has also become a hit film, remains less popular in its home country than classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

And even those staples of childhood reading rank below the works of the much lesser known Lewis Grassic Gibbon, named yesterday as Scotland's favourite novelist.

A national poll to find what the Scots think is the "Greatest Scottish Novel" found that 10 per cent of those surveyed voted for the trilogy A Scots Quair by Gibbon, making it the winner by a considerable margin.

Votes were cast during the summer at all Scottish branches of Waterstone's bookshop and via postal and telephone voting through a newspaper.

Robert Louis Stevenson had two entries in the top five, Kidnapped at number two and Treasure Island at number five. Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting is at number six, two ahead of Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Jeff Torrington's Swing Hammer Swing, a novel of contemporary Glaswegian life, which won the Whitbread Prize, scrapes into the top 20 at number 18.

Gibbon was born in 1901 and died of a perforated ulcer at the age of 34. His work was praised by H G Wells, but he had little commercial success in his lifetime. His real name was James Leslie Mitchell and he wrote 17 books, always using the Gibbon pseudonym for novels with a Scottish theme.

His childhood home, the Howe of the Mearns, was the setting for A Scots Quair, the story of a girl growing up in the Scottish countryside.

Neil Willett of Waterstone's Guide to Scottish Books said yesterday: "It's surprising that Irvine Welsh does not appear in the top five. Trainspotting is without doubt the widest read Scottish novel, but it's not necessarily much loved.

"Lewis Grassic Gibbon appearing at the top of the poll is a little surprising, but the first book of the trilogy Sunset Song is a prescribed text in Scottish schools and there is great affection for it."

The trilogy features a patriotic lyricism in its language as the following extract on ploughing from the first chapter of Sunset Song shows:

"You saw their faces in firelight ... tired and kind, faces dear and close to you, you wanted the words they'd known and used, forgotten in the far- off youngness of their lives, Scots words to tell your heart, how they wrung it and held it, and the toil of their days and unendingly their fight."

Just over 500 titles were chosen for the survey, demonstrating, say the organisers, the wealth of Scottish fiction.

The Top 20 Scots Novels

Heady

1 A Scots Quair by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

2 Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

3 Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

4 Lanark by Alasdair Gray

5 Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

6 Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

7 The Silver Darlings by Neil Gunn

8 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

9 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

10 The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan

11 The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins

12 Old Mortality by Walter Scott

13 The House With The Green Shutters by George Douglas Brown

14 The Heart of Midlothian by Walter Scott

15 The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

16 The Crow Road by Iain Banks

17 Morven Callar by Alan Warner

18 Swing, Hammer Swing by Jeff Torrington

19 The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway

20 The New Road by Neil Munro

Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voices

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London