……………As a nation we Scots don’t just think we are great – we KNOW we’re great! Even when all the evidence says we’re not, like with our football, deep down we tell ourselves we are but somehow the fates have conspired to thwart our greatness coming to the fore!!! And if you’re going to think like that you need someone to blame and take it out on – which is pretty much where the English come in! ( But keep that to yourself as I don’t want my English born family to know that’s their role in life!)
But occasionally we can justifiably blow our own trumpet a bit. Occasionally there’s a ring of truth to ‘Wha’s like us? Gie few….and they’re a’ deid!’ ( It roughly translates as Who’s as good as us? Very few – and those that are as good as us are dead anyway!’ – Moral – We’re the best living thing we Scots)
As part of the Book Week Scotland celebrations, the Scottish Book Trust is inviting readers to vote for their favourite Scottish book of the last 50 years. The short list they’ve complied reads as a veritable great and the good of modern Scottish literature – Iain Banks (with and without an M!!!!), Ian Rankin, Bernard MacLaverty, Kate Atkinson, William Boyd, Alasdair Gray, Robin Jenkins, AL Kennedy, Muriel Spark, Alexander McCall Smith……and the list goes on and on. I could list them all but you might think I’m boasting about just how bloody fantastic Scottish writing is -and you’d be right because I am blowing our trumpet and it is fantastic!
Now those of you who are on the geeky side might have spotted one or two of those names and are thinking ‘ Hang on! William Boyd’s not Scottish and Kate Atkinson’s not Scottish!’ Well if you were thinking that, you completely underestimate us and you are unable to appreciate the power of Scotland and all things Scottish! You see there are three ways that genius is inspired by Scotland. The first and best is of course to have been born one of us. But if you’re not lucky enough to have been blessed by the stars fear not – for you can be inspired just by being near us Scots!!! So the criteria they used for the short list was that if you weren’t fortunate enough to be born one of us, as long as you had either written the novel in Scotland or currently live in Scotland then Scotland would welcome you as a writer of our own!
The short listed books are all available at the Scottish Book Trust site. If you have 2 minutes, follow the link and simply tick the checkbox beside your favourite title or titles (and you can vote for more than one). I hope you will – but be quick as voting ends on 22 November! The short list will get whittled down from there to a top ten and then a winner to be announced during Book Week Scotland, between 25th November and 1st December
Now I’m a believer in freedom of choice, democracy, the sanctity of the ballet box. So if you go to the site and have a favourite, go ahead and choose it. That’s fine by me. BUT, just in case you’ve no idea I’ll give you a wee clue!!! Among the nominees are two I’d most like to see win – the genius that is Ian Rankin and the much-missed, magnificent Iain Banks. Equally there’s one I wouldn’t like to see win – Irvine Welsh – just a bit too much of a professional Scotsman for me!!!!
So – if possible, my request is – DON’T Choose Irvine’s ‘Life, Job, Career or His Big Fucking Television!’
Choose Banks or Choose Rankin instead!