Looking for some top summer reads? This list of Scottish authors is the perfect place to start. Discover a new voice during Scotland’s Year of Stories and maybe you’ll become a lifelong fan. You can even see these brilliant writers and performers at a host of book festivals and literary events listed below.
Can’t see your favourite new writer on the list? Comment below if you think there’s a writer, poet or performer who deserves a mention.
Books: Shuggie Bain, Young Mungo
Winner of the Booker Prize in 2020 for his debut novel Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart is back in 2022 with his second novel Young Mungo. A vivid portrayal of working-class life and a moving story of first love between two young men, Young Mungo is set to inspire audiences in Scotland and beyond. You can see this author on his Scottish book tour this year at various locations including Edinburgh.
Books: Luckenbooth, Hex
Jenni Fagan is the exciting writer behind Luckenbooth, one of the best Scottish novels of 2021. Spanning the 20th century, we discover the strange secrets of a tenement building in Edinburgh in this haunting and atmospheric story. In 2022, the author has also released Hex – a chilling look at Scotland’s witch trials in the 16th century. You can see Jenni Fagan at The Borders Book Festival in 2022, and at various bookshop events.
Books: Nina X, How to Survive Everything
This award-winning author was once described as the ‘most fluent and intelligent Scottish writer of his generation’ by a Booker prize judge. Winner of The Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year for his 2019 novel Nina X, Ewan Morrison released How to Survive Everything in 2021. This darkly comic pandemic thriller has been widely praised by critics and readers. You can catch Ewan Morrison in person this year at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre – or visit his website.
Books: Blood Salt Spring
Starting out on her three-year tenure as Edinburgh’s Makar, this playwright, poet and performer has recently released her debut poetry collection Blood Salt Spring. Exploring ideas of nation, race and belonging, this collection crystallises the poet’s live performance work at spoken word nights such as Neu! Reekie! and Sonnet Youth. You can see Hannah Lavery at Ullapool Village Hall in 2022 and elsewhere in Scotland.
Books: Hings, HWFG
Known for dark comedy and surreal humour, Chris McQueer is the Glaswegian writer behind the short story collections Hings and HWFG. Winner of the Outstanding Literature award at The Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2019, some of the author’s work has now been adapted for television which you can see in 2022.
Courtney Stoddart’s work focuses on womanhood, race and growing up in Scotland. A relatively new talent (having only started performing in 2019) she has performed at various venues in Scotland including the Traverse Theatre and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Look out for her performances at book festivals and theatre events in Scotland.
Books: slug…and other things i’ve been told to hate
Hollie McNish (also known as Hollie Poetry) is a popular poet and live performer with a dizzying schedule of live events around the UK. Her latest publication slug is a mixture of poetry, memoir and short stories. As well as open mic nights where you can expect the unexpected, you can also catch Hollie Poetry on her YouTube channel and at the Isle of Arran Poetry Festival in August 2022.
Harry Josephine Giles
Books: Deep Wheel Orcadia
Harry Josephine Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney – her latest book Deep Wheel Orcadia is written in the Orkney language (with parallel English translations). In her own words this is both a ‘queer love story about looking for home’ and a ‘science fiction verse novel about how the future shapes the past’. Find out more about Harry Josephine Giles at the Scottish Book Trust.
Books: Mayhem & Death, Bitterhall
Short story writer and novelist Helen McClory’s latest book Bitterhall is the story of a shared flat and the intersections between different lives of three city-dwellers. Told in short, sharp bursts, this innovative novel is the latest from an Edinburgh-based writer with a strange and fascinating style. For more info, check out this author’s Scottish Book Trust profile.
Books: Fishnet, Scabby Queen
Kirstin Innes’ latest novel Scabby Queen was published in 2020 to critical acclaim. The novel’s protagonist Clio Campbell is a complex character who is revealed by the accounts of friends and lovers. Taking place over five decades, this is fiction with real slices of history interspersed throughout. You can see Kirstin Innes’ recent appearance at the Paisley Book Festival or find out more on her website.
Books: Oyster, Boy Friends
This prize-winning poet has published two collections of poems – his most recent work is the non-fiction memoir Boy Friends which Stephen Fry called ‘astonishingly compelling.’ Co-founder of the arts collective Neu! Reekie! (which hosts performances around the world) you can see Michael Pederson take to the stage in Edinburgh this year at one of their events. You can also read one of his pieces for the recent SPECTRA festival: Squatting in Rubislaw Den.
Books: The Young Team
Award-winning author Graeme Armstrong’s debut novel The Young Team is inspired by his experiences growing up in North Lanarkshire. After struggling with addiction and other problems as a teenager, he defied expectations to read English at university, before going on to study a Masters in Creative Writing. You can see his appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2021 here – Take Your Place.
Books: Poverty Safari, The Social Distance Between Us
Darren McGarvey is an author, musician and activist, as well as a winner of the Orwell Prize in 2018. His work deals with the difficult issues of class, inequality and poverty and he has reached a wide audience with his books and TV shows. You can see this dynamic and straight-talking writer this year at Aye Write festival in Glasgow and the Borders Book Festival.
Other Things You Might Like:
- Scotland’s Year of Stories
- Scottish Writers & Literature
- Cafés in Scotland to Write Your Next Novel In
- Scotland’s Storybook Trail
Join in the conversation on social media with #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland.