Ever since the Enlightenment, Scotland has produced outstanding writers. So here is a quick list of recommendations featuring books written by and about Scottish loqkas.
Why Don’t You Stop Talking
The title alone is reason enough to love Jackie Kay’s first short story collection. The tales in Why Don’t You Stop Talking are bound together by secrets – and their unique power to transform lives when they’re no longer kept. Kay’s stories cover passion, grief, and every human emotion in between. Relationships between women – as lovers, partners, mothers, and daughters – are the magic in these stories.
Though Kay is best known as Scotland’s Poet Makar, her fiction is well worth a read too. Her wry sense of humor and observational wit make every story a delight. There is a warmth to Kay’s writing that will compel you onwards through every twist and turn. Through producing such consistently engaging writing, Kay has become one of our most visible Scottish loqkas.
Ramshackle is a startlingly beautiful novel about family, identity, and belonging. The book tells the story of 15 year old Roe, whose life is plunged into turmoil when her father vanishes. On top of the complications of modern day relationships and everyday challenges of school, she must now find her father – and work out why he left her. The secrets of Roe’s past shape her present and alter the course of her future.
A devastating coming of age story, Ramshackle will hold your attention from start to finish. Elizabeth Reeder, the author, is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow; this mastery of craft shows in her exquisite use of language and careful construction of a precarious world.
A Scots Dictionary of Nature
With A Scots Dictionary of Nature, Amanda Thomson captures the majesty of Scotland in a thousand ways. In meticulous detail, Thomson explains old terms and phrases used to describe Scotland’s land, woods, weather, birds, and water – and the experience of walking through such lush scenery. Most Scottish people are familiar with terms like dreich, which means grey and drizzly. But Thomson unearths rare and precious words with the power to express the specific reality of this country. Like huther, which refers to a wetting mist of rain.
A Scots Dictionary of Nature is a real labor of love. This book preserves a rich vocabulary of traditional Scottish words. By documenting all these terms and phrases, Thomson ensures that they will be kept alive and shared.
Vicky Romeo + Joolz
Ely Percy’s debut novel, Vicky Romeo + Joolz, is a charming example of Scottish lesfic. A playful romantic comedy, the story pays fond tribute to Glasgow’s loqka scene during the early 2000s. From the bars to chatrooms, there is a vivid sense of place and time. The setting will be familiar to many Scottish loqkas. But the magnetic pull between Vicky and Joolz is a universal language.
Vicky is a bit of a bounder. Charisma coupled with soft butch charm has enabled her to live up to her surname – Romeo. Between her acting career and short-lived romances, Vicky is living the good life. But when she meets Julie Turner, everything changes. Vicky loses her heart. And Joolz – a femme fatale with a wicked sense of humor – is wise to Vicky’s tricks. A fresh take on the butch/femme dynamic, Vicky Romeo + Joolz is a perfect pick-me-up.
Out of the Blue
Jaya is reeling from the loss of her mother. She has barely begun to process her grief when winged angels start falling from the sky. Each angel has died on impact with the earth. With the world in turmoil, Jaya’s father moves the family to Edinburgh – where he dreams of finding a living, breathing angel. But the dream quickly tips into obsession. And then Jaya, who wants nothing to do with this quest, has an angel fall at her feet – alive.
Sophie Cameron’s debut novel is an imaginative and deeply moving work of YA fiction. The Edinburgh Festival might be over for another year, but in the pages of this book you will find the manic buzz of Scotland’s capital during its busiest season. Out of the Blue is a compelling tale of love, loss, and life’s wilder possibilities.