Scottish writing has been at the forefront of world literature, and Scottish literature has also influenced some of the world’s greatest writers. In October 2004, Edinburgh became the very first UNESCO City of Literature. Edinburgh also hosts the world’s largest International Book Festival and offers many literary tours year-round. Scotland even has its national book town – Wigtown. Officially designated in 1998, Wigtown has a high concentration of second-hand bookshops and book-related businesses. So it is no surprise that there are plenty of books set in Scotland worth adding to your list.
Travelers to Scotland are captivated by its rich and stunning landscapes, 1200 medieval castles and historic houses, Gaelic language, Scottish folklore, nearly 300 Scottish clans, tartan, unsurpassed, and world-recognized golf courses, and of course, Scotch Whisky. If you’ve never visited or simply longing to go back, these books set in Scotland will transport you there and inspire a future adventure!
Laidlaw by William McIlvanney (1977)
First in The Laidlaw crime trilogy, readers meet Jack Laidlaw, a hard-drinking philosopher-detective whose tough exterior cloaks a rich humanity and keen intelligence. Laidlaw’s investigation into the murder of a young woman brings him into conflict with Glasgow’s hard men, its gangland villains, and the moneyed thugs who control the city. As the gangsters running Glasgow race Laidlaw for the discovery of the young woman’s killer, a sense of dangerous betrayal infests the city that only Laidlaw can erase.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith (2007)
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1961)
Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie (1947)
Wartime food rationing is bad enough, but when the whisky supplies run out on the Hebridean islands of Great and Little Todday, nothing seems to go right. Then the fifty-thousand-bottle cargo of the shipwrecked S. S. Cabinet Minister brings salvation – in its most giddily intoxicating form.
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (2005)
In this delightful second installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s bestselling detective series, the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie gets caught up in a highly unusual affair of the heart.
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin (1987)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)
Under the Skin by Michel Faber (2000)
Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser (1970)
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson (2006)
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (2011)
Waverly by Sir Walter Scott (1814)
The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (2016)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (2017)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927)
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (2017)
What do you think of these books set in Scotland?
Have you been to Scotland before, or is it on your bucket list? Have you read any of these books set in Scotland? Do you know any books set in Scotland that I may have missed? Let me know your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions about Scotland and books set there in the comments below!