Missing Edinburgh? Top books by Scottish authors to keep the post-Fringe woes at bay

Jo Elliott
4 min readSep 2, 2019


August is over and the scores of comedians, actors, artists and other creatives that flocked to entertain and soak up the creative atmosphere of the city have gone home for another year.

But never fear, if you’re missing the creative buzz of Scotland’s capital now that September is here, see below for a list of books by Scottish authors to bring back the memories of this UNESCO City of Literature.

  1. Trainspotting-Irvine Welsh

The book that inspired the famous film, Irvine Welsh’s bestselling novel follows 5 heroin addicts in Scotland as they try to navigate life with their addictions. Whilst personally not my taste, if you want to read a book written in Scots dialect which has become a cult classic film in Scotland, then it’s definitely worth a try.

2. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde-Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson is one of Scotland’s most famous authors, and Jekyll and Hyde is a story that everyone has likely heard of, if not read. It’s a slightly more accessible classic, being relatively short, actually novella length rather than full length novel and if you like gothic fiction, then it’s definitely worth a try.

3. A Study In Scarlet-Arthur Conan Doyle

Naturally, a list of books by Scottish authors would not be complete without at least one Sherlock Holmes story as Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh and studied at the medical school at the University of Edinburgh. A Study In Scarlet is the first of Sherlock Holmes’ many adventures, and follows Sherlock and Watson as they met and work their first case together.

4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine-Gail Honeyman

For a more contemporary Scottish author, give Gail Honeyman’s debut novel a try. Set in Glasgow, the book follows the titular Eleanor Oliphant as she struggles with mental illness and tries to navigate that whilst nursing a crush on the IT guy from her office. Honeyman’s debut won WH Smith’s Book Of The Year in 2017 and the Costa Book Award, plus she was born in Stirling where I go to Uni, so definitely one to try!

5. Waverley-Walter Scott

Another of Scotland’s great writers, Waverley is the Walter Scott novel that gave Edinburgh train station its name. Waverley follows Edward Waverley as he travels to Scotland in 1745 and gets caught up in the Jacobite uprising. It is often considered the first ever historical novel and is the work Scott is best known for.

6. Peter Pan-J.M. Barrie

Everyone knows Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up, and if you are wanting to read a classic by a Scottish author then this is definitely a great one to start with, as many people are already familiar with the story through the many adaptations of it, and J.M. Barrie was born in Angus, Scotland!

7. Not Another Happy Ending-David Solomons

Not Another Happy Ending is set in Solomon’s home city of Glasgow and follows a blocked novelist as she tries to follow on from the success of her debut with another book, only she can’t figure out what to write. Her publisher needs her book to be successful, so tries to help her with her writer’s block, only to find himself falling in love with her. It’s also a pretty cute film starring Karen Gillan.

8. Out of The Blue-Sophie Cameron

Out of The Blue is Sophie Cameron’s debut YA novel, a fantasy about angels which is set against the backdrop of the Edinburgh festival, so perfect to read in the leadup to the Fringe! It also has an f/f relationship in it and was written by an LGBTQIA+ author, which is a rarity in fantasy so definitely worth supporting!

9. The Wind In The Willows-Kenneth Grahame

Another famous children’s novel, The Wind In The Willows follows four anthropomorphized animals, Ratty, Mole, Toad and Badger and their misadventures in a pastoral version of Edwardian England. Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, though he lived much of his life in England. Wind In The Willows was the last book Grahame published before his death.

10. Spy For The Queen of Scots-Theresa Breslin

Theresa Breslin won the Carnegie Medal in 1994 and her latest book, Spy For The Queen of Scots, a YA historical fiction novel, follows lady in waiting to the doomed queen, Mary, as she aims in vain to protect her mistress from her inevitable fate.

Originally published at https://www.thenationalstudent.com.