Famous Scottish Novelists

Scotland has been the home of several renowned novelists, writers and literary giants who have contributed much to the country’s literary landscape through their works. They have been masters at their work and have come up with some of the world’s best-selling novels that every reading aficionado wants to get his/her hands on. Interestingly, Scottish novelists have not limited themselves to but a single genre. They have written extensively on various genres such as fiction, non-fiction, drama, romance, satire, tragedy, comedy and so on. Some have even fused two genres to come up with a novel that has kept the readers hooked on to the book like glue. Novel writing is complex for it involves various characters, an intricate plot, some nerve-wrecking events/follow-ups and a grand finale. Unless you have a deep passion for it, writing a novel can turn into a nightmare and your final outcome as hogwash. Patience and perseverance are also strong foundations on which a good novel stands. There have been numerous Scottish writers who have not just shown all of the above, but reflected the same on their novels as well. Iain Banks, Sir Walter Scott, Irvine Welsh, Robert Louis Stevenson, A.L Kennedy, James Kelman, Denise Mina, John Buchan are some of the prominent Scottish novelists who have gained worldwide fame. Read more about their life and their works through this write-up.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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Famous As: Writer & Physician
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: July 7, 1930
Physician-turned-author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for creating the iconic character Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and 56 short stories on Holmes’s detective adventures and also created the characters Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard. A sports lover, he had dabbled in cricket, football, and bodybuilding, too.

 2 David McCallum

David McCallum
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, American, Scottish

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

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 3 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Scottish
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

 4 Walter Scott

Walter Scott
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 15, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Scottish
Died: September 21, 1832

Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

 5 Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Scottish

 6 Iain Banks

Iain Banks
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 16, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: June 9, 2013

 7 Alistair Maclean

Alistair Maclean
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 21, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Scottish
Died: February 2, 1987

Alistair Maclean was a Scottish novelist best remembered for writing popular adventure stories. Having sold more than 150 million copies, Alistair Maclean is widely regarded as one of the best-selling fiction authors. Many of his works, including Where Eagles Dare, Ice Station Zebra, and The Guns of Navarone, have been made into popular films.

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 8 Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr
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Famous As: Writer, Poet lawyer, Science fiction writer, Children's writer
Birthdate: February 22, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Scottish

 9 A. J. Cronin

A. J. Cronin
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: July 19, 1896
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Scottish
Died: January 6, 1981

 10 Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 1, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: April 13, 2006

 11 Peter May

Peter May
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Famous As: journalist, writer
Birthdate: December 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Scottish

 12 John Buchan

John Buchan
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 26, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Scottish
Died: February 11, 1940

 13 Andrew Lang

Andrew Lang
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Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic
Birthdate: March 31, 1844
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Scottish
Died: July 20, 1912

Best known for his collections of folklore, fairy tales, and legends, Scottish author and Merton College fellow Andrew Lang was also an avid historian and anthropologist who coined the term psychical research. His The World of Homer and his translations of Homer’s works remain invaluable to Homerian students.

 14 Denise Mina

Denise Mina
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Famous As: Crime writer
Birthdate: August 21, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Scottish

 15 R.M. Ballantyne

R.M. Ballantyne
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 24, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Scottish
Died: February 8, 1894

 16 John Galt

John Galt
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 2, 1779
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Scottish
Died: April 11, 1839

 17 Naomi Mitchison

Naomi Mitchison
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 1, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Scottish
Died: January 11, 1999

 18 Edwin Muir

Edwin Muir
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 15, 1887
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Scottish
Died: January 3, 1959

 19 Helen MacInnes

Helen MacInnes
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American, Scottish
Died: September 30, 1985

 20 George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 17, 1921
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Scottish
Died: April 13, 1996

 21 Eric Linklater

Eric Linklater
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 8, 1899
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Scottish
Died: November 7, 1974

 22 J.I.M. Stewart

J.I.M. Stewart
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Scottish
Died: November 12, 1994

 23 Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Hugh Henry Brackenridge
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1748 AD
Nationality: American, Scottish
Died: June 25, 1816

 24 Iain Crichton Smith

Iain Crichton Smith
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 1, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Scottish
Died: October 15, 1998

 25 John Davidson

John Davidson
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Famous As: Scottish poet
Birthdate: April 11, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Scottish
Died: March 23, 1909

 26 John Gibson Lockhart

John Gibson Lockhart
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Famous As: Biographer
Birthdate: July 14, 1794
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Scottish
Died: November 25, 1854

 27 Henry Mackenzie

Henry Mackenzie
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Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: August 26, 1745
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Scottish
Died: January 14, 1831

 28 Susan Edmonstone Ferrier

Susan Edmonstone Ferrier
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 2, 1782
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Scottish
Died: November 5, 1854

 29 Allan Cunningham

Allan Cunningham
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Famous As: Poet, Author
Birthdate: December 7, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: October 30, 1842

 30 S. R. Crockett

S. R. Crockett
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 24, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Scottish
Died: April 16, 1914

 31 George MacBeth

George MacBeth
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 19, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Scottish
Died: February 16, 1992

 32 John Barclay

John Barclay
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 28, 1582
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: August 15, 1621

 33 George Douglas Brown

George Douglas Brown
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 26, 1869
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: August 28, 1902