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Sunset Song - Scotland's Best Read

It's official - the people have spoken - Sunsert Song is the Best Scottish Read of all time.

Date: 29 Aug 2005

The BBC's The Big Read spawned a multitude of arguments over what constitutes a 'good', let alone THE best book ever.

It came as no surprise that Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings won the top place, with rumblings in Scotland that no Scottish authors made the top 20. A bit of a misnomer for many considering the breadth of titles featured in the top 20 (it's not an entire loss when Tolstoy, Salinger, Orwell and Charlotte Brontë are being compared to Rowling, de Berniéres and Douglas Adams) and the opinion polls were always going to be led by current fashions and trends. Just look at the Top 100 Great Adverts run by Channel 4 a few years ago - the Guinness advert winning over the Smash Martians was a ridiculous affair proving that we all have very, very short memories ?

The announcement earlier on this year that there was going to be a vote for Scotland's Best Read was met with some trepidation. Arguments raged over the titles and authors included in the list - JK Rowling and Virginia Woolf included (when can a book or an author be termed Scottish? Was this a mere plot to increase media coverage and booksales?!?) - with Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde excluded. Never an exact science, the list was always going to be controversial.

On Saturday the winner of the best Scottish book of all time was revealed as Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. Now, we can't pretend at Canongate that this doesn't delight us (as the publisher of Sunset Song), but it is one of the few books from the list that can be almost universally be accepted as a great piece of literature which has withstood the trials of time.