10:00 am EST, November 5, 2013

Favorite Scottish books ballot snubs J.K. Rowling, curator tries to explain why

Besides for the fact that she is the author of the famous Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling is also known for her two bestselling novels for adults.

However, her name was ignored during the selection of the favorite Scottish books of the last half century. As shocking as it may seem, this high-profile author, currently living in Edinburgh, has been excluded from the list available for public vote on the website of Scottish Book Trust.

This list was assembled with the help of a renowned literary critic Stuart Kelly, who justifies such decision with the personal opinion that Rowling is just not good enough to be mentioned on the list. According to him (via The Guardian), Harry Potter’s author doesn’t qualify as a writer for adults, and if she was included in the list, it would probably be for the third book of the Harry Potter series. As for Casual Vacancy, Kelly argues that there are 50 books better than that one, and they are already included in the list.

This list is an attempt to offer a choice of the best 50 books for the voters to select their favorites from. Some of the famous works included in the selection are Hotel World by Ali Smith, A Very Quiet Street by Frank Kuppner, and A Case of Knives by Candia McWilliam. According to Stuart Kelly, the creators of the list were not only focused on the content, but the form as well. They were looking for books that have brought fundamental changes in the concept of a novel. Many of the books featured on the list have brought quite radical changes to what a novel does for the reader.

The decision of not including Rowling in the list cannot take critics based on gender and preference of male authors. In fact, women writers are strongly featured on the list, and no one ignores the fact that they have been a great part of the Scottish tradition.

According to Stuart Kelly, Scottish authors are implicitly influenced by certain books, such as Witch Wood by John Buchanan, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, and Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Although the influence is obvious, this country’s authors write within a world tradition and situate themselves within a Scottish context.

J.K. Rowling’s books are not the only well-known pieces of literature that aren’t included in this list. Many other famous books from Scotland were left out, with the explanation that they were published more than half a century ago. Some of the earliest books in the list are The Mind Benders by James Kennaway (1963), Docherty by William McIlvanney (1975), and Loitering with Intent by Muriel Spark (1981). Other books included in this selection are Morvern Callar by Alan Warner, Day by A.L. Kennedy, and Kieron Smith, Boy by James Kelman.

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Scottish crime writers (such as Christopher Brookmyre, Val McDermid, Louise Welsh, Denise Mina, and Ian Rankin) are vastly present in this list. The only author with two books included in the list (The Bridge and Excession) is the late Iain Banks.

Everyone is welcomed to vote until 18 November, and the top 10 books according to the voters’ selection will be announced from 25 November to 1 December, during the Book Week Scotland. No matter whether you approve or disapprove the decision of the committee to leave out J.K. Rowling from this list, no one can deny the fact that she is the most popular and best-selling author in Scotland’s history.

Author bio:

Sandra Miller is a freelance writer. She is extremely passionate about latest trends in education technology. Recommends using citation generator Writinghouse.org. Keeps developing her writing style and exploring the different types of fiction. Currently takes her first steps toward writing her first YA novel.

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