> 10 Best Scottish Books We're Looking Forward To In 2024 - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

10 Best Scottish Books We’re Looking Forward To In 2024

2023 was another impressive year for Scottish writing, with many of the best books reviewed and discussed in SNACK. What’s more, every year we like to look forward to what’s coming in the year ahead and, with that in mind, here are ten titles * which will be published in 2024, all of which promise great things. * Connection to Scotland may be author or publisher.

Ali Millar – Ava Anna Ada 

We say

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited debut novel of the year is Ali Millar’s Ava Anna Ada, due in no small part to the success of Millar’s critically acclaimed memoir The Last Days (published by Ebury Press). Ava Anna Ada introduces readers to Ava and Anna, the palindromic pair whose lives intertwine against the backdrop of a brutally hot summer, and that heat seeps into the writing itself. And who is Ada? You’ll have to find that out for yourself.

Publisher synopsis

Braiding climate chaos, lust, poetry and violence, Ali Millar’s debut novel is a contemporary fable against images and their enduring hold on us. Attuned to the knotty texture of reality, Ava Anna Ada asks us to confront the way things look in the dark – and what happens when what is buried comes into the light.

Ava Anna Ada is published with White Rabbit Books, 18th January

Gathering: Women of Colour on Nature – edited by Durre Shahwar & Nasia Sarwar-Skuse

We say

Nature writing has continued to grow in popularity over recent years, and perhaps particularly post-pandemic. Gathering promises new voices commenting and providing perspective on the world around us, giving a more rounded and diverse picture of the natural world and our interactions with it than was previously the case.

Publisher synopsis

Gathering brings together essays by women of colour across the UK writing about their relationships with nature, in a genre long-dominated by male, white, middle-class writers. In redressing this imbalance, this moving collection considers climate justice, neurodiversity, mental health, academia, inherited histories, colonialism, whiteness, music, hiking and so much more.’

Gathering: Women of Colour on Nature is published with 404 Ink, 15th February

Elle Machray – Remember Remember 

We say

In recent years historical fiction has been among the most interesting and inventive genres of writing, and Elle Machray’s Remember Remember looks set to continue this trend. The consequences of the British Empire continue to cast significant shadows over life in the United Kingdom, and around the world. Remember Remember creates an alternative history to try and better understand our lives today.

Publisher synopsis

1770. Delphine lives in the shadows of London: a secret, vibrant world of smugglers, courtesans and small rebellions. Four years ago, she escaped enslavement at great personal cost. Now, she must help her brother Vincent do the same.

Remember Remember is published by Harper Collins, 29th February

Hollie McNish – Lobster: and other things I’m learning to love

We say

Readers often get evangelical about books (I know I do) and in the last couple of years the one the most people have raved about and recommended to me has been Hollie McNish’s Slug (published by Fleet). Lobster is a companion collection to Slug, and looks set to capture further hearts and minds, as few writers present the world to us with the honesty and insight of Hollie McNish.

Publisher synopsis

As people, we are capable of both love and hate; amazement and disgust; fun and misery. So why do we live in a world that is constantly telling us to hate, both ourselves and others? We are told to be repulsed by our own bodies, bodies that let us laugh and sweat and eat toast; to be ashamed of pleasure; to be embarrassed by fun. In this brand-new collection, Hollie McNish brings her inimitable style to the question of what we have been taught to hate, and if we might learn to love again.

Lobster is published with Little, Brown Book Group, 14th March

Andrew O’Hagan – Caledonian Road

We say

Long considered one of the very best writers around, Andrew O’Hagan‘s previous novel Mayflies (published by Faber & Faber) reached a new readership, in no small part due to the superb BBC TV adaptation. His latest, Caledonian Road, promises a ‘state-of-the-nation’ novel, examined through the fall of one man. A new Andrew O’Hagan novel is always worthy of note, but this sounds like a book for our times.

Publisher synopsis

May 2021. London. Campbell Flynn – art historian and celebrity intellectual – is entering the empire of middle age. Fuelled by an appetite for admiration and the finer things, controversy and novelty, he doesn’t take people half as seriously as they take themselves. Which will prove the first of his huge mistakes.

Caledonian Road is published with Faber & Faber, 2nd April

Philip Miller – The Hollow Tree

We say

Philip Miller’s novel The Goldenacre (published by Polygon) was one of SNACK’s 2022 books of the year, bringing a stylish and artful twist to Scottish crime fiction, and a new protagonist in journalist Shona Sandison. The eagerly awaited The Hollow Tree is the next in the series (with a third promised) which is exciting news not only for those who love their crime fiction, but readers in general, as this is writing of the highest quality.

Publisher synopsis

Investigative journalist Shona Sandison is attending the wedding of her closest friend and former colleague, Vivienne. But the night before the wedding, Vivienne’s reclusive school friend, Dan, jumps from a roof to his death. Shona is the only witness to the suicide – and so the only person who saw the occult tattoos covering Dan’s body, and heard the unsettling, mystical phrases he was uttering.”

The Hollow Tree is published with Polygon Books, 4th April

Genevieve Jagger – Fragile Animals

We say

If the single sentence sell is ‘lapsed Catholic has an affair with a vampire’ then it’s no wonder Genevieve Jagger’s debut novel, Fragile Animals, is one of the forthcoming books which has caught our attention. Promising to ‘bridge the gaps between contemporary gothic fiction, queer fiction and magical realism’, Fragile Animals could be the novel we’re all talking about come the end of the year.

Publisher synopsis

Struggling to deal with the familial trauma of her Catholic upbringing, hotel cleaner Noelle travels to the Isle of Bute. There, she meets a man who claims to be a vampire, and a relationship blooms between them based solely on confession. But as talk grows sacrilegious, and the weather outside grows colder, Noelle becomes hounded by memories of her past – her blasphemous sexuality, and the love she lost while stuck in the closet; of her mother’s affair with the local priest, and the part she played in ending it.

Fragile Animals is published by 404 Ink, 25th April

Val McDermid – Queen Macbeth

We say

Polygon’s Darkland Tales have proved to be among the most exciting series of books of recent years, with previous publications from Denise Mina, Jenni Fagan, Alan Warner, and David Greig all making a mark. The latest is by Val McDermid, and it is incredibly exciting to consider what she will bring to the story of Queen Macbeth. Expect the unexpected.

Publisher synopsis

A thousand years ago in an ancient Scottish landscape, a woman is on the run with her three bosom companions – a healer, a weaver and a seer. If the men hunting her find them, they will kill her, because she is the only one who stands between them and their violent ambition. She is no lady: she is the first queen of Scotland, married to a king called Macbeth.

Queen Macbeth is published with Polygon Books, 2nd May

Andres N. Ordorica – How We Named The Stars

We say

Better known as a poet – his collection At Least This I Know (published with 404 Ink) is one of the most personal, sensual and moving of recent times – it’s intriguing to anticipate how Andres N. Ordorica’s mastery of language and poetic sensibilities will emerge in the longer form of fiction with the novel How We Named The Stars. I anticipate something very special.

Publisher synopsis

Nerdy and shy, scholarship student Daniel de La Luna arrives at college nervous to meet his golden-haired, athletic roommate, whose Facebook photos depict a boy just like those who made Daniel’s school years hell.

How We Named The Stars is published with Saraband Books, 4th July

Rodge Glass – Joshua in the Sky

Rodge Glass (Photo credit: Alan Dimmik)

We say

Rodge Glass has already proved himself one of the most versatile writers around, with notable novels, non-fiction, academic writing, and critically acclaimed biographies of Alasdair Gray and, most recently, Michel Faber. Joshua in the Sky is a memoir which touches on life, death, love, family, and remembrance, and can be described as both autobiography and biography. 

Publisher synopsis

Joshua in the Sky tells the story of one man’s attempt to come to make sense of the death of his nephew from a rare blood condition both share. Having spent a lifetime using reading and writing as a way to face the world while suffering from chronic illnesses, including the little understood HHT [hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia], the author seeks to make Joshua in the Sky a kind of reckoning, asking the questions: whose life deserves to be remembered? And how?”

Joshua In The Sky is published with Taproot Press, 5th September

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