2022 was a memorable year for Scottish writing, with great debuts, the return of old favourites, novels, novellas, short stories, memoirs, and much more. So many books are published each year that it can be difficult to know where to start. With this in mind, SNACK presents you with Ten Best Scottish Books of 2022
Ryan O’Connor – The Voids
Not only the best debut of the year, but my book of the year – Ryan O’Connor’s The Voids introduced an exciting new voice to Scottish writing. It is honest and artistic, setting out the drama of ordinary lives in a manner direct and raw, yet humane and ultimately hopeful.
The Voids is published with Scribe
Jenni Fagan – Hex
Jenni Fagan had another remarkable year. Her collection of poetry, The Bone Library, was rightly acclaimed, but it was her novella Hex that really stood out. It’s an exemplar of the form, a book that tells its story across space and time from a writer who is fully engaged with both subject and style.
Hex is published with Polygon Books
Sarah Smith – Hear No Evil
Inspired by the true story of Jean Campbell, the first Deaf person to be tried in a Scottish court, Sarah Smith’s Hear No Evil is a whodunit and a race against time. It also asks us to consider the institutional barriers Deaf and other disabled people had to face, something which
Hear No Evil is published with Two Roads
Kirsti Wishart – The Projectionist
The Projectionist is a love letter to the cinema of the past, the fading glamour of the buildings that showed them, and the small towns where they were often found. It manages to make you nostalgic for a time and place which never existed, and has twists, turns, and MacGuffins of which Hitchcock would have been proud.
The Projectionist is published with Rymour Books
Chitra Ramaswamy – Homelands
Homelands: The History of a Friendship is both biography and autobiography, as Chitra Ramaswamy weaves together her own family’s story of migrating to the UK with that of her friend, Henry Wuga, who came to Glasgow as a teenage refugee escaping the horrors of Nazi Germany. Homelands rightly proffers that there is more that unites us than divides.
Homelands is published with Canongate
David Keenan – Industry of Magic & Light
Industry of Magic & Light is a prequel to the cult classic This is Memorial Device and, as with all his fiction, David Keenan is as interested in how a story is told as he is with as the story itself. Transporting us from Airdrie to Afghanistan, when taken as a whole Industry of Magic & Light is not just concerned with an alternative Airdrie, but alternative reality.
Industry of Magic & Light is published with White Rabbit Books
James Kelman – God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena
The return of arguably Scotland’s greatest living writer is a reason for cheer, although it seemed to go widely unheralded. It’s a shame, as God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena is James Kelman at his most playful, recounting the trials and tribulations of an ageing author on the US university circuit, in what amounts to a thinly veiled portrayal of the great man himself.
God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena is published by PM Press White Rabbit
Philip Miller – The Goldenacre
Philip Miller’s The Goldenacre breathed new life into Scottish crime fiction, moving out of the mean streets into the world of fine art and galleries, although the morality in these rarefied rooms is as reprehensible as in any dubious dive bar. Artful both in style and substance, Philip Miller has written a crime novel for those who think they don’t do crime.
The Goldenacre is published by Polygon Books
Ever Dundas – HellSans
Science fiction has rarely been as dystopian as in Ever Dundas’ novel HellSans. It mixes the classic sci-fi of Ray Bradbury with the body horror of David Cronenberg, but is so much more than a book of shock and ugh. Dundas is making a serious comment on our own society and the challenges many face.
HellSans is published by Angry Robot
Dilys Rose – Sea Fret
There were many excellent short story collections published in 2022, but Dilys Rose’s Sea Fret stood out, with stories that work both individually and with each other. Rose writes with an empathy and humanity that is rare, and Sea Fret is a reminder that great short stories deserve to not only be read, but rightly lauded.
Sea Fret is published by Scotland Street Press