A Guide to the Scottish Novel World Cup 2018

Scottish Novel World Cup 2018
Category: Reading

It was the summer of 1998. The BBC Scotland crew floated aboard a barge on the Seine under the Parisian sun when the presenter asked, "Scotland vs Brazil in the opening game of the World Cup: it may never get as good as this again... again... again." (echo added for effect)

No Scotland fan could have predicted that come 2018 the Tartan Army would still be waiting for the opportunity to light up the grounds of a major soccer tournament. However, even if we keep failing to excel at the world's favourite sport, at least we're punching above our weight at one of its favourite pasttimes: books.

Scotland's continuing ability to light up up the literary world is why we are running the #ScottishNovelWorldCup on Twitter @ScottishBkTrust.

Starting with these eight groups, featuring 32 fantastic Scottish novels from across time, we'll be posting regular polls on Twitter throughout the length of the 2018 World Cup (14 June to 15 July). Simply vote for your favourite novels on the days of our 'matches' to give your best-loved authors the chance at glory this summer. 'Matches' will kick off at 10am (unless otherwise stated) and voting will remain open until 14:00 (unless otherwise stated). To get a sense of what we're on about, check out Richard Osman's fantastic World Cup of Books from last year.  

Important notice: these books have been chosen for their popularity, and, in some instances, to add different playing styles to the #ScottishNovelWorldCup. These 32 novels shouldn't be read as a 'best of'. The tournament is supposed to be a fun celebration of Scottish fiction. Funbusters are discouraged from going for two-footed tackles, otherwise we're gonnae take our ball home. 

To run a sweepstake for the actual 2018 World Cup, while changing lives through reading and writing, please download our Russia 2018 Sweepstake Template and fundraise for Scottish Book Trust.

Ready to vote? Visit our Twitter feed, @ScottishBkTrust, before 15.30 and vote for your favourites!

 

Dates of subsequent rounds

Group Stages: 14-28 June

Last 16: 2-3 July 2018

Quarter-Finals: 4-5 July

Semi-Finals: 10-11 July

Final: 12 July

 

Final

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

12 July

Vs. 

Winner: 52% of the vote

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

 

 

Semi Finals

 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

SF1

10 July

Vs. 

Winner: 66% of the vote

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

 
Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin
 
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

SF2

11 July

Vs. 

Winner: 51% of the vote

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

 
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

 

 

Quarter Finals

 
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

QF1

4 July

Vs. 

Winner: 64% of the vote

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
 
Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

Winner: 55% of the vote

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

QF2

4 July

Vs. 

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

 
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
 
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Winner: 59% of the vote

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

QF3

5 July

Vs. 

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

 
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
 
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Winner: 54% of the vote

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

QF4

5 July

Vs. 

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

 
The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid


Last 16 Fixtures

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

WINNER - 56% of the vote

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Match 1

2 July

Vs.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling Book Cover

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K.  Rowling

 

Match 2

2 July

Vs.

WINNER - 71% of the vote

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

 

 
Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin
 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Winner: 66% of the vote

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Match 3

2 July

Vs.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

 
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre

 

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre

 

Match 4

 2 July

Vs.

Winner: 65% of the vote

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

 
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
 
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Winner: 63% of the vote

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Match 5

3 July

Vs.

Lanark by Alasdair Gray

 
Lanark by Alaisdair Gray
 
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
 

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

 

Match 6

3 July

Vs.

 

Winner: 54% of the vote

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

 
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
 
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
 

Winner: 65% of the vote

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

 

Match 7

3 July

Vs.

 

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

 
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
 
The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid
 

Winner: 57% of the vote

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

Match 8

3 July

Vs.

 

 

The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson

 
The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson

 

Group A - Poll: Played 14 June

Group A took place on 14 June. After taking an early lead, Harry Potter was pegged back by His Bloody Project with some help from Franz Ferdinand bassist Bob Hardy. Both books will progress to the last 16 - the Man Booker Prize shortlisted His Bloody Project will face the runner up of Group B; Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone will take on Group B's winner.

(Winner plays runner up in Group B. Runner-Up plays winner of Group B)

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

 

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

 

1st: 45%

 
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling Book Cover

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K.  Rowling

2nd: 28%

 

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway

The Trick Is To Keep Breathingby Janice Galloway

3rd: 15%

 

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott

 

4th: 12%

 

 

Group B - Poll: 15 June

Group B took place on Friday 15 June and Ian Rankin's Rebus classic swept the board, thumping cross after cross into the box to... erm... tie the opposition in knots (sorry). Fighting for second place, Peter Pan had eternal youth on its side as it scraped enough votes together to claim second spot, and an intriguing match up with His Bloody Project in the last 16. For Ian Rankin, this simple group stage is followed by a heavyweight clash with J. K. Rowling. Tantalising stuff. 

(Winner plays runner up in Group A. Runner-Up plays winner of Group A)

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

 

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

 

1st: 66% 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

 

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

 

2nd: 15%

 

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

3rd: 10%

 

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

 

4th: 9%

 

 

Group C - Poll: 18 June

Pre-tournament hype may have centred around a two-way battle between Chris Brookmyre and Jenni Fagan but it was Arthur Conan Doyle who stormed to an early lead in Group C. That left the rest of the group engaged in a dogfight for second, with Quite Ugly One Morning claiming the runners up spot - by a handful of votes. 

(Winner plays runner up in Group D. Runner-Up plays winner of Group D)

 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

1st: 37%

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre

 

2nd: 22%

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

 

3rd: 21%

The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh

The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh

4th: 20%

 

Group D - Poll: 20 June

Group D quickly fell into a two horse race, Welsh vs. Honeyman, Edinburgh vs. Glasgow. The top two remained tight until a quick tweet from @IrvineWelsh opened up a gap between these two hugely popular Scottish novels. As runner-up, Eleanor Oliphant will now face Sherlock Holmes, while Trainspotting's win earns Irvine Welsh a last 16 tie against Chris Brookmyre. 

(Winner plays runner up in Group C. Runner-Up plays winner of Group C)

 
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

1st: 61%

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

2nd: 31%

Wish I Was Here by Jackie Kay

Wish I Was Here by Jackie Kay

3rd: 5%

 

Fishnet by Kirstin Innes

Fishnet by Kirstin Innes

4th: 3%

 

 

Group E - Poll: 21 June

The Wasp Factory buzzed to an early lead but there was to be a sting in the tail in Group E. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde put aside their differences and combined beautifully to pull off an audacious comeback and top the group. Both novels will have their eyes firmly trained on Group F where their likely opponents contain some serious heavy hitters. 

(Winner plays runner up in Group F. Runner-Up plays winner of Group F)

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

1st: 50%

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
 

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

2nd: 38%

 
Buddha Da by Anne Donovan

 Buddha Da by Anne Donovan

3rd: 9%

Divided City by Theresa Breslin

Divided City by Theresa Breslin

4th: 3%

 

 

Group F - Poll: 25 June

In the year of #MurielSpark100 perhaps The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie's romp to Group F glory was to be expected. Pundits, however, might have expected the gap between it and Lanark, in second place, to be smaller. The margin of victory will give Muriel Spark's fanbase a lot of confidence ahead of the novel's last 16 clash with The Wasp Factory on 3 July. Despite its second place finish here, no book will look forward to playing Lanark in the knockout stages. 

(Winner plays runner up in Group E. Runner-Up plays winner of Group E)

 
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

 

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

1st: 57%

Lanark by Alaisdair Gray

 

Lanark by Alasdair Gray

 

2nd: 33%

How to Be Both by Ali Smith

How to be both by Ali Smith

3rd: 6%

Jelly Roll by Luke Sutherland

Jelly Roll by Luke Sutherland

4th: 4%

 

Group G - Poll: 26 June

Group G was the Group of Death for many onlookers. Two big hitters from the Scottish canon versus the phenomenal Maggie O'Farrell and the queen of Tartan Noir. Something had to give. On this occasion, it was our nerves. The lead changed hand several times over four hours of tense voting. The upshot? Lewis Grassic Gibbon topped the group by a nose and James Hogg crashes out. In another group, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner may have finished first. But the #ScottishNovelWorldCup takes no prisoners. 

(Winner plays runner up in Group H. Runner-Up plays winner of Group H)

 
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

1st: 35%

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

2nd: 32%

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

3rd: 25%

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

4th: 8%

 

Group H - Poll: 28 June

Group H proved to be a testament to the popularity of James Robertson. Onlookers may have expected Dorothy Dunnett's huge online fanbase to help The Game of Kings march into the last 16 but time after time we were surprised by the resilience of Life After Life.

(Winner plays runner up in Group G. Runner-Up plays winner of Group G)

 
The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson

 

 

The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson

 

1st: 33%

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

 

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

 

2nd: 28%

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

3rd: 27%

The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins

The Cone-Gatherers by Robin Jenkins

4th: 12%

 

Voting in the Scottish Novel World Cup will take place via our @ScottishBkTrust feed. We hope you'll join us there! 

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