Book Week Scotland Book to Song Vote: Panel and Criteria

If music be the food of love, read on.

For Book Week Scotland 2017, we are asking the general public to vote for their favourite song inspired by a book. From Woody Guthrie's 'Tom Joad' to Katy Perry's 'Firework', we believe we have assembled a strong top 40 for you to pick your number one from. But how did we arrive at our shortlist? And what were our criteria?

Well, first of all, we would like to preface this whole vote and its criteria with this statement: Our Vote Is Designed To Be Good Fun.

Our task was to select 40 songs for our shortlist. We could have picked 200. Along the way we had to say goodbye to tracks from Nirvana, Frank Sinatra and Franz Ferdinand. Please know that our job was not an easy one. If your favourite book-inspired tune isn't on our shortlist, please forgive us. We love books. We love music. We love talking about both. This vote is designed as a conversation starter for both. With this vote we aim to demonstrate just how much literature permeates our culture.  

Our process involved an ask to the general public, heavily advertised on social media. The scores of songs we received formed the basis of a longlist that our panel added to during many hours of desk-based research. A final longlist of over 100 songs was selected. 

Our panel, featuring representatives from the worlds of music and literature, met to whittle this longlist down to 40 songs based on the following criteria. If you have any questions about these criteria or our process, please email with the subject 'Song Vote Query'. 

Book-to-Song Vote Criteria

  • For the purposes of this vote, we are taking 'song' to mean a pop, rock, country or folk song that one might hear in a top 40 show. Therefore, works of classical and jazz music did not qualify for the vote.
  • Songs based on fiction, non-fiction or individual poems all qualified for our shortlist. 
  • Songs from musicals and film musicals did not qualify as it was felt that the musical itself was inspired by the book or poem and not the songs within it. Plus, the panel felt that songs from musicals inspired by books deserved an individual vote.
  • Songs based on poems or books qualified for our longlist. 
  • Songs based on plays did not qualify.
  • There had to be evidence that the artist was inspired by the book and/or its themes and content for it to qualify. We have evidence that this is the case for each of the 40 tracks chosen.
  • Songs were based on their merits as songs. Our panel was asked whether they would like to listen to any track we selected more than once. 
  • The shortlist had to include as much diversity as we could manage given the songs available to us i.e. the songs we could find that were discernably inspired by books.
  • The panel sought to include as many different books on the shortlist as possible. 
  • The panel sought to represent music created by Scottish artists and/or inspired by the work of Scottish authors.
  • The panel sought to represent as many different styles of music as was possible in the shortlist, given the source material. 

Panel Members

  • Sarah Mason, Saltire Society Programme Director
  • Kirsty Baird, Sing in the City Founder and Musical Director
  • Nyla Ahmad, Book Week Scotland Young Programmer.

We hope you will join in the fun of our book-to-song vote, and the magic of Book Week Scotland 2017. 

Don't forget to vote for your favourite track