Scotland

Francis Crawford tops favourite Scottish book character poll

Francis Crawford of Lymond Image copyright Other
Image caption Sixties and seventies character Francis Crawford of Lymond came first in the poll for Book Week Scotland

The public has voted Francis Crawford of Lymond the most popular character from a Scottish book.

The central character of Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles was joined in the list by Ian Rankin's Rebus, Sherlock Holmes and Oor Wullie.

Francis Begbie from Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting came second by one vote.

The poll attracted more than 3,150 votes from 28 countries including Argentina, Singapore and Qatar.

Edinburgh-based JK Rowling earned two places in the list for Hermione Granger (sixth) and Harry Potter (joint ninth).

Begbie made a late climb into second place on Wednesday after Welsh promised to write a Begbie-based book if the character won.

You can test your knowledge about the top 10 characters by taking our quiz.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Violent character Begbie was played by Robert Carlyle in the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel

The vote, part of Scottish Book Week, invited the public to choose from a shortlist of 50 titles compiled by a panel of experts to reflect the variety of Scottish writing.


The full list is as follows:

  1. Francis Crawford of Lymond (Dorothy Dunnett)
  2. Begbie (Irvine Welsh)
  3. Rebus (Ian Rankin)
  4. Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
  5. Chris Guthrie (Lewis Grassic Gibbon)
  6. Hermione Granger (JK Rowling)
  7. Katie Morag (Mairi Hedderwick)
  8. Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark)
  9. Oor Wullie (DC Thomson) - tied
  10. Harry Potter (JK Rowling) - tied

Marc Lambert, director of Scottish Book Trust, said: "Francis Crawford of Lymond may be an unknown name to many, but Dorothy Dunnett's enduring popularity, sustained over the years by her legions of devoted fans, is testament to the strength of writing talent that we enjoy in Scotland.

Image copyright Rob McDougall
Image caption More than 3,150 votes were collected from 28 different countries

"Literature is one of the best ways of really inhabiting another person's thoughts, and is the reason why people have such strong feelings about their favourite character. It isn't always a traditionally 'nice' character who gets under people's skin either, as is proven by Begbie and Miss Jean Brodie's positions in the top 10."

Image copyright Other
Image caption Fictional Katie Morag, who stars in her own CBeebies programme, took seventh place in the list

Commenting on Katie Morag's position in the poll, Mairi Hedderwick said: "I'm delighted that Katie Morag is still a favourite book character. All of 33 years old, she is now treading the TV boards but her first home will always be on the page. Long live books!"

If voters could not see their character of choice on the shortlist, they could nominate one.

Jocky Scott, a character from cult comedy novel The Tartan Special One by Dundee-born Barry Phillips, won the most wildcard votes and came 14th in the list.

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