Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. This year Book Week Scotland runs from Monday 19 to Sunday 25 November. I am delighted as always to be supporting this initiative with the support of some of my favourite Scottish Crime Writers!
Find out more about Book Week Scotland here
The theme for this year’s Book Week is #Rebel and I thought to myself, now surely a bunch of crime writers have some rebellious tales to tell me! So I asked them to confess all! So are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin!
This is one of my favourite rebellious posts! It’s author, Craig Robertson being his very best rebellious self!
Rebel Yell. Rebel without a cause. The Rebel Alliance. Rebel Wilson. Rebel rebel, your hair is a mess. I’m Spartacus. No, I’m Spartacus. No, I’m Spartacus!
The theme for this year’s Book Week Scotland is Rebel. Or Rebel. The pronunciation obviously depends on whether you treat it as a noun or a verb but, you know what, who cares? It’s your rebellion, so to hell with conformity and damn the consequences, go crazy and choose whichever of the eight parts of speech pisses the establishment off the most. Rebel!
I’m supposed to be writing this blog about a rebellion of my own or one of my characters but I’m flicking two fingers up to that and instead, I’ve made a list of my favourite rebels from literature. I guess the conventional thing would have been to pick a Top Ten, so I’ve gone with a Top Nine instead. Wild, right?
My choices are a recalcitrant bunch of outlaws and I love them for it. I like to think that time and technology allowing, all nine of them would have Che Guevara posters on the wall, with the Sex Pistols blaring out from an illegal download as they smoke something mellow and stick two fingers up to the world.
They are, of course, listed in no particular order as your true rebel defies order along with everything else.
- Randall Patrick McMurphy
The hero of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is my number one choice to lead this band of rebels. He’s a brawling, risk-taking, rule-breaking, establishment shaking son-of-a-bitch. He leads the patients of the mental institution in a war against the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and we’re with him every step of the way as he breaks the shackles she’s placed on their minds and spirits.
- Alan Breck Stewart
My first literary hero and still the poster boy for my own rebellious spirit, Alan Breck captured my imagination when I devoured Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped as a kid. He is the archetypal dashing rogue, a man on the run armed with quick wits and a quicker temper, determined to bring down the Crown and restore the rightful order of the Stewarts.
Jean Louise Finch to give her her full name, is, of course, the narrator of To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper’s Lee’s iconic novel. She doesn’t take on governments or lead revolutions but she’s no less a rebel for that. Scout dresses like a boy, fights like a boy, tackles racial prejudice like a warrior and goes to Boo Radley’s house just because she’s told not to.
- Guy Montag
The protagonist of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a “fireman” working in a dystopian future where books are banned at the order of a government waging war against intellectuals. Montag’s job is to burn books and the buildings they’re found in. When he realises the true horror of destroying knowledge, he fights back. For him, for all of us, for books.
- Huckleberry Finn
Damn, I wanted to be Huckleberry Finn. He could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, a freewheeling, free-speaking rebel who Mark Twain described as being “idle, and lawless, and vulgar, and bad”. Okay, so he swore and smoked and stole watermelons and chickens BUT he knew what was right when the prejudiced hypocrites of the South didn’t.
- Holden Caulfield
The anti-hero of JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is the epitome of teenage rebellion and angst. Naive, resentful, cynical, aloof, he checks every box for seventeen-year-old rage against the machine. He hates phoniness, growing up, cliques and frat boys. Don’t we all? Okay so he’s a bit weird but he’s our kind of weird.
- Peter Rabbit
Okay, bear with me here. I know he’s a rabbit, all fluffy and stuff, but man he’s a rebel. How many times was he TOLD not to go into Mr McGregor’s garden, but he goes anyway? Because he can. Because he wants to. He’s mischievous and disobedient and rocks a blue jacket like no other bunny before or since. He was originally meant to wear aviator sunglasses and a black leather jacket, but Beatrix Potter’s editor made her change it. Bad editor.
- Cara Lindstrom
Cara is the anti-hero of Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress series. She rebels, she resists, and she kills. Victim and survivor of a brutal crime as a child, she has two choices in life – to sit there and take it or to fight back. She fights. Her victims are pimps and predators, rapists and murderers and there’s no moral equivocacy about whether it’s okay to do bad things to bad people. Yes, I’m slightly biased because Alexandra Sokoloff is my wife, but Cara Lindstrom is a fabulous character.
- Paddy Meehan
Denise Mina’s single-minded newspaper reporter Paddy first appeared in The Field Of Blood and jumped off the page demanding to be listened to. Which is ironic because like all good rebels, she never listens when someone tells her not to do something. Paddy Meehan knows what she wants and goes after it. She’s stubborn, independent, smart, takes no shit from anyone and stands up for herself in a man’s world. She’s my kind of rebel.
I absolutely love Craig’s choices here, he has picked some of my all-time favourite literary rebels! Who are yours? I’d love to know!
Craig’s books can be found in all good bookstores and on Amazon and if you haven’t read them yet, you have no idea what you are missing!
A former journalist, Craig Robertson had a 20-year career with a Scottish Sunday newspaper before becoming a full-time author. He interviewed three Prime Ministers, reported on major stories including 9/11, Dunblane, the Omagh bombing and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. He was pilloried on breakfast television, beat Oprah Winfrey to a major scoop, spent time on Death Row in the USA and dispensed polio drops in the backstreets of India.
His gritty crime novels are set on the mean streets of contemporary Glasgow. His first novel, Random, was shortlisted for the 2010 CWA New Blood Dagger, longlisted for the 2011 Crime Novel of the Year and was a Sunday Times bestseller. Murderabilia was longlisted for the 2017 Crime Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize. The Photographer was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize.
He now shares his time between Scotland and California and can usually be found on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic.