IT COVERS family strife, tragedy, hardship and poverty – and has been voted Scotland’s best-loved book.

Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s novel Sunset Song is an often brutal representation of life in the north-east in the early 20th century, and has been adapted for television, stage and screen.

Now the 1932 novel – part of the Scot’s Quair trilogy – has been named the country’s favourite book in a poll run by BBC Scotland.

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Over the summer, readers voted on a list of 30 titles in an initiative carried out in partnership with the Scottish Book Trust and the Scottish Library and Information Council.

The list included titles by writers born or based in Scotland and included both contemporary and classic works in a range of genres.

But rather than opt for escapist reads like Harry Potter, Scots instead chose the story of Chris Guthrie, a young woman wedded to the land despite family struggles, the difficulties of life on a farm and the impact of the First World War.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was amongst those to say Sunset Song was her top read, having first encountered it at the age of 13 or 14. She said: “It resonated with me firstly because it is a wonderful story, beautifully written, but it also said something about the history of the country I grew up in. It resonated with me very strongly as a young Scottish woman and I think its themes are timeless to this day.”

The Wasp Factory, the controversial debut novel by Iain Banks, was voted second, with Alasdair Gray’s epic Lanark in third place.

The oldest book in the top ten is The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, a complex novel first published in 1824 and cited as an inspiration by contemporary Scottish writers such as James Robertson and Booker-nominated Graeme Macrae Burnet.

Meanwhile, only two female writers made the list, with Muriel Spark in fifth place with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and JK Rowling listed for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first in her boy wizard series.

The results were revealed in a BBC programme last night, with a famous faces like Susan Calman and Sanjeev Kohli revealing their top choices.

The BBC’s Pauline Law said: “The list of 30 books spanned such an amazingly diverse and rich catalogue of terrific writing across generations of great Scottish writers. It was interesting to see that the top ten included James Hogg’s ‘Justified Sinner’ published in 1824 through to Muriel Spark’s 30s-set The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which was actually published as a novel in the early sixties, to the modern resonances of Ian Rankin’s Rebus in Knots & Crosses and the contemporary classic that is Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting.

“Within the top ten there are many great classics of Scottish literature and they range from crime-writing to social commentary, from fantasy to gritty realism, and from the historical to the contemporary. From the feedback we’ve had, the poll certainly seems to have provoked discussion about Scottish literature.”