Scottish independence referendum: Authors take sides

J.K. Rowling wants a "no" vote on the referendum for Scottish independence.
(Dan Hallman / Invision/Associated Press)

Scottish citizens go to the polls Thursday to vote on a referendum that could make Scotland an independent country. There’s definitely no shortage of opinions on the matter, of course; Scots have heard from celebrities including Susan Boyle, Sean Connery and Groundskeeper Willie.

A “yes” vote means independence; voting “no” means staying in the United Kingdom. What do Scotland’s writers have to say on the subject? The reaction has been mixed:

The Nos:

J.K. Rowling (“Harry Potter”): The fantasy and now mystery author, one of the world’s richest writers, has donated 1 million pounds to the anti-independence Better Together campaign. Rowling, born in England but a resident of Scotland for more than two decades, writes: “If we leave, though, there will be no going back. This separation will not be quick and clean: it will take microsurgery to disentangle three centuries of close interdependence, after which we will have to deal with three bitter neighbours. I doubt that an independent Scotland will be able to bank on its ex-partners’ fond memories of the old relationship once we’ve left.”

Denise Mina (“Field of Blood”): The crime writer and comic book author supports Scotland staying in the United Kingdom. She told the Guardian she feels that independence supporters have been misstating her position on the issue: “It is an intimidating atmosphere but at a certain point you have to stand up and say ‘This is [nonsense].’”


The Yeses:

A. L. Kennedy (“Paradise”): The novelist and comedian is a supporter of the pro-independence group Yes Scotland. “Very simply, yes is the progressive vote. It continues the vast expression of disillusion that produced a landslide protest vote for Scotland’s only non-Westminster party,” she writes.

Irvine Welsh (“Trainspotting”): The Leith-born, U.S.-based author has used his Twittter account to recommend a yes vote on the referendum. He garnered hundreds of favorites and retweets with a post reading “‘No to independence!’ Sounds a bit silly and weird, doesn’t it? #YES it does.”

Val McDermid (“The Mermaids Singing”): The suspense author is a strong supporter of independence, writing: “Look at our history: we invented political economy; we led the world in the practical application of science and engineering; we organised and ran the British empire; we run towards, not away, from terrorists who try to blow up our airport. How can we not believe in ourselves? I hope we take our courage in our hands and vote yes.”