GE Editing have compiled an extensive list of The Most Iconic Books Set in 150 Countries Around the World.
The list is compiled of novels either written by an author of a country’s nationality, or set in the country in question (hence Beowulf is chosen for Denmark, or The Bridge over the River Kwai for Thailand). Some obvious choice classics such as Spain’s Don Quixote, Russia’s War and Peace and USA’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer join lesser known national treasures like Botswana’s When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head, Uruguay’s The Invisible Mountain by Carolina De Robertis, and Malaysia’s The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng.
Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice was chosen for the UK, remarked upon as “one of the most widely read books in English worldwide”. James Joyce‘s Ulysses – a book perhaps everyone reveres but few have read – is the choice for Ireland, stating the novel touches on “Ireland’s complicated relationship with England and the complexities of the English language”.
In uncertain post-Brexit times, some might say that Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should have their own listings. In 2013, the Scottish Book Trust found The Bridge by Iain Banks to be the public’s favourite Scottish novel. In 2014, Wales Arts Review announced Un Nos Ola Leuad by Caradog Prichard as ‘The Greatest Welsh Novel’, chosen by a panel of literary experts and an online public poll of more than 1,400 readers.
Crime writer Brian Gilloway recently listed his top 10 Northern Irish Crime Novels for Strand Magazine. Dr Caroline Magennis, lecturer in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, listed Ten great Northern Irish novels you might have missed for the Irish Times. The Conversation also recently celebrated the emerging new wave of fiction from Northern Irish women. And of course, there has been the expected focus on the best books concerning the Troubles.
However, mostly Northern Irish novel writing is merged with Irish writing as a whole, and rarely celebrated on its own. Let us know your favourite Northern Irish novel in the comments below.
We’ve included the choices for Europe below – for the full list of 150 novels, visit the GE Editing blog.