As politics and cultures interact within an increasingly diverse Scotland, and differences in values become more evident across generations, the need for clear understanding and cooperation within and between communities becomes a pressing issue. This relates both to local and larger concerns: language, violence, morality, gender and sexuality, education, ethnicity, truth and lies. The chapters gathered here focus on significant Scottish writers of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, (Edwin Morgan, A.L. Kennedy, Liz Lochhead, John Burnside, Jackie Kay, Robin Jenkins, Muriel Spark, William McIlvanney, Ali Smith, James Kelman and others) and the communities described are certainly Scottish, but the issues raised are universal. Questions are asked about the relationship of the individual to others, and therefore, on a larger scale, about the means through which any community is both constructed and sustained: linguistically, spiritually, ethically.
If their multiple voices evoke a “zigzag of contradictions”, it is at any rate a creative zigzag which discovers, or uncovers, many contradictory aspects of life in modern Scotland that should particularly be brought to light in a re-emergent nation. Ethically speaking, Scottish writers point out the need to attend to many different narratives and retellings, in order that Scots might live more honestly and clear-sightedly with themselves and with the wider world.