Across 2022, the Year of Stories, we are spotlighting Publishing Scotland members, who will share their own story in their own words. Get to know Cranachan Publishing, the children’s publisher from the Isle of Lewis who won Scottish Small Press of the Year at the British Book Awards.
What’s your story?
We’re a husband-and-wife team publishing from an old croft house perched at the edge of the Atlantic in the Outer Hebrides. We moved here 14 years ago, much to the incredulity of family and friends. When we announced we were going to start a publishing business in 2016, there were raised eyebrows and comments along the lines of ‘What do you know about publishing?’. It was a good question. But six years on, it seems that now we might actually know what we’re doing as we won The British Book Awards Small Press of the Year 2022 for Scotland. We still can’t quite believe it.
Tell us about some of your key stories.
It’s too hard to choose! But some of our children’s books have thrilled us with their unexpected success.
Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig is a magical adventure of friendship, family, and what it means to find home. It was nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2020 and in our first international agreement, the rights were sold to North America, Mainland China and Taiwan.
The Titanic Detective Agency by Lindsay Littleson is our best-selling children’s book. Based on real passengers, we follow Bertha, from Aberdeen, who is excited to be on RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage, but she quickly realises some passengers are not what they seem, and she determines to unravel the mystery onboard. The Siege of Caerlaverock by Barbara Henderson is based on real events, which sees young Ada’s castle home under attack. It was shortlisted and went on to win the Young Quills Award 2021 which is the Historical Association’s prize for the best children’s historical fiction. As a small press, to have industry recognition like this, really proves the quality of our authors and publishing – and helps keep us going.
What draws you to a story? What makes a good story?
Story is everything. When we read submissions, it is through the eyes of a reader. We have to be captured and captivated by the story and want to keep turning those pages—so that our young readers will want to do the same. Cranachan books are also widely used in schools, so the writing must be of the highest quality too and worthy of study in the classroom. We also love a Scottish connection – this can be through the setting, the language, the characters – or even the author themselves. We want readers to be swept away by the story but to also learn something at the same time as a happy by-product.
What stories should we look forward to or check out this year?
Our key middle-grade title for 8-12s this year is by Carnegie-nominated author Lindsay Littleson. The Rewilders is an action-packed environmental adventure set in the Highlands of Scotland and features a stolen lynx kitten, the Scottish rainforest, and a pack of fearsome wolves! The five-star reviews are already rolling in:
‘A beautifully written story about nature, wildlife, friendship & being true to yourself. A truly amazing read.’ Valda Varindek
‘The Rewilders is a heart-warming, exhilarating and truly unmissable adventure for children of 8+. Indeed, this is a perfect story – either in class or at home – to lead into opportunities for discussions around themes of bullying, friendship, family and environmental sustainability.’ Book Craic
Just published on 24th March 2022, this is one title we hope all young readers will be wild about!