Skip to main content
Publisher member


Birlinn Ltd is an independent publishing house based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The company is built on traditions of the written and spoken word and is constantly looking to the future.

Established by Hugh Andrew (2022 recipient of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Shackleton Medal for leadership and citizenship in publishing) Birlinn publishes books under a number of imprints: Birlinn; Polygon; Arena Sport; BC Books; Origin and John Donald.

The long-standing aim of Birlinn Ltd is to create an inclusive staff team and nurture writers and illustrators who together reflect the diversity and stories of our nation and the audience who will read them. Whilst we sit at the heart of cultural life in Scotland, our authors are known far beyond, and we are proud of what we have achieved together globally since we started out in 1992.



Bestselling authors include Alexander McCall Smith, Rosemary Goring, Alan Taylor, Denzil Meyrick, Stuart Cosgrove, Jan Philip-Sendker, Muriel Spark, Liz Lochhead, Roseanne Watt, Norman MacCaig, Denise Mina, Jenni Fagan, Sorley Maclean and Edwin Morgan.



Books which have had most success in terms of international rights to date have been:

FICTION: The Girl From the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat; Rizzio by Denise Mina; Hex by Jenni Fagan; It Takes One to Know One by Isla Dewar

CRIME: The Rebecca Connolly Mysteries by Douglas Skelton; The Goldenacre by Philip Miller; The Devil’s Blaze by Robert J Harris; Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland; Six Wounds by Morgan Cry

HISTORY / ENVIRONMENT: Vienna by Angus Robertson; The Salt Roads by John Goodlad; Northern Lights by Edward J Cowan; The Two Headed Whale by Sandy Winterbottom; Native by Patrick Laurie; A Scurry of Squirrels by Polly Pullar

POP CULTURE: And In The End by Ken McNab; Cassius X by Stuart Cosgrove

DRINK: Whiskypedia by Charles Maclean; Pocket Guide to Whisky by Blair Bowman and Nikki Graeme

CHILDREN’S: Bear’s Adventure and Little House by the Sea by Benedict Blathwayt


Established: 1992

Types of books published: We cover genre and subject from fiction and poetry to local, national and international history, biography, literary non-fiction, nature and environment, academic, children’s, sport, music and much, much more.

Submission details:

Birlinn highlights


Rizzio by Denise Mina (Polygon)


Vienna: The International Capital by Angus Robertson (Birlinn) 

Birlinn imprints

Birlinn publishes books under a number of imprints: Birlinn; Polygon; Arena Sport; BC Books; Origin and John Donald.

The Comforters

The Comforters by Muriel Spark (Polygon)

The Salt Roads

The Salt Roads: How Fish Made a Culture by John Goodlad (Birlinn) 

The Enigma of Garlic

The Enigma of Garlic by Alexander McCall Smith (Polygon)

Blood, Salt, Spring

Blood, Salt, Spring by Hannah Lavery (Polygon)

The Girl from the Channel Islands

The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat (Polygon) 

Scotland: Mapping the Nation

Scotland: Mapping the Nation by Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes, and Charles W. J. Withers (Birlinn)

The Goldenacre

The Goldenacre  by Philip Miller (Polygon)


Hex by Jenni Fagan (Polygon) 

No Sweet Sorrow

No Sweet Sorrow by Denzil Meyrick (Polygon)