Linda Cracknell

Linda Cracknell has built up an impressive track record since winning the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday short story competition in 1998. Her first collection, Life Drawing (11:9, 2000), was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award. She was a recipient of the Scottish Arts Council’s prestigious Creative Scotland Awards in 2007 for her non-fiction project Path. Linda has also been commissioned by the BBC to abridge D H Lawrence’s The Rainbow in ten parts, and to write an afternoon play based on the life of Valda Grieve, broadcast in 2005. Her many residency posts include time spent in Maine, New York, at Brownsbank Cottage, last home of poet Hugh MacDiarmid and at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital.


Linda Cracknell is represented at Jenny Brown Associates by Jenny. For all enquiries contact

Books by Linda

Doubling Back: Paths Trodden in Memory

Saraband, March 2024

Across Norway, Kenya, the Isle of Skye and Lindisfarne, Doubling Back traces the contours of history. Following paths long mythologised by writers and relatives gone before, Linda Cracknell charts how places immortalised in writing and memory create portals; wrinkles in time and geography that allow us to walk in the footsteps of others.

Join Linda as she traverses the dangerous crevasses of the Swiss alps to retrace the mountaineering past of the father she barely knew, follows the escape route of a Norwegian scientist on the run in the second world war, or simply celebrates the joy found in the ‘friendly paths’ of her local, regular terrain, and the ritual of returning home.

Originally published in 2014 to rave reviews and serialised on BBC radio, this revised edition includes an account of a new journey through northern Scotland’s Flow Country, the peatland that is our chief Carbon store. As the century is almost one quarter through, Linda doubles back once more to reflect on our future on this fragile Earth.

Praise for Doubling Back

‘Cracknell wonderfully explores the strange durability of the paths that we make in our lives, in our dreams and after our deaths.’-Robert Macfarlane

Cover of Linda Cracknell's Writing Landscape

Writing Landscape

Saraband, 2023

Inhabiting a landscape, walking a landscape, writing a place and time.

Linda Cracknell is a writer of place and nature who believes in being alert, observing, and writing from the particulars of each experience. Engaging bodily with her writing, she is someone for whom getting mud on her boots, sleeping high up in the hills, or being slapped by salt water can all be part of her process. She follows Susan Sontag’s advice to “Love words, agonize over sentences and pay attention to the world.” 

In this varied collection of essays, Linda backpacks on a small island that is connected to the mainland at low tide, musing on the nineteenth-century Scottish writer whose character was shipwrecked there. She hikes the wooded mountain trail close to her home in winter snow–a place she is intimately familiar with in all weathers and seasons–and she retraces the steps of a multiday hike made almost seven decades after her parents trod the route together. She explores her inspirations, in nature and from other artists and their work. 

Reading this collection will open your eyes to the world around you and how you can observe, take note, and later commit those notes and memories to written pieces that will evoke the place and time.

The Other Side of Stone

Taproot Press, March 2021

A haunting novella about a Perthshire woollen mill, told through the lives of those locked in and out of its walls, their moving stories interwoven against the backdrop of the impact of industrialisation on rural Scotland and the struggle for women’s rights.

1831: A travelling stonemason works on his final job, carving the dedication stone for a Mill destined to save its community.

1913: A rural suffragette, excluded from the local industry, rails against the building that threatens to consume both her husband and her freedom.

1990: As the Mill closes its doors for the final time, an embittered worker bears off a pattern book that contains the last knowledge and mystery of its weavers.

Very simply extraordinary: beautiful and fun to read.–Sara Maitland

Call of the Undertow

Freight Books, October 2013

When Maggie Thame, a childless forty-something from Oxford, relocates to a remote village at Scotland’s most northern edge, it’s clear she’s running away. But to the villagers the question remains, from what? Pursuing her career as a freelance cartographer, she lives in self-imposed isolation, seeking refuge in the harsh beauty of her surroundings. This is disturbed when she falls into an uneasy friendship with Trothan Gilbertson, a strange, other-worldly local nine-year old. Like Maggie, it’s unclear where Trothan really comes from, and what secrets might be lurking in his past. The lives of both become intertwined, with violent consequences that will change the destinies of woman and boy forever, forcing Maggie to confront the tragic events that first drew her to this isolated place.

In this, her debut novel, award-winning writer Linda Cracknell explores themes of motherhood, guilt, myth and the elemental forces of nature in a lyrical, taut and haunting account of damaged lives seeking redemption.

Praise for Call of the Undertow

A haunting tale that, like the landscape in which it’s set, is perched on the cusp of the super­natural without ever quite toppling in. –The Herald

This is a stark, atmospheric novel, with a strong sense of place: the wheeling sea birds, the endless ocean, and the drama of the big sky are all powerfully evoked, as is the sense of a small community where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets. –The Independent

Every so often… The universe gifts you a book the reading of which becomes more important than anything else you could be doing at that moment… A reality that snares you so completely that for a few hours, it’s the rest of the world that is shelved. Such a book is Call of the Undertow
The Book Bag

The past and memory form the fulcrum in what is the first full length novel by one of Scotland’s most exciting new talents. This atmospheric and finely crafted work certainly marks Cracknell as one to watch in 2014. –Waterstones Edinburgh

An astonishingly beautiful novel with passages of exquisite nature writing, light-touch description and a well-paced narrative which moves around the human psyche like a restless wind. –Northwords Now

One of the most enchanting and magical novels of the year. –Scots Whay Hae!


The Searching Glance

Salt, October 2009

The Searching Glance is the long-awaited second collection from one of Scotland’s leading short story writers. The worlds inhabited by the characters in these stories are diverse. Linda Cracknell’s stories are multi-layered and brooding with longing and loss, allowing the reader a ‘searching glance’ at characters’ lives. With touches of the surreal and hard strokes of reality, these stories will linger in the mind.

Praise for The Searching Glance

Recognisably one of Scotland’s foremost short-story writers. Her first collection does not disappoint. –Caledonia Magazine

Linda Cracknell brings female experience hauntingly to life. –The Scotsman

Linda Cracknell’s attention to detail is impressive: she writes as a painter in oils might paint, using a palette rich in both colour and texture, and the people she brings to life seem at once both part of and alienated from the landscapes in which they move. These are quiet yet passionate stories, subtle and striking in their effect. –James Robertson