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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 08:15 GMT
Poll chooses top Scots book
Reading books
The shortlist included Irvine Welsh and The Broons
A book about the loss of childhood innocence has been chosen as the work best representing modern-day Scotland.

Me and Ma Gal, the first novel by Scots author Des Dillon, has been named as the winner of a poll to mark World Book Day.

The book beat off best-selling contenders such as Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting and Iain Banks' Crow Road as well as literary heavyweights such as Alasdair Gray's Lanark.

Dillon - who was brought up in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, and now lives in Galloway - said he was "left speechless" when he found out he had won.

He said he believed Trainspotting was the "best book ever written".

You never know this win might encourage more folk to buy books to give me enough money to pay some outstanding bills
Author Des Dillon
The father-of-five said: "I was probably the person least expected to win when the shortlist came out.

"I mean I was up against some of the biggest names around."

Me and Ma Gal follows two characters Derrick and Gal, a latter-day Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, through an eventful 24 hours.

It has been described as a classic account of childhood and a vividly imagined story of innocence and vulnerability.

Dillon said Me and Ma Gal, the first of eight novels he has written to date, had only sold about 6,000 copies so far.

"You never know this win might encourage more folk to buy books to give me enough money to pay some outstanding bills." he added.

The book beat off best-selling contenders
The shortlist of 10 books was originally noted for its dark subject matter, so it is in contrast that a book described by reviewers as "warm", "endearing" and "ripe with humour" should be the final winner, organisers said.

The poll was conducted through readers of Metro newspaper and via the World Book Day website.

In England, Bill Bryson's Notes From a Small Island has topped the poll, while Wales has chosen Work, Sex and Rugby by Lewis Davies and Northern Ireland chose Desire Lines by Annie McCartney.

World Book Day is a joint initiative set up by publishers, booksellers and librarians.

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