Eddie Gibb spotlights the growing number of Scottish authors who are causing a stir in the literary
When the film adaptation of Edinburgh-born Irvine Welsh’s hugely successful debut novel, Train
spotting, hits the big screen in Febuary, it will show how far the influence of Sotland’s new literary
renaissance has extended. Ten years ago most Scottish writers were struggling to find a publisher, let
alone one that could distribute their books effectively in England. Selling film rights was unheard of .
Now at the start of 1996, Welsh is one of an ever lengthening list of Scottish authors who have made
the London-based literary world sit up and take notice
Pavng the way - More than 10 years after James Kelman’s first novel was published in Scotland, he
won the 1994 Booker prize - the London literary establishments ultimate accolade- for his novel How
late it was how late. This story of an unemployed Glaswegian ex-convict who loses his sight after a
beating from the police does not make for an easy read, even by Kelman’s generally bleak writing,
which makes his literary acceptance all the more remarkable.
Without Kelman’s influence on Scottish writing, it is hard to see how Irvine Welsh could have made as
much progress as he has in under three years. Trainspotting has sold over 100,000 copies and his two
other books remain best sellers in Scotland. Trainspotting is a series of loosely linked stories about a
group of young people from an Edinburgh housing scheme desperately looking for a good time against
a backdrop of drug addiction, violence and poverty. Despite the grim setting, Welts knack is managing
to inject humour into the most squalid of situations
Eddie Gibb is a free lance writer for the List Magazine