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Irvine Welsh in conversation with Patricia Gosálvez
Ever since Trainspotting became a literary and later a film sensation, Welsh has been described as “the Scottish Celine of the nineties”, “an excellent chronicler and a genius of the most perverse satire” or a “cult novelist”. He has also been accused of being an author who writes books that are read by people who don't normally read, and of having a negative opinion of literature. The fact of the matter is that this prolific writer does not conform to the norm, which may be what most upsets those in search of a more accommodating literature. His unapologetic use of Scottish dialect and the narrative fragments he scatters around his novels - ranging from philosophical observations to criminal acts - creates a prose that is not only consistent with a somewhat punk idea of storytelling, but is also a perfect illustration of his stated intention:
I like to challenge, disturb, upset and irritate people when I write. That’s really what motivates me: pushing myself to see things you don’t normally see in fiction, or if you do, you only see them in a very clichéd way from the author’s godlike perspective”.
Irvine Welsh (Edinburgh, 1958) grew up in the middle of the working-class district of Muirhouse, left school at sixteen and hopped from job to job until he moved to London to join the punk movement. At the end of the 80s, he returned to Scotland where he got a job with the Edinburgh District Council while studying for a university degree and taking up writing. His first novel, Trainspotting (Anagrama, 1996), was incredibly successful, as was its film adaptation. Over the course of the following decades he has published thirteen novels, including, most notably Ecstasy (Anagrama, 1998), Porno (Anagrama, 2002), Skagboys (Anagrama, 2014) and The Blade Artist (Anagrama, 2021), as well as short stories, screenplays and plays.
Patricia Gosálvez (Madrid, 1975) has been writing for El País since 2003. She has also been the deputy-head of the same newspaper’s New Narratives Lab and Society section. She is currently a member of the Weekend team. She holds a master’s degree from El País, having previously studied Journalism at the Complutense University and Film at the University of Glasgow. She has worked for such media as EFE and Cadena Ser.
With the collaboration of Anagrama and the British Council
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