Sep 6 2022
#142: Irvine Welsh, novelist and screenwriter
Rachel and Simon speak with novelist and screenwriter Irvine Welsh. Born in the Leith area of Edinburgh, Welsh moved to London in 1978 where he immersed himself in the punk scene. He returned to Edinburgh in the late 1980s, studied for an MBA, spent 18 months addicted to heroin and worked in the council's housing department. His debut novel, "Trainspotting", an account of heroin addicts written in a thick Leith dialect, was published in 1993. It became a cult success, helped by a film adaptation in 1996, directed by Danny Boyle. Welsh subsequently wrote two sequels and a prequel to "Trainspotting", as well as a number of standalone novels, including "Glue" (2001) and "The Blade Artist" (2016). His new novel, "The Long Knives", is a sequel to both "Filth" from 1998 and "Crime" from a decade later, which he has also adapted as TV drama. We spoke to Irvine about the impact of "Trainspotting", getting into the minds of violent characters, and why he does not have a literary agent.
This episode is sponsored by Curtis Brown Creative, the writing school attached to the major literary agency. CBC has provided an exclusive discount for Always Take Notes listeners. You can use the code ATN20 for £20 off the full price of Creative Writing for Beginners, or any other four- or six-week online writing course.
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