When Trainspotting was published in 1993 Irvine Welsh shot to fame. According to Lord Gowrie, the chairman of the panel, the novel was rejected for the Booker Prize shortlist after offending the sensibilities of two female judges. Despite this unease from the critical establishment, Welsh’s novel received as many good reviews as ones swathed in disgust and outrage - establishing a tradition that continues to this day. Harry Gibson’s stage adaptation of the novel was premiered at the Glasgow Mayfest in April 1994 and went on to be staged at the Edinburgh Festival and in London before touring the UK. In August 1995, Irvine Welsh gave up his day job.
Irvine Welsh is a Scottish author famous for his mind-screwy, profane and profound novels, all centering on Scottish delinquents (or former Scottish delinquents) and their dysfunctional families, drug addictions and mental perversions. How fun!
Welsh's novels share characters, giving the feel of a "shared universe" within his writing. For example, characters from Trainspotting make cameo appearances in The Acid House, Marabou Stork Nightmares, Ecstasy, Filth, and slightly larger appearances in Glue, whose characters then appear in Porno.
Known for writing in his native Edinburgh Scots dialect, he generally ignores the traditional conventions of literary Scots, used for example by Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson, Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and James Orr. Instead, he transcribes dialects phonetically.
Like Alasdair Gray before him, Welsh also experiments with typography. In the book Filth, the tapeworm's internal monologue is imposed over the top of the protagonist's own internal monologue (the worm's host), visibly depicting the tapeworm's voracious appetite, much like the "Climax of Voices" in Gray's novel 1982, Janine.
Mr Welsh has his very own page of Nightmare Fuel
List of Novels
Short Stories Appearing in Other Collections
- Contamination a novella in the 2001 collection The Weekenders: Travels in the Heart of Africa
- The 2004 collection The Weekenders: Adventures in Calcutta
- The 2005 collection One City
Stage and Screen
- You'll Have Had Your Hole
- Blackpool - a musical. Music written by Vic Goddard of Subway Sect.
- Babylon Heights - co-written with Dean Cavanagh
- The Meat Trade - co-written with Dean Cavanagh
- Wedding Belles (2007) - co-written with Dean Cavanagh. A made-for-TV film that was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA.
- A 15 minute film for Gene's song "Is It Over" from the album Libertine (2001).
- A short film to accompany the track "Atlantic" from Keane's album Under the Iron Sea (2006).
- The short film NUTS (2007). He also co-wrote the script with Dean Cavanagh.
- Co-directed "The Right to Liberty" a chapter of the documentary film The New Ten Commandments (2008).
- Co-directed Good Arrows - written by Welsh and Cavanagh (2009).
- Trainspotting (1996)
- The Acid House (1998)
- Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy (2011)
- Filth (2013)
- Marabou Stork Nightmares