James Kelman in conversation with Niall MacMonagle
We welcome Scotland's Booker prize-winning James Kelman. His trademark ability to “bring alive” in the words of Alan Warner “a human consciousness like no other writer can” will take centre stage. His 13th short story collection That Was A Shiver
was published this year while his latest novel, Dirt Road
, published last year, explored the brevity of life, love, the draw of the open road and the power of music. Colin Barrett described James Kelman's work as “pungent and unapologetically polemical”.
He joins Niall MacMonagle for a conversation about his writing, the places that feature in it and people who inhabit it.
James Kelman joined his first creative writing class in 1971 under the direction of Philip Hobsbawm. His collection of short stories, An Old Pub Near the Angel, was published in Maine, USA in 1973. His first novel, The Busconductor Hines was published in 1984. Later work received much critical acclaim and he won the Cheltenham Prize (1987) for Greyhound for Breakfast and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for A Disaffection 1989), which was also short-listed for the Booker Prize. His fourth novel, How Late it was, How Late, the story of an unemployed Glaswegian builder and petty criminal who has been lifted by the police, won the Booker Prize in 1994. More accolades were received when his short story collection The Good Times 1999) won the Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. He is the author of a television screenplay, The Return (1991), and has written many plays for radio and theatre. He took up a position at the University of Texas teaching creative writing for three semesters (1998, 1999 and 2001) and later at Goldsmiths College London and the University of Glasgow, where he taught creative writing.
Niall MacMonagle is a teacher and critic. He broadcasts frequently on RTÉ Radio 1 and has edited several poetry anthologies.