The National Book Council has announced that the international guest of the 2021 Malta Book Festival is world-renowned writer Irvine Welsh. The master author of dark, gritty, seedy no-nonsense ‘say it like it is’ Scottish culture novels, Welsh has been an influence on contemporary literature and an icon of the 1990s.
When Trainspotting was published in 1993, Welsh shot to fame. The novel had been rejected for the Booker Prize shortlist for offending the sensibilities of two female judges, but despite the 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.
In 1995, Welsh gave up his day job, and his fame was further accelerated when the novel was adapted into a film in 1996 by director Danny Boyle.
Welsh is known for his brutal depiction of Edinburgh life, raw Scots dialect, drug use and rave culture.
Following Trainspotting, he continued to write and publish prolifically, remaining a controversial figure whose novels, stage and screen plays, novellas and short stories have proved difficult for literary critics to assimilate.
Welsh’s novels include Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995), Filth (1998), Glue (2001), The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs (2006), Crime (2008), The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins (2014), A Decent Ride (2015) as well as the Mark Renton series following the characters of Trainspotting, including the sequel Porno (2002) and the prequel Skagboys (2012).
More recently, Welsh has returned to the saga with the finale Dead Men’s Trousers (2018). He has recently branched into film and is a partner in two film production companies.
During the Malta Book Festival Welsh will be participating in two events. In one of them he will be interviewed on his life and works by writer, playwright and former music journalist Wayne Flask, the author of Kapitali (2017). The event will be followed by a book signing session.
Then Welsh will be joined by poet and novelist Immanuel Mifsud in a conversation about the influence of Welsh on Maltese literature. The event will be moderated by former Minima Publishers founder Mark Vella, who published the early works of local authors such as Mifsud, Ġużè Stagno and Karl Schembri in the early 2000s.
The full programme for the 2021 Malta Book Festival (November 3-7) will be published in the coming weeks. See the National Book Council website for more info.