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Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh (born 27 September 1957) is a Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer. He is recognised for his novel Trainspotting, which was later made into a film of the same name. His work is characterised by a raw Scots dialect and brutal depiction of Edinburgh life. He has also written plays and screenplays, and directed several short films. Biography Irvine Welsh was born in Leith, the port area of the Scottish capital Edinburgh. His birth record states that he was born in 1957, though it has been widely reported that it is actually 1951. When he was four, his family moved to Muirhouse, in Edinburgh, where they stayed in local housing schemes. His mother worked as a waitress. His father was a dock worker in Leith until bad health forced him to quit, after which he became a carpet salesman; he died when Welsh was 25. Welsh left Ainslie Park High School when he was 16 and then completed a City and Guilds course in electrical engineering. He became an apprentice TV repairman until an electric shock persuaded him to move on to a series of other jobs. He left Edinburgh for the London punk scene in 1978, where he played guitar and sang in The Pubic Lice and Stairway 13, the latter a reference to the Ibrox disaster. A series of arrests for petty crimes and finally a suspended sentence for trashing a North London community centre inspired Welsh to correct his ways. He worked for Hackney London Borough Council in London and studied computing with the support of the Manpower Services Commission. Welsh returned to Edinburgh in the late 1980s, where he worked for the city council in the housing department. He then studied for an MBA at Heriot Watt University. Welsh has made several reading tours around the world and has been involved with house music as a DJ, promoter and producer. Welsh has been an official ambassador of the Homeless World Cup movement since 2014. In an interview with The Daily Mail on 7 August 2006, he described himself as "not so much middle-class as upper-class. I'm very much a gentleman of leisure. I write. I sit and look out of my window into the garden. I enjoy books. I love the density and complexity of Jane Austen and George Eliot. I listen to music; I travel. I can go off to a film festival whenever I like." He also describes himself as monogamous: "it sounds boring but it's the way I am". He has lived in Chicago with his wife, Elizabeth, since 2009. Previously he lived in Dublin, Ireland, and regularly attended Bohemian Football Club games. Fiction To date, Welsh has published eleven novels and four collections of short stories. His first novel, Trainspotting, was published in 1993. Set in the mid-1980s, it uses a series of loosely connected short stories to tell the story of a group of characters tied together by decaying friendships, heroin addiction and stabs at escape from the oppressive boredom and brutality of their lives in the housing schemes. It was released to shock and outrage in some circles and great acclaim in others; Time Out called it "funny, unflinchingly abrasive, authentic and inventive", and The Sunday Times called Welsh "the best thing that has happened to British writing for decades". It was adapted as a play, and a film adaptation, directed by Danny Boyle and written by John Hodge, was released in 1996. Welsh appeared in the film as Mikey Forrester, a minor character. The film was a worldwide success. U.S. Senator Bob Dole decried its supposed moral depravity and glorification of drug use during the 1996 presidential campaign, although he admitted that he had not seen the film. The novel has since achieved a cult status, aided by the global success of the film. Film and stage As well as fiction, Irvine Welsh has written several stage plays, including Headstate, You'll Have Had Your Hole, and the musical Blackpool, which featured original songs by Vic Godard of the Subway Sect. More recently he co-authored Babylon Heights with his screen writing partner Dean Cavanagh. The play premiered in San Francisco at the Exit Theatre and made its European première in Dublin, at The Mill Theatre Dundrum, directed by Graham Cantwell. The plot revolves around the behind-the-scenes antics of a group of Munchkins on the set of The Wizard of Oz. The production included the use of oversized sets with actors of regular stature. Cavanagh and Welsh have also collaborated on screenplays. The Meat Trade is based on the 19th century West Port murders. Despite the historical source material, Welsh has set the story in the familiar confines of present-day Edinburgh, with Burke and Hare depicted as brothers who steal human organs to meet the demands of the global transplant market. Wedding Belles, a film made for Channel 4 that was written by Welsh and Cavanagh, aired at the end of March 2007. The film centres around the lives of four young women, who are played by Michelle Gomez, Shirley Henderson, Shauna MacDonald, and Kathleen McDermot. Wedding Belles was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA and was subsequently sold to TV channels in Canada and Europe. Welsh has directed several short films for bands. In 2001 he directed a 15-minute film for Gene's song "Is It Over" which is taken from the album Libertine. In 2006 he directed a short film to accompany the track "Atlantic" from Keane's album Under the Iron Sea. Welsh directed his first short dramatic film, NUTS, which he co-wrote with Cavanagh. The film features Joe McKinney as a man dealing with testicular cancer in post Celtic tiger Ireland. It was released in 2007. Welsh co-directed "The Right to liberty", a chapter of the documentary film The New Ten Commandments, in 2008. In 2009 Welsh directed the film Good Arrows (co-directed by Helen Grace). It was written by Welsh and Cavanagh. The film is about a darts player who suffers from depression which causes him to lose his skill. Style 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. Welsh is 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.

Wikipedia ]

Born
September 27, 1957 (age 66)

Filmography

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