Gray, Welsh, and Kelman – Scots of The Times
The other week The Times came up with a list of the best 60 books of the past 60 years. As is usual with this sort of listing there are one or two titles we might not all agree on, but at least, as the Book Festival starts in Edinburgh, we can celebrate that three living Scottish writers are right up there with Allende, Murakami, Bellow, Tartt and co. Alasdair Gray takes the 1981 honours with, naturally, Lanark, while 1993 and 1994 name Irvine Welsh for Trainspotting and James Kelman for How late it was was, how late respectively. How long can it be, how long, since those famous books appeared ? Dame Muriel Spark’s output has clearly been too subtle to catch the eye of The Times writers, but perhaps we might also claim long-term Edinburgh resident J.K. Rowling for our own – she gets the 1997 place for her debut novel, a little something apparently about a school boy and a pebble.