One aspect of our annual Book Festival that makes it special, amongst other things, is the authors that are brought over. Over the previous years, Naomi Klein , Dave Rudden, Kali Wallace and Salman Rushdie have all taken part and this year’s guest is another big name, Scottish author Irvine Welsh.
I stumbled upon Irvine Welsh’s works back in 1995 when I kept seeing the Trainspotting cover in a local bookstore, after picking it up, read the first page as I couldn’t understand the dialect, I put it down. The thing is, I kept picking it up, reading that first page and putting it down until in 1997, I finally bought the book. As they say I was hooked and I’ve been a fan since.
There are many things which draw me into his work. One of the main things is that he does not have any boundaries in his work. Any taboo known to humankind and it will be in his novels. However his books are not solely for shock value and there are deeper meanings. Trainspotting is about the struggles of being a drug addict, 1995’s Marabou Stork Nightmares tackles rape culture 2001’s Glue is about the strength of friendship, 2014 The Sex Lives of the Siamese Twins focuses on extreme diets. This is just a small sampling of the many layers one finds in Welsh’s novel. Secondly, despite the tragedy that dominates the pages, Irvine Welsh is a VERY funny author. His characters have a knack of observing mundanities and then exaggerating them or giving the person a nickname. Sometimes the rudeness can get a laugh (The Bunty scene in 1998’s Filth ).
Last of all I just like Welsh’s use of Scottish dialect, although ever since 2006, bar a couple of exceptions, it’s not as used as heavily. At first it can be a bit disconcerting but after a bit, there is a certain type of musicality to the words and a rhythm starts to emerge.
During The Book Festival, there will be two events featuring Irvine Welsh: One will be an in depth interview with author/playwright/journalist and Irvine Welsh fan, Wayne Flask and the other event will be a conversation with author Immanuel Mifsud about Welsh’s influence on Maltese literature, which will be moderated by Mark Vella, who helmed Minima press in the early 00’s, which unleashed more subversive works on the island.
The full programme of events for the 2021 Malta Book Festival (3-7 November) will be published in the coming weeks. For the latest updates, please follow the NBC website, and the NBC Facebook page and Malta Book Festival 2021 Facebook event page.