Jack Proctor, a celebrated older writer and curmudgeon, goes off to residency where he is to be an honored part of teaching and giving public readings, he soon finds the atmosphere of the literary world has changed since his last foray into the public sphere. Unknown to most, unable to work on his own writing, surrounded by a host of odd characters, would-be writers, antagonists, handlers, and members of the elite House of Art and Aesthetics, Proctor finds himself driven to distraction (literally in a very very tiny car). This is a story of a man attempting not to go mad when forced to stop his own writing in order to coach others to write. Proctor's tour of rural places, pubs, theaters, fancy parties, where he is to be headlining as a Banker-Prize-Winning-Author reads like a literary version of Spinal Tap. Uproariously funny, brilliantly philosophical, gorgeously written this is James Kelman at his best.
“The real reason Kelman, despite his stature and reputation, remains something of a literary outsider is not, I suspect, so much that great, radical Modernist writers aren’t supposed to come from working-class Glasgow, as that great, radical Modernist writers are supposed to be dead. Dead, and wrapped up in a Penguin Classic: that’s when it’s safe to regret that their work was underappreciated or misunderstood (or how little they were paid) in their lifetimes. You can write what you like about Beckett or Kafka and know they’re not going to come round and tell you you’re talking nonsense, or confound your expectations with a new work. Kelman is still alive, still writing great books, climbing.” — James Meek, London Review of Books
“What an enviably, devilishly wonderful writer is James Kelman.” John Hawkes, author of The Blood Oranges
About the Author:
James Kelman was born in Glasgow, June 1946, and left school in 1961. He traveled and worked various jobs, and while living in London began to write. In 1994 he won the Booker Prize for How Late It Was, How Late. His novel A Disaffection was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1989. In 1998 Kelman was awarded the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award. His 2008 novel Kieron Smith, Boy won the Saltire Society’s Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year. He lives in Glasgow with his wife Marie, who has supported his work since 1969.