(British, 1958– )
Raised in Edinburgh, Welsh left school at 16 to become a television repairman and then a housing officer, moving eventually to Amsterdam. Himself a former user, he authentically depicted heroin abuse in Trainspotting (1993), which explores the experiences, both blissful and devastating, of a group of unemployed Edinburgh youths as they veer in and out of addiction. Packed with rich Scottish argot, the fragmented narrative portrays a lifestyle sometimes shocking, sometimes genuinely funny, which involves them in everything from opium suppositories to cot deaths and HIV infection. Rooted in the blasted council estates of Edinburgh and Leith, the book gave a voice to an entire Scottish underclass, and through highly successful stage and film adaptations became a cultural touchstone for a generation.
Welsh's second full-length novel, Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995), is a tour round the skull of Roy Strang: comatose in hospital, still able to sample the outside world but rejecting it. We follow Roy as he examines his violent childhood, his family's brief emigration to South Africa, his forays into football hooliganism and office life, and the circumstances leading up to his retreat into a hospital bed. These instalments are broken up by his quest for the Marabou Storks, a twisted safari of the imagination.
James Kelman, William Burroughs, Alex Garland, Roddy Doyle. See TEEN RP