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Irvine Welsh Biography

(1958– ), Trainspotting, The Acid House, Marabou Stork Nightmares, Ecstasy

Scottish novelist, born in Edinburgh where he was brought up on a housing estate in Muirhead. He left school at sixteen, lived in London in the 1980s, then became a training officer in Edinburgh Council's housing department, gaining an MBA at Heriot Watt University. His first novel, Trainspotting (1993; filmed with screenplay by John Hodge, 1996), swiftly became a cult for its uncompromising portrayal of Edinburgh's underclass. Written in the vernacular of Scotland's East Coast, Welsh's raw depiction of the wrecked lives of a group of young drug addicts is relieved by humour and ironic insights into the drug-user's self-obsessed world. The stories of The Acid House (1994) deal with violence, sexual perversion, and drug addiction, themes which also feature in the novel Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995), narrated by a semi-conscious football casual, Roy Strang, whose hallucinations shift between bitter reality, rave culture, and ornithological adventure in Africa. In Ecstasy (1996; three novellas), grotesque events are described in characteristic laconic vein.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Robert Penn Warren Biography to Kenneth White Biography