| A haphazard record of experience, feeling and thought . . .
| Chapter One Posted 14th February 2014
Three things happened more or less at once. Cameron felt the pain in his stomach again, the car developed a strange, unidentified sound, and a passing billboard threw a jigsaw of words at him: nigh, end, is, —. The billboards sprouted along this stretch of moor road like poplars. Man-made, wisdom-bearing trees. 'The End is Nigh.' That was it. For him, for the car, for both?
The pain was beginning to enjoy itself, working out minor variations in his stomach. It seemed to start on a single pulse that multiplied itself to several, the small twinges keeping subtle time with the larger. Somehow the quiet agony that was going on inside him attached itself to the day outside so that the very sky was like an expression of pain with the last of the sunlight making the ribbed undersides of the clouds look like raw abrasions. He had the weird experience of feeling as if he was in the middle of his own pain, driving through it like a local shower, and wishing he would come to the end of it. He wondered if it was serious.
What if he was dying? He played academically with the thought, trying to outwit the pain. It was some place to die. The moor lay humped on either side of the road, stretching to miles of desolation. Towards the horizon where the air was already luminous with dusk, a row of pylons was charcoaled against the sky. Nearer the road, the heath undulated in a frozen Sargasso of grass, gorse and bracken. Winter hadn't helped. It had expurgated summer's few qualifications of flower and colour, until the moor had been restored to its fundamental statement of barren earth and bleak sky. No irrelevance was allowed to intrude for long here where growth and desolation were locked in a private Armageddon.
(To read on click here.)
| Chapter One Posted 9th January 2014
`OF COURSE, GENTLEMEN, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE play you will remember (those of us who have read the text) that Romeo is in love not with Juliet, but with someone called Rosaline. In fact, it might be truer to say that at this point his love is not so much directed at any specific person as at woman in general. The American writer William Saroyan has a short story entitled Seventeen which effectively conveys the state of mind we may assume him to be in. I think we all know it. Do not all young men fall in love first with a chimera . . .?'
`I am a chimera,' Andy said, raising his hands like claws, putting on his monster's face. 'I was a teenage chimera.'
`I'm in love with a darling young chimera,' Jim sang quietly.
`It is only later that this idealized woman transmigrates to the body of a living person — and the trouble starts. At this point in the male's life there enters the unknown Max Factor.'
Dutiful laughter was struck up in the lecture-room, disconcerted by a jeering bassoon from the back, closely followed by an operatic facsimile of agonized death.
`Hey, Charlie,' Andy said, nudging him. 'Waken up. Ye're missing all the riotous fun. We've just had a joke.'
(To read on click here.)
This website features writing by award-winning author and journalist William McIlvanney. One or two new Dispatches will be posted regularly and will be archived on this site. A lot of the writing featured here is new and unpublished, although extracts from Willie's existing body of work - journalism, essays and short stories - will also be included. All writing -
Feedback Added 1.1.2014
Gallery Updated 1.1.2014
To read Doug Johnstone on William McIlvanney click here.
Willie and his website are featured on page 3 of S on S. Click here.
To read Susan Mansfield's article on William McIlvanney click here.
To read Allan Massie on William McIlvanney click here.
To read Hugh Macdonald on William McIlvanney click here.
At the Haye Festival on Sunday June 2nd 2013, Irvine Welsh interviewed William McIlvanney. Check it out here. After one particularly dark question about the socio-economic conditions in eighties Scotland, Irvine lifted the mood with: "Anybody got a question about puppies, bunnies & kittens?" Love it! And what an infectious laugh!
|| The Laidlaw Trilogy
When they were first published, they won Silver Dagger awards and were nominated for Edgars. With Canongate Publishing due to re-launch the Laidlaw novels, starting in May 2013, We feature extracts from the novels, selected and introduced by Willie, as well as a few interesting extras.
"Any attempt to understand such a life can’t seek to be definitive. What it can possibly do is like archaeology , sink some speculative shafts into those times and, from what it finds, elicit some impression of the nature of the person, arrive perhaps at the salient features of the life...".
"I'm on a late-night train leaving Central Station. I have the compartment to myself until the train begins to pull out. I can hear the scuffling sounds in the corridor outside that announce the man with drink taken who has just made it. Experience tells me he will soon be my travelling companion. He soon is....".
"At one stage, being even shorter of money than usual, I agreed to do a TV column for the Glasgow Herald. I enjoyed it but, finding I did virtually no other writing during that time, I soon gave it up. A few samples may give a flavour of that phase, round about 1979 - 1980, I think."
|What other people say about William McIlvanney
While putting this site together for Willie, I decided to add some quotes of what people have said about him and his work over the years. Being a modest elder statesman, Willie was less than enthusiastic about the idea. However, despite Willie's objections, I have gone ahead and included the quotes anyway.
‘This is a man temperamentally incapable of writing bad prose’ – Jan Bell
‘Illuminating and thought-provoking’ – Irvine Welsh
‘Delightfully funny’ - Sunday Telegraph
‘On almost every page it offers matter for reflection’ – Scotsman
‘A natural of the transfixing phrase’ – Sunday Times
‘Fiercely evocative and witty with it’ – Literary Review
‘Inspiring and harshly funny’ – David Hughes
‘Brilliant’ – Ken Dunion
‘McIlvanney writes with appealing grace and thoughtfulness’ – Daily Telegraph
‘Telling observation and clear, perceptive writing’ – Spectator
‘Maturely reflective and insightful’ – Rosemary Goring
‘Hilarious, moving and incredibly articulate’ – Irish Times
‘Beguilingly brilliant’ Sunday Times
| 2013 - A Busy Year
William McIlvanney's 2013 calendar:
20th April 2013 – Glasgow
Aye Write 19.30 - 20.30
2nd May Waterstones West End, Edinburgh event
16th May Waterstones Argyle Street, Glasgow event
31st May – Bristol
Crime Fest 14.50 - 15.40 Panel Event: The Underbelly of Crime Fiction with Michael Stanley, Antonin Varenne and Tim Weaver. Moderator:Craig Robertson.
1st June Bristol Crime Fest 12.30 - 13.20 Main event: William McIlvanney and Denise Mina
Interviewer Jake Kerridge
2nd June – Hay-on-Wye Event
Chair: Irvine Welsh
20th July – Harrogate, Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, chaired by Ian Rankin 9.00 - 10.00am
16th August –
Edinburgh International Book Festival
13th to 15th September – Stirling, Bloody Scotland
| e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org