| A haphazard record of experience, feeling and thought . . .
|The Sunday Mail Posted 27th July 2014
| The Jury Room (Week 11) Posted 27th July 2014
A corner of the pull-out table or... From The Herald : Sat 23-May-1998
A Little Room of One's Own
It is seminar night in The Jury Room. It is probably always seminar night in The Jury Room but this night the seminar is taking a more official form. It is the turn of O.U.Wilson's wife, Samantha Very Sapiens, to choose the bar where she and her Open University friends will have their meeting. She has chosen as usual the snug of the hotel.
These nights always come in two parts. After a concentrated, academic session in the snug, they spill out into The Jury Room for a more relaxed, free-association discussion. But it is never all that relaxed, not unless you regard Wittgenstein, Roland Barthes and Nietzsche as fun company. (To read on click here.)
The pub was quiet. When the big man with the ill-fitting suit came in, the barman noticed him more than he normally would have done. The suit was slightly out of fashion yet looked quite new and it was too big for him. He could have come back to it after a long illness. Yet it wasn't that either. Whatever had happened to him had tightened him but not diminished him. The charcoal grey cloth sat on him loosely but that looked like the suit's problem. You wouldn't have fancied whoever the suit might fit to come against the man who wore it.
He came up to the bar and seemed uncertain about what to order. He looked along the gantry with a bemused innocence, like a small boy in a sweet-shop.
`Sir?' the barman said.
The big man sighed and shook his head and took his time. His face looked as if it had just come off a whetstone. The cheek-bones were sharp, the mouth was taut. The eyes were preoccupied with their own thoughts. His pallor suggested a plant kept out of the light. Prison, the barman thought. (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 A lot of the writing featured here is new and unpublished, although extracts from Willie's existing body of work - journalism, essays and short stories - will also be included.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 -
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!
| As Bloody Scotland 2014 approaches we look back on last year's event
|| Report on Willie at Bloody Scotland 2013
Len Wanner’s introduction to the man himself was fulsome and considered. Comments such as … created an archetype with an all access pass … seen as the source for tartan noir …the genre debt to him is remarkable.
When Len paused for a response, Willie joked he should now leave, that anything else would be an anti-climax.
Len’s first question, almost inevitably – because it’s what I wanted to know, was why did he turn to crime?
After writing his critically acclaimed novel, Docherty, Willie felt what he described as contemporary starvation. He want to connect with his peers and on further deliberation he said he heard a voice. This voice in his head was abrasive … it was clearly Scottish and he deliberately made him a policeman because he wanted him to deal with the bad stuff in society.
He went on to say that he was more than pleasantly surprised with the impact.
He argued that he shouldn’t take sole credit for beginning a genre. What he experienced was a hunger for contemporary life and Laidlaw gave him a vehicle for re-connecting.
To read more of Michael Malone's report click here.
|| 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 was a busy year:
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
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