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James Kelman

(b. 1946)


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(1946– ),

Scottish novelist, short‐story writer, and dramatist, born in Glasgow. He left school at the age of 15, and after a brief period living in America, he returned to Scotland and a succession of temporary jobs. For a time he studied philosophy at the University of Strathclyde. In his collection of stories, Not Not While the Giro (1983), he depicts urban Scottish working‐class life with terse touches of humour, using the authentic language of the streets. This uncompromising demotic style was further developed in his first novel, The Busconductor Hines (1984), A Chancer (1985), Greyhound for Breakfast (1987, stories), A Disaffection (1989), and The Burn (1991, stories). His fourth novel, How Late It Was, How Late (1994, Booker Prize), is the story of an unemployed Glaswegian construction worker and petty crook who, after a two‐day drinking bout, finds himself blind and in police custody. Later publications include The Good Times (1998), a collection of twenty first‐person narratives; and the novels Translated Accounts (2001) and You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free (2004).

Subjects: Literature.


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