Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh

Welsh's fiction is said to draw heavily on his own background; he was born and raised in Edinburgh, the son of a waitress and a dock worker, and left school to study electrical engineering. He then moved to London, sang in a punk band, and fell into a life of petty crime and heroin addiction. After some run-ins with the police, Welsh cleaned up his act and returned to Scotland. At any rate, this is the official biography version; other incarnations of his life story place his birth in 1951, not 1958, and posit a gentler, more middle class existence for the writer - a Guardian, article once described his early life as "a series of elusive, unsubstantiated rumors" (February 4, 1996). All agree on his return to Edinburgh where he worked for the city council and went to school to work on an MBA. He also married his first wife, Anne Ansty. With the publication of his first novel, Trainspotting, Welsh appeared to burst out of nowhere onto the literary scene although portions of the book had been published in literary magazines. Trainspotting was a harrowing look at the lives of heroin addicts in Edinburgh. The book was then adapted for a successful stage play, and three years after its publication, the film of the same name was released. Under the direction of Danny Boyle, the kinetic, intense portrayal of heroin addicts in Scotland launched the career of actors Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle and generated controversy for its purported glamorization of drug addiction. Welsh produced several works of fiction in short order following his debut, publishing short story collections The Acid House and Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance(1996) as well as the novel Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995). He also turned his hand to playwriting for the first time, penning "You'll Have Had your Hole," which was not as well-reviewed as the stage production of "Trainspotting," and adapting The Acid House for film. Welsh himself played small parts in the first two films based on his work. Switching between film and television writing, playwriting, and novels and short fiction, Welsh continued to produce steadily, releasing novels including Filth (1998), Glue (2001) and Porno (2002). Welsh also began writing for television starting with the TV movie "Dockers" (Channel 4, 1999), a drama dealing with striking Liverpool dock workers. In fact, Welsh and his co-writer Jimmy McGovern supervised a team of writers made up of dock workers themselves. Fiercely protective of his private life - he didn't acknowledge being married until he and Anne Ansty split up after 19 years together - Welsh keeps the focus on his work and keeps would-be biographers guessing. He moved to the United States where he met and married his second wife, the Chicago native Beth Quinn, and he began writing feature films. He wrote and directed the comedy "Good Arrows" (2009) about a darts player as well as writing the comedy "The Magnificent Eleven" (2013). In 2012, Welsh published Skagboys, a prequel to Trainspotting.