James Kelman

My own background is as normal or abnormal as anyone else’s. Born and bred in Govan and Drumchapel, inner city tenement to the housing scheme homeland on the outer reaches of the city. Four brothers, my mother a full time parent, my father in the picture frame making and gilding trade, trying to operate a one man business and I left school at 15 etc. etc. (…) For one reason or another, by the age of 21/22 I decided to write stories. The stories I wanted to write would derive from my own background, my own socio-cultural experience. I wanted to write as one of my own people, I wanted to write and remain a member of my own community.

Books in order of publication:


What I Do (2020)

Short stories

An Old Pub Near The Angel (1973)

Three Glasgow Writers (1976, with Alex Hamilton and Tom Leonard)

Short Tales from the Night Shift (1978)

Not Not While The Giro (1983)

Lean Tales (1985, with Alasdair Gray and Agnes Owens)

Greyhound for Breakfast (1987) (winner of the Cheltenham Prize for Literature)

The Burn (1991)

Seven Stories (CD audio recording read by Kelman, AK Press, 1996)

The Good Times (1998)

Where I Was (selection of stories from Lean Tales; Penguin, 2005).

If It Is Your Life (2010)

A Lean Third (2014)

That Was a Shiver (2017)

Tales of Here & Then (2020)


The Busconductor Hines (1984)

A Chancer (1985)

A Disaffection (1989)

How Late It Was, How Late (1994) (winner of the Booker Prize)

Translated Accounts (2001)

You Have to Be Careful in the Land of the Free (2004)

Kieron Smith, Boy (2008)

Mo Said She Was Quirky (2012)

Dirt Road (2016)

God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena (PM Press, 2022)

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