A fresh new literary voice
This article is from 2007.
A piece of advice often doled out to people with creative aspirations is ‘don’t give up the day job’. Having previously worked in a factory and endured spells as a builder’s labourer and window cleaner, it took a spell on the dole for Glaswegian Mark McNay to realise that what he really wanted to do was write fiction. He was accepted onto the renowned creative writing course at the University of East Anglia on the basis of a handful of short stories, and having graduated with distinction, his novel-in-progress caught the eye of an agent and won him a UK Arts Foundation Prize before it had even found its way to the top of the slush pile of eventual publisher, Canongate.
Fresh is the tale of Sean, a downtrodden worker in a chicken packing factory in Glasgow, who is jolted from his reverie when he learns that his psychotic elder brother Archie has been released from prison and is on his way to reclaim the grand Sean borrowed from him. The fast-paced, verbally inventive novel won widespread critical acclaim and marked the author out as a distinctive new voice. Having finally settled into writing full-time, McNay is now working on his second novel, whose protagonist suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder. (Allan Radcliffe)
Recommended Reading: Fresh was described by Niall Griffiths as ‘funny, gripping and tragic’
15 Aug (with Angus Dunn), 6pm, £5 (£3).