William McIlvanney returns triumphant to the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival

This article is from 2013

William McIlvanney

The tartan noir godfather is branching out into technology

William McIlvanney returns triumphant to this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. At the 2011 festival, they asked why his books were out of print. Two years on, Canongate’s edition of the Laidlaw trilogy is available to a new generation of readers.

McIlvanney changed the Scottish literary landscape forever in 1977 when Detective Inspector Jack Laidlaw trailed a killer through the Glasgow streets, doling out his distinctly Scottish kind of justice. It’s not just about looking back, about revisiting the past, however. Speaking before his event, McIlvanney revealed a further exciting chapter in his distinguished writing career: ‘Personaldispatches.com is a website (established for me by my nephew, Neil McIlvanney)’, he explained, ‘a haphazard autobiography of thought and feeling about matters both personal and public.’ There is no definite plan to the daily posts, articles and essays. ‘I think that out of this material may come a strange kind of book,’ he said. The website is a delight; it’s also an important archive of rich material. William McIlvanney has stepped out of the past and into the digital era.

Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 3735888, 16 Aug, 3pm, £10 (£8).

William McIlvanney

Two years ago, fans flocking to see William McIlvanney at the Book Festival shared his exasperation that his seminal crime novels were out of print. Attending that event was Francis Bickmore, editorial director of Canongate, who immediately took action. Thanks to Bickmore we can proudly welcome McIlvanney back today to…