James Kelman - Author

About the Author

James Kelman was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 with A Disaffection, which also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He went on to win the Booker Prize five years later with How Late it Was, How Late, before being shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and 2011.

Featured books by James Kelman

Dirt Road

Dirt Road

Author: James Kelman Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2016

'The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America.' Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.

Other books by James Kelman

That Was a Shiver, and Other Stories

That Was a Shiver, and Other Stories

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/07/2018

SHORTLISTED FOR SALTIRE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2017 LONGLISTED FOR THE EDGE HILL PRIZE, 2018 A local tries to sell his sister to a trucker as he passes through town; a couple put their children to bed and hear a loud scratching at the wall; a man looks into a mirror and reflects on becoming more like his father. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday, and are a reminder of Kelman's exceptional talent.

Dirt Road

Dirt Road

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/08/2017

Shortlisted for Saltire Fiction Book of the Year 2016 'A celebration of what it is to be human' Spectator Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond home. His recently widowed dad, Tom, stumbles towards the future, terrified of losing what remains of his family. Both are in search of something as they set out from rural Scotland on a journey to the American South.

That Was a Shiver, and Other Stories

That Was a Shiver, and Other Stories

Author: James Kelman Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/08/2017

SHORTLISTED FOR SALTIRE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2017 LONGLISTED FOR THE EDGE HILL PRIZE, 2018 A trucker passes through a town he used to know and a local tries to sell him his sister; a couple put their children to bed and hear a loud scratching at the wall; a Principal and his associate examine the dead body before them; a man looks into a mirror and reflects on becoming more like his father. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday, and are a reminder of Kelman's exceptional talent.

Dirt Road

Dirt Road

Author: James Kelman Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2016

'The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America.' Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.

A Lean Third

A Lean Third

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2015

If it is Your Life

If it is Your Life

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2011

Giving voice to the dispossessed and crafting stories of lives on the edge, lives almost lost, lives held in the balance, James Kelman writes about the things that touch us all. With honesty, toughness and humour, he confronts the issues of language, class, politics, gender and age - identity in all its forms - with a sympathetic pen and a sharp and observant eye. No other British writer today penetrates so deeply into the hearts, minds and desperation of his characters, and this collection is as uncompromising, and as beautiful, as anything he has ever written.

How Late It Was How Late

How Late It Was How Late

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2009

Sammy's had a bad week - his wallet's gone, along with his new shoes, he's been arrested then beaten up by the police and thrown out on the street - and he's just gone blind. He remembers a row with his girlfriend, but she seems to have disappeared. Things aren't looking too good for Sammy and his problems have hardly begun.

The Burn

The Burn

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2009

Passionate, exhilarating and darkly humorous, The Burn is an extraordinary collection of short stories by a master of paranoia and an unsurpassed prose stylist.

Translated Accounts

Translated Accounts

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2009

Set in an unnamed place that appears to be under military rule, this novel comprises of various 'transcribed and/or translated' first-hand narratives of non-English speakers, reminiscent of accounts of incidents in Rwanda, Yugoslavia and even the Cultural Revolution in China. The fragmented, dream like episodes and the broken elegance of the language make Translated Accounts a powerful and disconcerting read.

And the Judges Said... Essays

And the Judges Said... Essays

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2008

In this remarkable collection of essays, James Kelman deals with a wide range of issues literary, artistic, political and philosophical - Russian writers who influenced him, the lives of the Impressionists, Chomsky's key role in 20th-century thinking, the Caribbean Artists' Movement, and the struggling Scottish steel industry.

A Chancer

A Chancer

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2007

Tammas is 20, a loner and a compulsive gambler. Unable to hold a job for long, his life revolves around Glasgow bars, home with his sister and brother-in-law, the dog track, betting shops, casinos and occasionally a day at the races. Sometimes Tammas wins, more often he loses, but betting gives him as good a chance as any of discovering what he really seeks from life since society offers him no prospect of a better or more fulfilling alternative. First published by Polygon in 1985.

Not Not While the Giro

Not Not While the Giro

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2007

Not Not While The Giro is James Kelman's first major collection of short stories - originally published by Polygon in 1983. The reader follows the lives of young men, social misfits, whose lives are spent waiting - waiting for their next giro or menial job - in the pub, the dole office, the snooker table and the greyhound track. This collection, written with irony and great tenderness, confirmed James Kelman's status as one of the most significant writers in the UK, and remains as powerful, relevant and truthful as it was in the early 1980s.

An Old Pub Near the Angel

An Old Pub Near the Angel

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2007

This is James Kelman's first collection of short stories - as fresh and sharp as when they first appeared from US publisher Puckerbrush Press . Set among the tenements and bedsits of Glasgow, they shine a light on the exploits of young and old. James Kelman had been writing since about 1967 and by 1971 had enough stories for a book. In 1973, An Old Pub Near The Angel was published and the rest is history. The US edition has never been out of print.

How Late It Was, How Late A Novel

How Late It Was, How Late A Novel

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/10/2005

One Sunday morning in Glasgow, shoplifting ex-con Sammy awakens in an alley, wearing another man's shoes and trying to remember his two-day drinking binge. He gets in a scrap with some soldiers and revives in a jail cell, badly beaten and, he slowly discovers, completely blind. And things get worse: his girlfriend disappears, the police question him for a crime they won't name, and his stab at disability compensation embroils him in the Kafkaesque red tape of the welfare bureaucracy. Told in the utterly uncensored language of the Scottish working class, this is a dark and subtly political parable of struggle and survival, rich with irony and black humor.

You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free

You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2005

Jeremiah Brown is a man of extremes. So when he nips out for a quick drink on the eve of returning to his native Scotland after twelve years in America, anything could happen. Anything at all. Just one quick drink to help him sleep but there's something about this town and this bar that reminds him of his ex. Soon the memories are flooding in and as the night goes on and the decision to stop smoking looks increasingly ill-timed for a card-carrying alien of questionable politics, Jeremiah getting on that flight tomorrow starts to seem far from certain. Is there any such thing as a certainty? Not tonight. Tonight the only thing certain is that you have to be very careful in the land of the free.

A Disaffection

A Disaffection

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/10/1999

Patrick Doyle is a twenty-nine-year-old teacher in an ordinary comprehensive school. Isolated, frustrated and increasingly bitter at the system he is employed to maintain, he begins his rebellion, fuelled by drink and his passionate, unrequited love for a fellow teacher.

How Late It Was How Late

How Late It Was How Late

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/1995

Sammy's had a bad week - his wallet's gone, along with his new shoes, he's been arrested then beaten up by the police and thrown out on the street - and he's just gone blind. He remembers a row with his girlfriend, but she seems to have disappeared. Things aren't looking too good for Sammy and his problems have hardly begun.

Hardie and Baird/Plays

Hardie and Baird/Plays

Author: James Kelman Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/1991

A first collection of plays by James Kelman, whose novel A Disaffection won the 1989 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The plays provide evidence of Kelman's linguistic craftsmanship, ironic humour and ear for dialogue.

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