James Kelman in New York

One of the writers who most consistently amazes us, James Kelman, is arriving in New York next week and will be reading with Little Star at our beloved St. Mark’s Bookshop on Wednesday, May 1. Please join us! Take the opportunity not only to hear Kelman’s extraordinary prose in its native Glaswegian, but to buy a book or two and support a beloved NYC institution.

Please tell facebook you’re coming! (We sheepishly admit that he is making a couple of other appearances in New York in the coming weeks. You should come to ours! But if you can’t make it on Wednesday, have a look at the PEN World Voices Festival schedule.)


Kelman’s new book, Mo Said She Was Quirky, published by the always original Other Press, takes us into a day in the mind of a Glaswegian woman night-shift croupier. As she ponders the possible reappearance of her vagrant brother, the demands of caring for her small child, and the daily consequences of being in an interracial relationship in contemporary London, Kelman passes her thoughts through the darkening glass of her inverted day and her always-looming exhaustion. Her creation is at once a work of acute social criticism, sympathatic imagination, and writerly craft: a contemporary Molly Bloom who has to do the ironing and face down the PTA, and sees the men around her with a jaded eye.

James Kelman is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and essays. His fiction has been admired and derided for its faithful rendering of the robust colloquial Scottish of his working class upbringing. His novel A Disaffection was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1989. Kelman’s receipt the 1994 Booker Prize with How Late It Was, How Late aroused controversy over the candor of its language. In 1998 Kelman was awarded the Scotland on Sunday/Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award. In 2008 he won Scotland’s most prestigious literary award the Saltire Society’s Book of the Year award for Kieron Smith, Boy (2008). He has been active in defending Scottish autonomy and championing the rights of the dispossessed in Scotland and around the world.

His story “this has no title,” appeared in Little Star #3 (2012) and is being reprised this week in our mobile mini-magazine, Little Star Weekly #10. A section from Mo Said She Was Quirky appeared in the very first issue of Little Star Weekly.


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