William McIlvanney

Literary Birthday – 25 November – William McIlvanney

William McIlvanney was born 25 November 1936 and died 5 December 2015.

Nine Quotes

  1. Writing is a way of sharing our humanity.
  2. Laidlaw allowed me to say something to a wider audience. He has an abrasive voice but he is dealing with hard things. You are saying things about real people in a real city. If it has a philosophy, it is about surviving with dignity and decency in the main.
  3. Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It’s what we have because we can’t have justice.
  4. I don’t like describing things in vague ways, I like to concretise them. The main dynamic of my writing is imagery.
  5. In Scotland there survives some amount of mutual concern which I think is the key to a healthy society. There is also a refusal to be dazzled by money and status.
  6. You’re not defined by your job, you redefine your job by your humanity in the way you handle it.
  7. I enjoy writing. Sometimes. Sometimes it feels like rubbing your head against a roughcast wall until the blood comes. I suppose writing was a clumsy desire to take hold of my experience some way. I was lucky. I was the youngest of a family where books were read and argued about endlessly.
  8. Good lies need a leavening of truth to make them palatable.
  9. Don’t lose the personal mania that makes you write. It’s great to be helped by others, but finally you have to help yourself.

William McIlvanney was a Scottish author. He wrote gritty novels such as LaidlawThe Papers of Tony Veitch, and Walking Wounded, which are all known for their portrayal of Glasgow in the 1970s. He was known as the father of ‘Tartan Noir’.

Source for Image


nonsenseferret, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th November 2014