Glasgow über Alles

Julian Loose

  • Swing Hammer Swing! by Jeff Torrington
    Secker, 416 pp, £8.99, August 1992, ISBN 0 436 53120 8
  • Looking for the Possible Dance by A.L. Kennedy
    Secker, 254 pp, £7.99, February 1993, ISBN 0 436 23321 5
  • The Lights Below by Carl MacDougall
    Secker, 254 pp, £7.99, February 1993, ISBN 0 436 27079 X

‘Something really weird was happening in the Gorbals.’ The opening sentence of Swing Hammer Swing!, Jeff Torrington’s great, boisterous first novel, might serve as a headline announcing his Whitbread Book of the Year Award (‘Literary Outsider wins Whitbread’, ‘Triumph of Thirty-Year Novel’, ‘Jeff’s in the Swing’), or herald more widely Glasgow’s extraordinary swell of literary talent. It seems that in the West of Scotland the sounds of heavy industry have given way to a quite different rhythm, one hammered out on word-processors and tested in literary workshops. With the initial support of small publishers such as Polygon and Canongate, writers like Alasdair Gray, Agnes Owens, Thomas Healy, Tom Leonard, James Kelman and Janice Galloway have found the city a congenial location for their life and work, and their success is encouraging others.

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