by Len Wanner

In this 8,000-word interview, Len Wanner talks to the godfather of Scottish crime fiction and author of the Laidlaw trilogy.

William McIlvanney on:

  • Writing – “The difficulty is not that you’re some amazing genius, but that what you’re trying to do is so bizarre, which is to live life and overtake it. It’s like disembowelling something and trying to make it live again, which is why serious writing is a troublesome thing to carry… It’s like hunting an animal and not knowing what it looks like. You don’t know its markings or even the shape of it, but sometimes when you find it you go: ‘That’s what I was hunting all that time.’”
  • Tartan Noir – “I’ve been quite moved that folk regard me as a forerunner of Tartan Noir. In my old age, it’s like getting a pension of esteem you didn’t know you were going to get.”
  • Laidlaw – “He’s a tortured figure. He’s trying to be honest in the midst of endless pomposity and dishonesty. He’s an awkward man, but I like him, and I agree with him most of the time.”
  • His ambition – “It’s not to glorify working-class life but to show that it doesn’t need glorifying.”

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