Thanks to Louise Welsh, and our incredible audience, for an unforgettable event.
Louise is a very charming and disarmingly modest character, who – despite the tremendous success of her books – remains cautious of Lady Luck. Insights abounded, as she led us through her five novels to date: The Cutting Room, Tamburlaine Must Die, The Bullet Trick, Naming the Bones, and The Girl on the Stairs. Her next book (for which she has just sent back the proofs) will be titled A Lovely Way to Burn, and concerns a near-future pandemic inspired by the Black Death which ravaged medieval Europe.
Louise is fascinated by the Gothic and crime novel genres, particularly how these focus on outsiders and how this intersects with Queer fiction. Some of her own favourite books are those of R. L. Stevenson and Wilkie Collins – what she calls, “novels of sensation”. She usually writes between 500 and 1000 words a day, and relies on movies, paintings, and poetry for inspiration (as well as novels). Louise observed that a writer’s practice may change in the course of their life (i.e. the extent to which detailed chapter plans and re-drafting will be required). And of course, every book is different. Louise has no television in the house, to avoid distraction, and works only from an internet-disable computer (wise advice!).
The Cutting Room has been optioned twice for film, and Louise revealed to us a secret desire to write a really good horror movie some day! And indeed, to write about outer space. Look out for a special Commonwealth event next year at Glasgow’s Briggait, in which Louise has been closely involved: the Empire Cafe exhibition will explore the dark history of Glasgow and Scotland’s role in the slave trade, referencing such figures as the freed slave Joseph Knight and Robert Burns’ flirtation with the idea of emigrating to the Jamaica plantations.