Irvine Welsh has launched a stinging attack on The Booker Prize calling it a “highly imperialist-orientated” literary award and claiming that the organisers had failed to deal with a problem of “anti-Scottishness”.
Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, was addressing the Edinburgh writers’ conference and says that the Booker puts upper-class Englishness as a cultural yardstick and the failure to refute accusations of anti-Scottishness was a sign of “arrogance” and “intellectual enfeeblement”.
Welsh, noted for featuring lots of Scottish dialect in his novels, said: “The Booker prize’s contention to be an inclusive, non-discriminatory award could be demolished by anybody with even a rudimentary grasp of sixth-form sociology.”
He claimed that the winners have alternated “between largely upper-middle-class English writers and citizens of the former colonies, presumably to stamp legitimacy on this ‘global accolade'”.
The award, he said, was “based on the conceit that upper-class Englishness is the cultural yardstick against which all literature must be measured”.