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CITY LIGHTS LIVE! James Kelman in conversation with Alan Black

City Lights
July 11th, 2022

Booker Prize-winning novelist James Kelman in conversation with Alan Black discussing Kelman’s new novel “God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena” published by PM Press.

“God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena is electric. Forget all the rubbish you’ve been told about how to write, the requirements of the marketplace and the much vaunted ‘readability’ that is supposed to be sacrosanct. This is a book about how art gets made, its murky, obsessive, unedifying demands and the endless, sometimes hilarious, humiliations literary life inflicts on even its most successful names.” —Eimear McBride author of A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing and The Lesser Bohemians

“James Kelman is an extraordinary writer—smart and incisive, witty and warm, with prose so alive it practically sparks off the page. God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena is one of the wisest, funniest and most brutally honest books I’ve read in ages. I loved it.”—Molly Antopol, author of The Unamericans

“James Kelman changed my life.”—Douglas Stuart, author of Shuggie Bain

“Probably the most influential novelist of the post-war period.”—The Times

“Kelman has the knack, maybe more than anyone since Joyce, of fixing in his writing the lyricism of ordinary people’s speech … Pure aesthete, undaunted democrat—somehow Kelman manages to reconcile his two halves.” —Esquire (London)

“The greatest British novelist of our time.” —Sunday Herald

“A true original … A real artist … it’s now very difficult to see which of his peers can seriously be ranked alongside [Kelman] without ironic eyebrows being raised.” —Irvine Welsh, Guardian

“A writer of world stature, a 21st century Modern.” —The Scotsman

“The real reason Kelman, despite his stature and reputation, remains something of a literary outsider is not, I suspect, so much that great, radical Modernist writers aren’t supposed to come from working-class Glasgow, as that great, radical Modernist writers are supposed to be dead. Dead, and wrapped up in a Penguin Classic: that’s when it’s safe to regret that their work was underappreciated or misunderstood (or how little they were paid) in their lifetimes. You can write what you like about Beckett or Kafka and know they’re not going to come round and tell you you’re talking nonsense, or confound your expectations with a new work. Kelman is still alive, still writing great books, climbing.” —James Meek, London Review of Books

“The greatest living British novelist.” —Amit Chaudhuri, author of A New World, Frieze Magazine
“What an enviably, devilishly wonderful writer is James Kelman.” —John Hawkes, author of The Blood Oranges