Fighting talk as Bissett joins pack

Author Alan Bissett
Author Alan Bissett

A Falkirk author is taking part in an unusual event at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival – alongside some of Scotland’s literary greats.

Alan Bissett will perform in a play, Fleck, written by ‘Lanark’ author Alasdair Gray on August 29.

Also taking part in the scripted reading will be Liz Lochhead, Ian Rankine and Will Self, along with Alasdair Gray himself.

Alan (34) said: “It’s a really unusual event and I’m excited to be part of it, alongside some really famous authors.

“Lanark is considered to be the best Scottish novel ever written so I’m really proud to take part in this.”

This is one of two events which Alan will be participating in at the festival. He’s joining forces with another author, Doug Johnstone, in Fighting Talk, on Friday, August 26, to promote his new novel ‘Pack Men’ which is launched next month.

Alan said: “We’ve been put together because our books have similar kinds of storylines.

“‘Pack Men’ is about a group of friends who travel to Manchester for the Rangers UEFA Cup Final, and his novel is about an older group of friends who go on a trip and it all goes wrong.

“We’re also from the same generation of Scottish writers.

“The event has been called Fighting Talk because both books explore the theme of male violence to a certain extent.

“It won’t be a debate – there will be a discussion of both books, and we’ve got something a bit unusual which we’ve done before.

“I’ve got a spoken word piece called ‘Things Bono Has Said’ and Doug backs it with a U2 song.

“It works really well as a performance piece so we might reprise that.”

After the festival events, Alan will be turning his attention to the launch of his book – his fourth novel.

The last time I interviewed Alan, he was exhausted as he had literally just sent the final draft of the book off to his publisher.

He said: “My mum always talks about how difficult childbirth is – it’s bad but then when you hold your new baby, it’s all worthwhile.

“That’s how I think about writing a book – you’re in labour and it’s horrible, and then you get your book, and hold it, you realise that’s what the pain was for.

“So far it seems to be getting a good reaction.

“There is something about the nature of this book which could cause trouble – when you’re writing about the Old Firm, someone is always going to take offence – at this point though, I don’t know who!

“It will be available at the events at the festival but will officially be launched at Waterstones in Glasgow on September 1.

“There will also be a signing event at Waterstones in Falkirk where people can come in and chat.”

He will also be taking his writing further afield with a trip to Canada.

He added: “It’s difficult for a Scottish writer to make it abroad – there’s a language barrier and the dialect is quite heavy – it’s kind of like a band going abroad and trying to make it in America.

“However, my other books have sold well to a certain extent – Death of a Ladies’ Man was written in English, and was about sex so it found a wider audience.

“Canada and Australia are not so culturally different to Scotland as America is and there are strong Scottish influences there so it’s easier to find an audience.”

For more information about the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which starts this Saturday, go to

n Alan Bissett will be signing copies of ‘Pack Men’ at Waterstones Falkirk on Saturday, September 3, from noon -1 p.m.