In the early 1980s Irvine Welsh's life was going nowhere fast. His teenage dreams of being a footballer or a rock star were over, and he was stuck in a series of dull white-collar jobs which he despised. He was drinking heavily and experimenting with heroin.
The outlook wasn't good. With one last throw of the dice he started writing. His debut novel, Trainspotting, which centred on the day-to-day struggle to survive of a group of Edinburgh junkies, was released in 1993.
The reviews were good, but even Irvine's publishers didn't hold out high hopes. Yet, just a couple of years later, Trainspotting, a dazzling collection of loosely connected stories, was voted the greatest novel of the twentieth century in a UK poll. It went on to sell over one million copies in the UK alone and has been translated into thirty languages.
The subsequent stage-play adaptation of the book has been produced in nineteen countries, and the film version directed by Danny Boyle became a stunning award-winner, rebooting the UK film industry and helping to launch the careers of a squad of young Scottish actors such as Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Ewen Bremner and Peter Mullan. So, how did an unknown writer pen the most talked-about book of a generation? Now, for the first time, the real story of how Irvine Welsh wrote the novel 'that changed everything' can be told. With contributions from Irvine Welsh and many of the key players involved in the book's publication, access to never-before-seen letters and rare photographs, this is the inside story of Irvine Welsh and the Trainspotting phenomenon.