James Kelman signs with Canongate

James Kelman signs with Canongate

Booker Prize winning novelist James Kelman has signed world rights to his new book Dirt Road with Canongate.

The story tells of a "journey out of darkness" which follows father and son Tom and Murdo on an expedition that will take them from their Scottish island home to the American South after the tragic death of Murdo's mother. The film of the story, 'Dirt Road to Lafayette' will be released at the same time as the book in August 2016. The film is being directed by Scottish director Kenny Glenaan and in production with Singer Films.

Kelman was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 with A Disaffection (Vintage), which also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction.  He then went on to win the Booker in 1994 with How Late it Was, How Late (Vinatge).

Kelman's backlist has recently been repackaged by Scottish indie Birlinn.

Kelman said: “My backlist has been supported by Birlinn over the years but this from Canongate is a very exciting development. This is the first original publication I shall have had in Scotland in thirty years. It’s altogether an exciting period in Scotland, and in publishing there is a vibrancy that distinguishes it from elsewhere. I must say it feels good to be back. At a personal level also it is pleasing: I have two grandchildren at school here in Glasgow; one daughter teaches PE there while my younger daughter has worked for several years as a Welfare Rights Officer in West Dunbartonshire.”

World rights were acquired for Dirt Road by publishing director at Canongate, Francis Bickmore, from Gill Coleridge at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Bickmore, publishing director at Canongate, said: “Dirt Road is a major novel. It explores the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love and the lure of the open road.  It’s also a beautiful book about the power of music and all that it can offer. From the understated serenity of Kelman’s prose - like a Hibernian Carver – emerges a devastating emotional power. I believe this to be an outstanding novel from Scotland’s only Booker Prizewinner and one of the world’s truly great writers. It is terrific to have James Kelman back with a Scottish-based publisher once more.”

Canongate will publish Dirt Road in hardback in August 2016, alongside the film adaptation.