Irvine Welsh Books In Order

Publication Order of Trainspotting Books

Trainspotting (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Porno (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Skagboys (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chronological Order of Trainspotting Books

Skagboys (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Trainspotting (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Porno (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Marabou Stork Nightmares (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Filth (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Glue (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Crime (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Decent Ride (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Blade Artist (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Acid House (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
If You Liked School You'll Love Work (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Reheated Cabbage (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Well known for writing in his native dialect, Scottish author and novelist Irvine Welsh has created strong and often unflinching portrayals of life in his home-country. Having had a number of films produced from his works, he now enjoys the reputation that his uncompromising works bring him. Currently living in Chicago he continues to write stories and novels that combine both dark humor and realism.

Early and Personal Life

Originally born in Leith, Scotland, Irvine Welsh was brought up for the first four years of his life in the port town of Edinburgh. Although he states that his birth year is 1958, many report it to actually be 1951 on the 27th of September. When he was four his family moved to Muirhouse, which is a housing-scheme located in the north of Edinburgh city.

At the age of sixteen he went on to study in order to become an electrician, although this was short-lived following an electric-shock forcing him to consider a different profession. Getting into punk in 1978, he went to London and joined a band. After a series of petty crimes involving vandalism, he was arrested and decided to turn his life around.

Working for the council in Hackney, London, he began to study computing. He soon went on to study for an MBA at Heriot-Watt University, after going into property speculation. During this time he wrote a thesis on female equality whilst also, it is rumored, simultaneously wrote his first novel ‘Trainspotting’. This he got published in 1993 as he went on to become the writer that his audience know him as today.

Writing Career

Currently Scottish author Irvine Welsh has seven novels to his name, along with four short-story collections. Publishing his first novel in 1993, he launched himself onto the literary scene with his gritty and realistic portrayal of heroin users living in Leith, Edinburgh. Although it was broken up into short-stories, it featured common themes and characters running throughout. It was later in 1996 that director Danny Boyle infamously brought the book to the big-screen to much acclaim as well. Welsh followed the book up with ‘Porno’ in 2002 and then ‘Skagboys’ in 2012, which acted as a prequel to the first two.

Having grown accustomed to his work being adapted to film, Welsh himself soon became a screenwriter himself. Not only that, but he’s also turned his hand to directing as well, along with running theater productions too. This work continues to reflect the themes prevalent within his literature though, as he maintains a sense of consistency throughout.

With his distinct style written in the dialect and patois of those he’s depicting, he reflects the world he grew up in using a grim sense of realism. Not without humor though, he tinges his material with a blackly comic tone that underlines the serious themes running throughout. This has gained him not just commercial success due to his easily relatable prose, but critical acclaim too thanks to his unflinching portrayals of Scottish working-class life and the destructive drug culture that is so prevalent there. Now with cult status as an author, he will continue to produce his unique brand of literature on into the foreseeable future.


The first and probably most famous novel from Irvine Welsh, ‘Trainspotting’ was originally published in 1993, before being made into the both infamous and controversial film of the same name in 1996 by director Danny Boyle. Taking a look at the squalor and degradation of Edinburgh drug culture, it focuses on the lives of a group heroin users living there amidst it all. Featuring a range of characters, it portrays the exploits of this group as Welsh moves around this circle of friends all drawn together through their love of one thing; heroin.

Attempting multiple times to get themselves off the drug and get clean, they constantly find themselves relapsing ending back where they started. It also charts their various attempts to try and get themselves into more legitimate lines of work, so as to become so-called ‘respectable members of society’. With a degree of misanthropy though, this is found to be extremely difficult. Not really working on an overall narrative arc as such, it operates more as a collection of short-stories charting their various high and lows in blackly comic and many times tragic fashion. Seen as ‘the voice of punk’ by many, this was to be the book that ushered in a brave and outspoken new voice. With its uncompromising look at heroin culture in the Leith area of Edinburgh, Scotland, it isn’t an easy ride, but it’s definitely a worthy one.


Taking a look at the operations of the Edinburgh police squad this time, Irvine Welsh examines the corruption and degradation he finds prevalent throughout with his usual blackly comic take for this 1998 novel. Recently made into a film in 2013 directed by Jon S. Baird, it’s also had the big-screen treatment as with many other works from Welsh prior to this. Based upon the career ambitions of one Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, it takes a look at his attempts to climb the ranks of the police department by any means necessary. A habitual cocaine user and generally misanthropic character, he seems to be uncaring as to the needs of others, whilst indulging himself in all manner of vice, whether it be sex, drugs or power games.

Set around the murder of a young man named Efan Wurie, the detective sergeant seems to have other plans as he absconds from the case on numerous occasion, whilst chasing his own wants and needs. Suffering from bipolar disorder along with his drug addiction, he’s left there within the police department as an extremely volatile character waiting to go off at any second. With a deteriorating mindset, the novel charts his breakdown over the course of the case, along with a woman who’s said to be his wife. Leaving a mystery for the readers, Welsh takes his audience on an incendiary ride through the Edinburgh police force, as he leaves them wondering what happened to this man for him to turn out this way and, more importantly; where’s he heading?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Irvine Welsh