James Kelman

James Kelman is a Scottish novelist, short story writer, and playwright. He is known for his distinctive use of Glaswegian dialect and his focus on working-class life. Kelman won the Booker Prize in 1994 for his novel 'How Late It Was, How Late'.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. How Late It Was, How Late

    The novel is a stream-of-consciousness narrative told from the perspective of Sammy, a shoplifter and ex-convict from Glasgow who wakes up in an alley after a two-day drinking binge to find he is completely blind. As Sammy struggles to navigate his new reality, he contends with bureaucratic systems, confronts his past, and grapples with his relationships, all while trying to understand and adjust to his sudden loss of sight. The story is a gritty exploration of working-class life, the human condition, and the nature of reality.

    The 1344th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Busconductor Hines

    The book is a darkly comedic exploration of modern life, set in Glasgow, Scotland. The story follows the titular character, a bus conductor, as he navigates through his mundane daily routine while grappling with existential dread and dissatisfaction. His struggle to find meaning and purpose in his life, despite the bleakness of his circumstances, forms the crux of the narrative. The book is noted for its use of Glaswegian dialect, lending it a unique voice and authenticity.

    The 3099th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. A Disaffection

    "A Disaffection" is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the mind of Patrick Doyle, a disillusioned schoolteacher living in Glasgow. As he navigates through his mundane existence, Patrick's internal monologue exposes his deep-rooted dissatisfaction with society, his job, and his relationships. Through a raw and introspective narrative, the book explores themes of alienation, identity, and the struggle to find meaning in a world that seems devoid of purpose.

    The 4056th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Kieron Smith, Boy

    "Kieron Smith, Boy" is a novel that explores the life and mind of a young boy growing up in a working-class family in post-war Glasgow. The narrative is presented from the boy's perspective and is marked by his unique voice and thought process. The story follows his experiences at home, at school, and in the larger world, his struggles with societal expectations, and his dreams of becoming a shipbuilder. The book is a poignant portrayal of childhood, exploring themes of class, identity, and the complexities of growing up.

    The 6096th Greatest Book of All Time