Irvine Welsh and Robert Carlyle discuss the infamous Begbie in an exclusive Book Festival event

In an exclusive event for the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Booked! programme the acclaimed author Irvine Welsh will be joined by actor Robert Carlyle as he launches his new novel, The Blade Artist, which catches up with Welsh’s iconic character, Francis Begbie. Carlyle memorably played Begbie in Danny Boyle’s 1996 movie Trainspotting, and will reprise the role in Boyle’s forthcoming sequel. This is a one-off opportunity to see the writer and actor in conversation on a beguiling, often sickening but never uninteresting character and a world which has been central to the careers of both. The event will take place at the Usher Hall at 4.00pm on Sunday 10th April and will last for 90 minutes, including an audience question and answer session, and will be followed by a book signing. Booked! is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said “Francis Begbie is already a formidable character in Irvine Welsh’s novels. In the Trainspotting movie, Robert Carlyle elevates Begbie to an unforgettable screen icon: ultra-violent and alpha-male, while also quite complex with regard to friendships and sexuality. It’s a real treat that Irvine’s latest novel revisits this fascinating character, and even more exciting that Robert will join Irvine in this special Edinburgh International Book Festival event to discuss a career-defining role.”

Can a man such as Trainspotting’s iconic, volcanic Francis Begbie ever fully escape a blood-soaked past? Irvine Welsh’s new novel confronts the reader once again with his most devilish and destructive figure – now seemingly mellowed by the Californian sun. The Blade Artist finds Begbie, newly named Jim Francis, living with his wife and daughters and working as a successful sculptor in the USA. When the son he barely knew is killed back home, Begbie’s new life is set on a collision course with his violent history and the enemies it holds. Reformed artist or repressed psychopath: which side of this deeply divided man will win out?

Tickets will be available from The Usher Hall from 10am on Friday 26 February, priced £12 (£10 concessions) and seating is allocated. The Usher Hall Box office is open 10.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, Tel 0131 228 1155 or  Copies of The Blade Artist will be available to purchase at the event.

This event is part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Booked! programme, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Booked! is the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the road around Scotland, throughout the year. A celebration of words and ideas, Booked! blends the very best from groups and organisations across the country with the energy and excitement of the August Book Festival. Produced in collaboration with a variety of partners, this wide-ranging programme of events and activities brings authors, artists and audiences together to inspire each other and to be inspired, to share stories and experiences, and bring books to life for people of all ages in their own communities.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery, said “I’m delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting Booked! It is fantastic that through this support the Edinburgh International Book Festival is being taken on the road throughout Scotland allowing more people than ever to experience every that the Festival has to offer.”


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