Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Literary giants to discuss new Seal Club project

Published: 5 November 2020 at 11:00

Alan Warner, John King and Irvine Welsh

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh among the participants at ARU-hosted event

Bestselling authors Irvine Welsh, John King and Alan Warner will give an online talk about their new collaboration, The Seal Club, co-hosted by Essex Book Festival and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) on November 11 – the evening before the book’s official launch.

The Seal Club is a collection of three novellas, one written by each author, that capture their ongoing interests and concerns, stories that reflect bodies of work that started with Morvern Callar, Trainspotting and The Football Factory - all best-sellers, all turned into high-profile films.

The online talk, hosted by BBC Essex’s Tony Fisher and ARU’s Dr Tory Young, will see all three authors discuss the project, in which each writer delves into their past creations to create new storylines. There will also be a chance to ask questions via a live chat box.

In Warner’s Those Darker Sayings, a gang of Glaswegian nerds ride the mainline trains of northern England on a mission to feed the habit of their leader Slorach. Frustrated, cynical and a big disappointment to his family, Slorach is also a man of great intelligence and deep knowledge, a British Rail timetables call-centre guru who just happens to be addicted to gambling machines. And pubs. Welcome to the world of the quiz-machine casual.

In Welsh’s The Providers, the Begbie family gather in Edinburgh for a terminally ill woman’s last Christmas, but everyone needs to be on their best behaviour, and that includes her Trainspotting son Frank, recently released from prison and trying to forge a new life as an artist. Also present is his brother Joe, who arrives in a state of alcoholic dissolution. The ultimate nightmare family Christmas looms, where secrets and lies explode like fireworks.

In King’s The Beasts Of Brussels, thousands of thirsty Englishmen assemble in the city ahead of a football match against Belgium, their behaviour monitored by two media professionals who spout different politics but share the same interests. Meanwhile, The Football Factory’s Tommy Johnson and a small crew of purists run the gauntlet in Germany, eager to join the fun. As order breaks down and the media goes into overdrive, we are left to identify the real beasts of the story.

Dr Young, Principal Lecturer in English Literature at ARU, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting this event with three bestselling authors who will be talking about their truly exciting new project.

The Seal Club will be a delight for fans of their original books, and a chance for others to discover their talents. I look forward to co-hosting this event and I hope as many people as possible can join us online.”

Ros Green, director of the Essex Book Festival, said:

“We are really excited to be collaborating with ARU on what will be our first major online author event. ARU is a very good friend of the festival, which is what everyone needs in challenging times. 

“And of course we are thrilled to be welcoming three literary giants Irvine Welsh, Alan Warner and John King to Essex, who will be with us in spirit and humour if not in body, to talk about their own hot off the press collaboration.”

The event will take place online via Microsoft Teams live events, and may not be suitable for children under the age of 13.

Tickets, which are being sold on a ‘pay what you can’ basis, can be booked by visiting essexbookfestival.org.uk