Douglas Maxwell is busy. Not just ticking over, but busy in an enviable, up to your eyeballs-type way most playwrights can only dream of. His life has been consumed by the three Rs: rehearsals, research and rewrites. He is enjoying every minute.

The Girvan-born writer's stock has risen rapidly over the last two years, thanks to the success of his plays, Decky Does a Bronco, Helmet and Our Bad Magnet. His new show, Variety, will run at the Edinburgh International Festival in August. Set during the death throes of Scotland's variety theatre and music halls, it is partly inspired by his great grandfather.

''After my grandad's funeral last year, my grandmother got out a tin which had an obituary of her father in it,'' says 28-year-old Maxwell. ''It turned out he used to run the King's Variety Theatre in Kilmarnock and was also a musician, painter and actor. It struck me that I was in roughly the same job.''

His next play, The Ballad of James II, will be staged at The Tron, Glasgow, in the new year. He has also been commissioned by the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, to write another play, Melody, and recently been made a Creative Fellow of the department of humanities at Edinburgh University.

''They are giving me an office and a computer which is going to be fantastic,'' he says, with a smile. ''It only lasts a year but is a great honour.''

Despite his rise and rise, Maxwell seems well grounded. ''At one point I was thinking of packing it in,'' he says. ''I had been writing for about five years before I got a commission and had some terrible reactions to my plays. I got some particularly bad rejection letters including one that said, 'Please stop writing'. I did almost give up. Of course, now I'm glad I didn't.''

Variety, King's Theatre, Edinburgh, August 12-17