WHEN the festivals annexe the centre of Edinburgh next month you won’t see much of Irvine Welsh. One of the city’s most celebrated authors will most likely be seeking refuge in Glasgow.

In an exclusive interview for The Herald, the author of Trainspotting, said: “I really appreciate Glasgow during the festival. It’s brilliant. It becomes a haven. As the Edinburgh festivals have become bigger they’ve got shittier.

“The festival of politics? What’s that? It’s just politicians telling other politicians and journalists how great they are. You’d pay money not to see some of the crap they put on year after year."

The Leith-born author and playwright was raised in the working-class Muirhouse district of Edinburgh. His experiences of growing up in an area experiencing the effects of the slum clearances and cultural marginalisation have informed most of his work since Trainspotting. “All the festivals that came after Edinburgh work to the same model: It’s about getting tourists and business into the centre of the city and keeping working-class people out.

“I remember my mum being interviewed by a reporter from the Edinburgh Evening News about the festival. She and my auntie were in the Botanic Gardens with their cigarettes and beehives and the heading was something like ‘outspoken mum slams festival’ because she’d said that the festivals weren’t for the likes of her and that they were just for the rich.

“People from the neighbourhoods we come from have been saying the same thing down through the years. And it’s become much more manifestly true now."

The author raised concerns about artists from modest backgrounds being excluded from the festival."You’re expected to pay about £30-40k for a hall per week. The Book Festival can’t even afford to be in Charlotte Square. The money guys just kept saying ‘we want more’.”

Welsh’s affection for Glasgow is rooted in how similar it is in social and geographical formation. “Edinburgh and Glasgow are really very much alike. We like to rely on the narcissism of small differences. You have large, sprawling housing schemes on the outer edges with architecturally beautiful city centres.

Some Glasgow locations featured in the film of Trainspotting and the city also features in Crime, the award-winning TV adaptation of Welsh’s 2008 novel, which has just been commissioned for a third series. In a 2016 essay written as the foreword for a new edition of Jimmy Boyle’s classic memoir, A Sense of Freedom, Welsh described how he was inspired by the life of the former Glasgow gangster who became an acclaimed sculptor and author.

“For an angry but creative soul growing up in a working-class environment, role models are essential, and during my youth Jimmy was a ubiquitous cultural figure. When I was a kid, nobody from my street and scheme, to my knowledge, had written a book or made an acclaimed piece of art.”

Read the full interview with Irvine Welsh on-line and in print in tomorrow’s Herald.