Last Friday Welsh joined with Scottish and American literary friends in a fun evening of readings and anecdotes. On Saturday he read from Skagboys at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and on Sunday he gave the ‘keynote speech’ at a writers’ conference broadly on the question of what is a ‘national literature’. It isn’t immediately obvious to me that he had much of any consequence to say. The next day’s headlines said he ‘blasted’ the Booker Prize because its linguistic requirement is ‘based on the conceit that upper-class Englishness is the cultural yardstick against which all literature must be measured’. Is that true? Even if it is true, is it genuinely a problem and can it be used as a blanket condemnation of the Prize? Let’s face it, there is a Scottish prize which would not rule out Welsh’s work on linguistic grounds, and Welsh has never won it. Alan Massie has suggested that Welsh was doing nothing more subtle than parading his own proudly Scottish and defiantly anti-establishment brand. The very idea!