An excuse for a new dress

An excuse for a new dress

Issued: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 00:00:00 GMT

Rodge Glass, graduate of the University of Glasgow Creative Writing course, has been shortlisted for the esteemed Saltire Society/Royal Mail First Book of the Year Award, for his novel 'No Fireworks'.

Each year The Saltire Society gives out two literary awards for Scottish books released in the last twelve months - 'First Book of the Year' for new authors and 'Book of the Year' for authors who have had more than one book published. Past winners of the debut award include exciting names in current fiction, such as Ali Smith, Michel Faber, and A.L. Kennedy. The winner of the awards for 2005 will be announced on Wednesday 30 November - St Andrew's Day.

'No Fireworks' is the story of eight days in the life of Abe Stone, 61-year-old, three times divorced, Henry VIII-fixated history teacher and alcoholic. Left reeling from the death of his acid-tongued mother Evelyn, who hasn't let being dead stop her from controlling him, Abe begins to realise he has done nothing with his life, and, afraid his time might also be up soon, Abe goes in search of his true identity with the help from his only friend Henry and super-intelligent grand-daughter Lucille. 'No Fireworks' is an upside-down, inside-out voyage of discovery novel, a fiery warning about the consequences of inaction and life unlived.

Rodge, who is currently writing a biography of Alasdair Gray for his PhD, reacted with delight to being shortlisted for the award: 'I'm very pleased somebody has thought my book good enough to be nominated for this award - many of Scotland's best have won it over the years. I consider my invitation to the announcement on St. Andrew's Day to be a good excuse for me to buy a new dress and my girlfriend to splash out on a suit!'

Rodge will be the first person to have written a biography of Alasdair Gray, having worked closely with Alasdair as his student and assistant. Rodge says of his work 'Alasdair Gray: A Secretary's Biography', which is to be published by Bloomsbury in 2008: 'there will be a hi falutin PhD thesis for anoraked academics, and a more entertaining version for the commoners.'

Prof Willy Maley, Head of the University of Glasgow Creative Writing course, said of Rodge's writing: 'Rodge Glass is a fine example of a writer of considerable talent who also had the tenacity to keep revising until he got it right. With his polished gem of a debut novel, No Fireworks, Rodge has launched a lifelong literary career, proving in the process that literary craft ヨ which he has in spades ヨ has to be supplemented by hard graft. That's how you get diamonds from Glass'.

Kate Richardson (K.richardson@admin.gla.ac.uk)