Five things you might not know about: Des Dillon
1: Des Dillon is the joint second oldest (he has a twin sister) of a family of nine kids, having been born in Bellshill in 1960 before moving to Coatbridge. Although he has been writing for as long as he can remember – penning poems at primary school about ‘frolicking lambs and babbling brooks’ – his serious writing career began at the age of 18, influenced heavily by Bob Dylan, comics, fairy tales, Coatbridge patter and Meat Loaf.
2: Before becoming a full-time writer, Dillon was a fruit machine engineer, a joiner, a DJ, a bouncer and an English teacher.
3: Among his books are Itchycooblue, Six Black Candles and The Glasgow Dragon, while he has hit theatrical paydirt with his play about sectarianism, Singin’ I’m No a Billy, He’s a Tim. He’s also written for both of the nation’s soaps, Take the High Road and River City.
4: For the 2003 World Book Day, his 1995 tale Me and Ma Gal was voted the novel which best portrayed contemporary Scotland. The story of two pals on the run from a local psycho, Dillon heeded the advice of Edwin Morgan and wrote the way he spoke.
5: Probably the most depressingly daft comment he’s likely to have ever heard in a public place came at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2008, when a Scottish woman stood up during his event with Alan Bissett and Anne Donovan to utter these less than immortal words: ‘I find it hard to take work in Scots seriously; it feels to me as though I’m reading an adult version of the Dandy or Beano.’ Nice.
Gilmorehill G12, Glasgow, Fri 25 Jun.