Scottish writer David Keenan melded his in-depth musical knowledge with his nostalgia for small town life in his ecstatic debut novel, This Is Memorial Device (2017). A celebratory psychogeography of outsider culture and post-punk, it’s a bold and energising love letter to small-town Scotland in the late 70s/early 80s and the miscreants, misfits and punks who inhabited it. While Airdrie is a long way away from New Zealand, this feverish novel which is presented as an immersive oral history will be extremely relatable to anyone who experienced a coming-of-age love of music in New Zealand.
His follow-up Booker Prize longlisted novel, For the Good Times (2019), is an evocative tale set during Ireland’s Troubles, and he’s published three more novels since. His role as senior critic for The Wire brought New Zealand post-punk music to his ears, and now we bring him here. In conversation with WORD Programme Lead Kiran Dass.
Supported by Scottish Books International.