Bonnyrigg author's debut novel is a nod to his hero Irvine Welsh

A Bonnyrigg author’s debut novel of short stories about local working class characters written in their native dialogue is proving popular all over the world.

By Kevin Quinn
Monday, 5th July 2021, 6:00 am
Bonnyrigg author Colin Burnett's debut novel is called 'A Working Class State of Mind'. A collection of stories about a group of working class people from Leith.
Bonnyrigg author Colin Burnett's debut novel is called 'A Working Class State of Mind'. A collection of stories about a group of working class people from Leith.

Published by Leamington Books, A Working Class State of Mind by Colin Burnett brings the everyday reality and language of life in Scotland to the surface.

Delving into the tragic and comic exploits of Aldo as well as his long time suffering best friends Dougie and Craig, the book follows these and other characters as they make their way in life.

The book is available in paperback and as an e-book, with the initial print run selling out in 18 days.

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Former Bonnyrigg Primary and Lasswade High pupil Colin (32) has lived in the town all of his life. He explained more about the book and how one of the stories is set there.

He said: "It’s about the dark underbelly of working class Edinburgh. The stories are dark comedies, blending drama with comedy.

“I have been posting stories about these characters on Twitter over the past few years, which have proven very popular.

"It's really gritty. That’s why I think people are drawn to them. It’s true to life and I portray the characters quite authentically. I don’t sugar coat it.

"Irvine Welsh is my biggest inspiration, and my brother Michael who is a playwright is a big influence as well.

"The characters are mostly from Leith so there is a connection to Trainspotting there. In one of the stories I bring the characters to Bonnyrigg as their fictional Leith football team comes to town to play Bonnyrigg Rose.”

Colin hopes this book is just his start as an author.

He said: "I have got readers all over the world, America, Japan, Australia.

"People outside the UK engage with the Scots language, there is not the stigma attached to it that there is here in the UK – where it is seen in a bad light.

"People have found the stories really funny and say they have something of everything.

"I want to become a professional writer and I want to write more books with these characters, and I would love to get A Working Class State of Mind adapted as a TV show.

"I couldn’t have asked for a better publisher and hopefully I can make a living out of this going forward.”

Currently unemployed, Colin graduated in Public Sociology from Musselburgh's Queen Margaret University and has contributed to the Scots Independent Newspaper and The Sociological Review. He believes his background in sociology comes across in his work.

He said: "I’m just writing all the time. I’m focused on the book just now. Getting the word out there.

"I studied sociology, so I try to apply that in my stories.

"People say my work is quite thought-provoking, about the current social situation we find ourselves in.

"My stories have depth and a message. It seems to connect with people and that’s come though the sociological aspect of it I think.

"I want to engage the working class with sociology in a more enjoyable way instead of from a text book.

"I’ve been delighted with the reaction so far. To have my book mentioned in the same breath as Irvine Welsh is amazing, he is my writing inspiration. And it’s cool to know he has got a copy of my book.”

A Working Class State of Mind is available now from Amazon.