Today: May 24, 2024

Folio Celebrates Trainspotting With Stunning New Edition

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since Ewan McGregor’s Renton chose not to choose life but choose something else instead … 

This July independent publisher, The Folio Society celebrates this literary milestone with the first ever illustrated edition of Irvine Welsh’s visceral punk novel,  Trainspotting.

Originally published in 1993, Trainspotting is the iconic hedonistic masterpiece that inspired the film of the 1996 film of the same name. Exploring the gritty underbelly of Edinburgh’s late ‘80s drug culture, the novel provides an unflinching portrayal of addiction, despair, and survival and is widely regarded as the cultural touchstone, which celebrates the poetry of a forgotten underclass.

Tapping a vein somewhere between the dour Scottish realism of James Kelman and the stoned lyricism of Burroughs and Bukowski, author Irvine Welsh weaves his own sour melody of language, moral outrage, and gallows humour in a blend of Scots and English. This was the book that allegedly missed out on the Booker Prize after offending the sensibilities of the judges. Fortunately it was a commercial success, spawning a play, a film, a sequel, and a prequel.

Fearless, anarchic, honest, The Folio’s luxury edition is illustrated with kaleidoscopic artwork by award-winning illustrator Nicole Rifkin. Combining graphic-novel style panels, needle-fine line-work and sour, muted colours, these remarkable pieces provide the perfect palette for Welsh’s groundbreaking debut. The edition’s acid-yellow binding offers a sensitive portrait of Renton, also drawn by Rifkin. The book itself is housed in a Caledonian blue slipcase with mismatched train-track lines.

An exclusive introduction by renowned academic and author, John Sutherland, who contextualises the novel’s significance and explores its enduring cultural impact.

The Folio Society’s Trainspotting is a perfectly-pitched blend of aesthetics and literary commentary, making it must-have book for fans of fine publishing.

Printing details:

  • Bound in printed and blocked cloth.
  • Set in Maxime with Futura as display.
  • 400 pages.
  • Frontispiece plus 5 colour illustrations.
  • Die-cut slipcase.
  • 9 ½˝ x 6 ¼˝.
  • RRP: £60.

The Folio Society edition of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, introduced by John Sutherland and illustrated by Nicole Rifkin, is exclusively available from

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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