Originally published: https://pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1292

SKU: 9781629639680
Author: James Kelman
Series: PM Press/Kairos
ISBN: 9781629639680/9781629639765
Published: 08/01/2023
Format: Paperback/Hardcover
Size: 5 x 8
Pages: 256
Subjects: Political Science / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, Human Rights, Religion, Politics & State

Incendiary and heartrending, the sixteen essays in The State Is the Enemy lay bare government brutality against the working class, immigrants, asylum-seek- ers, ethnic minorities, and all who are deemed of “a lower order.” Drawing parallels between atrocities committed against the Kurds by the Turkish State, and the racist police brutality, and government sanctioned murders in the UK, James Kelman shatters the myth of Western exceptionalism,revealing the universality of terror campaigns levied against the most vulnerable, and calling on a global citizenship to stand in solidarity with victims of oppression. Kelman’s case against the Turkish and British governments is not just a litany of murders, or an impassioned plea—it is a cool-headed take down of the State and an essential primer for revolutionaries.


James Kelman was born in Glasgow, June 1946, and left school in 1961. He began work in the printing trade then moved around, working in various jobs in various places. He was living in England when he started writing: ramblings, musings, sundry phantasmagoria. He committed to it and kept at it. In 1969 he met and married Marie Connors from South Wales. They settled in Glasgow and still live in the dump, not far from their kids and grandkids. He still plugs away at the ramblings, musings, politicking and so on, supported by the same lady.


“Probably the most influential novelist of the post-war period.” —The Times

“Kelman has the knack, maybe more than anyone since Joyce, of fixing in his writing the lyricism of ordinary people’s speech … Pure aesthete, undaunted democrat—somehow Kelman manages to reconcile his two halves.”

Esquire (London)
“The greatest British novelist of our time.”

Sunday Herald

“A true original … A real artist … it’s now very difficult to see which of his peers can seriously be ranked alongside [Kelman] without ironic eyebrows being raised.”

—Irvine Welsh, Guardian