William McIlvanney’s ‘Almost a Book About Sean Connery’ Online

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A very exciting Google Alert popped into my inbox this morning; a link to a Scotland on Sunday article on Scottish author William McIlvanney’s substantial online archive of previously unpublished work. Part of this work is an unconventional biography called Almost A Book About Sean Connery which has ‘encountered resistance from publishers who rejected it as not “properly mass-market” and “uncategorisable”.

Undeterred, McIlvanney, who has collaborated with Connery on a number of film projects and interviewed the actor, has posted online an introduction and four chapters, totalling nearly 12,000 words of the 90,000 penned to date.’

The chapters he’s posted thus far have a frankness Sean himself would admire and certainly give a refreshingly personal take on the standard Connery biography (of which there have been many). I think it makes a great pairing with Being A Scot, written with friend & filmmaker, Murray Grigor. Sean launched the book on his birthday (25 August) 5 years ago at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where McIlvanney is appearing this month. He will be discussing the resurgence of his detective novels which Sean was interested in filming back in the 70s. McIlvanney recounts meeting him in Edinburgh Zoo, here’s a nice wee anecdote which I’d hope to feature in the Finding Connery tour:

As he talks, a waitress is approaching by curious indirections.  She takes a few steps, pauses, gazes assessingly, head to the side.  She repeats the process.  She looks like somebody in an old silent movie – say Buster Keaton, making his way quizzically towards another potential disaster.  As she finally reaches the table, Connery is in mid-sentence.

‘Excuse me,’ she says, nodding conspiratorially and smiling the smile of those who are in the know.  ‘But are you who I think you are?’
He looks up at her pleasantly.
‘No,’ he says straight-faced.
‘Oh, sorry!  I beg your pardon,’ and she withdraws.
He raises his eyebrows mischievously and flashes a demonic grin and goes on talking.

McIlvanney’s site: www.personaldispatches.com


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