David Manderson

The Anti-hero’s Transnational Journey

‘Alan Sharp is one of Scotland’s greatest transnational writers … comparable only to Robert Louis Stevenson’. A provocative statement taken from my new book on the Scottish writer Alan Sharp, to be published in July. This presentation traces Sharp’s transnational impact through the many stages of his career. It examines his lifelong journey in terms of his contribution to Scottish literature as London-based Scottish novelist, BBC television playwright, Hollywood screenwriter and, later, writer for American television and Scottish and New Zealand cinema. His impact on international and home audiences will be examined in terms of two factors – language and the broadcast ’feedback loop’ (Franklin, 2006) – while the ‘Scottishness’ or otherwise of his transnational scripts and novels will be analysed through a narrative paradigm, ‘the Anti-hero’s Journey’, and the cultural exchange used in his work.

A lifelong traveler, deeply committed to resistance to Empire, it is possible only now to understand all Sharp’s work through the recently-established Alan Sharp papers archive in Dundee. Long excluded from the Scottish literary canon, it is time his lifelong contribution to transnational Scottish writing allows his work to be restored to the prominence it deserves.

David Manderson, Independent Scholar