TRAINSPOTTING author Irvine Welsh has bizarrely cited JANE AUSTEN as the novelist who inspired him to write drug and violence-filled novels.

Scottish Welsh - famed for his gritty portrayals of drug addicts and misogynistic characters - also lists other writers SIR WALTER SCOTT and GEORGE ELIOT as his favourites, whose classic examples of 18th and 19th century literature are in stark contrast to his own creations.

The novelist unveiled his passion for Austen, Scott and Eliot to a Scottish lecturer, DR AARON KELLY, who is publishing a book on him.

The academic says, "This will surprise people but it shows that he didn't come out of nowhere."

Kelly claims Welsh told him, "They're still to me, the greatest books ever written by English novelists.

"If you can take it almost as a sort of canon, on the whole they've been such a powerful, devastating influence on literature, British literature, European literature."

04/01/2005 08:59