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Local journalist who became ‘one of the great’ novelists dies aged 83

Gordon WilliamsA local newspaper journalist who went on to become “one of the great Scottish novelists” has died aged 83.

Tributes have been paid to Gordon Williams, left, who worked on newspapers in England and Scotland before becoming an author.

Shortlisted for the first Booker Prize, Gordon was best known for works such as From Scenes Like These, Walk Don’t Walk and The Upper Pleasure Garden.

His most famous wotk, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, became famous by its film name of Straw Dogs, although Gordon described the subsequent script as “crap”.

Born in Paisley, Gordon left school the day before his 17th birthday and spent 18 months working as a junior reporter with the Johnstone Advertiser and Paisley Pictorial before entering national service with the RAF in 1952.

After the RAF, he returned to the Johnstone Advertiser, before joining the Poole and Dorset Herald.

He moved to the South London Advertiser followed by stints at several magazines, where he began writing novels.

An obituary by Hugh MacDonald in Glasgow daily The Herald states: “He was, almost incidentally and irrefutably, one of the great Scottish novelists, producing at least three works of the highest rank: From Scenes Like These, a rite of passage tale of extraordinary power; Walk Don’t Walk, a comedic work so dark it demands to be read with a torch; and The Upper Pleasure Garden, a newspaper novel of distinction and profundity.”

Gordon is survived by his wife Claerwen Jean Jones, whom he married in 1964, his children Harriet, Jessica and Samuel, and three grandchildren.

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