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Laidlaw author William McIlvanney dies ages 79

Joe Jones

Scottish writer William McIlvanney, best known for his detective novel "Laidlaw", has died at 79.

His agent Jenny Brown said he died at his home in Glasgow on Saturday after a short illness.

McIlvanney, described as The Godfather of Tartan Noir, was born in Kilmarnock and was the most-celebrated Scottish novelist of the 1970s.

The son of a miner, he became an English teacher before changing careers in 1975 to write full time.

He is known for the "Laidlaw" trilogy, a crime series featuring Inspector Jack Laidlaw. Other works included "The Big Man," made into a film starring Liam Neeson, as well as poetry and journalism.


Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Shedding a tear at news of Willie McIlvanney's death. His writing meant so much to me when I was growing up. RIP."

Rebus author Ian Rankin described his death as "dreadful news". He said: "A truly inspired and inspiring author and an absolute gent."

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh said: "Absolutely gutted to hear this. An inspirational writer and one of the loveliest guys you could hope to meet."

McIlvanney is survived by his partner Siobhan, daughter Siobhan and son Liam.


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