Obituary Note: Gordon Williams

Scottish writer Gordon Williams, who was shortlisted for the first Booker Prize, wrote biographies, "collaborated on books and scripts with Terry Venables, turned down Bill Forsyth's approach to script Gregory's Girl, and fell out dramatically with film director Sam Peckinpah," died August 20, the Herald reported. He was 83. Williams "was, almost incidentally and irrefutably, one of the great Scottish novelists, producing at least three works of the highest rank": From Scenes Like These; Walk Don't Walk; and The Upper Pleasure Garden.

His most famous work is The Siege of Trencher's Farm, which was adapted by Peckinpah as the film Straw Dogs, the Herald noted, adding that Williams described the movie as "crap," while Peckinpah said the book was "so bad it makes me want to drown in my own vomit."

In the Guardian, D.J. Taylor wrote: "Any estimate of Williams's work is always likely to be complicated by the variety of styles and genres in which he wrote, but most of his admirers would probably settle on From Scenes Like These (1969) as the book which most perfectly showcased his gifts. Set on a bleak mid-1950s Ayrshire farm, and featuring a teenage boy who yearns to be a professional footballer before settling for the traditional male pursuits of drink and women, it was included on the first Booker shortlist, alongside Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark (the prize was eventually won by PH Newby's Something to Answer For) and has strong claims to be regarded as one of the great lost classics of postwar British fiction."

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