Leading Scottish novelist to receive UWS Honorary Doctorate

25 Nov 2014

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One of Scotland’s leading contemporary novelists, William McIlvanney will receive an Honorary Doctorate from University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at its graduation ceremony on Friday 28 November at Ayr Town Hall.

In addition to writing novels he has written poetry and short stories and has worked as a journalist and TV presenter.

McIlvanney, who was born in Kilmarnock, started off his career as an English teacher working from 1960 until 1975 at Irvine Royal Academy and then Greenwood Academy, Dreghorn, where he was also Assistant Head Teacher. In 1975 he left teaching to devote himself to writing full-time. From his first novel, Remedy is None (1966), his writing has strongly reflected his Kilmarnock roots. He is the author of numerous successful novels, perhaps his best known centre around the policeman, Jack Laidlaw.

McIlvanney, who has produced many volumes of poetry, short stories and essays, has always been concerned to reflect vibrant working-class life in his literature. This can be seen in his use of popular forms such as the detective story.

He was awarded The Saltire Society’s Fletcher of Saltoun Award in 2013, and in the same year was awarded Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Writer of the Year.

William McIlvanney said: “I am obviously honoured to receive this award but I am not taking it too personally. I can think of several modern Scottish writers at least as worthy of this as I am and I accept it on behalf of all of us.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to award William McIlvanney, who is one of Scotland’s most celebrated novelists, with an Honorary Doctorate. I am sure due to his previous involvement in education he will appreciate receiving this award along with our distinguished graduates at our ceremony in Ayr.”

Photograph credit: Iain McLean