WILLIAM McIlvanney, the great Scottish writer, poet and political thinker, has died after a short illness. He was 79.

Willie McIlvanney, also a dedicated and inspirational teacher, gained immediate recognition as a major writer with the publication of his first novel, Remedy is None. He enhanced his reputation with Docherty, The Big Man, The Kiln and the Laidlaw trilogy that earned him the title of Godfather of Tartan Noir. A prolific and influential journalist and broadcaster, he contributed strongly and eloquently to political and sporting life in Scotland through his columns and, particularly, his narration of Only a Game, the groundbreaking TV series on Scottish football.

Born in Kilmarnock in 1936 to William and Helen, he attended Kilmarnock Academy before graduating MA (Hons) at Glasgow University. He taught English from 1960 until 1975 in Irvine Royal Academy and then Greenwood Academy, Dreghorn, where he was also assistant head teacher. He held a series of creative writing posts at Grenoble, Vancouver, Strathclyde and Aberdeen universities.  

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In 1975 he left teaching to devote himself to writing full-time. He was garlanded with prizes withDocherty (1975) winning the Whitbread Prize. Other awards for his work included the Crime Writers’ Silver Dagger, the Saltire Award and the Glasgow Herald People’s Prize. He influenced heavily a generation of writers both in his native country and further beyond with the debt of US writers being acknowledged last year with the re-publication of his novels in the USA as a standard bearer of European noir.

McIlvanney, who died peacefully at home this morning (Saturday) in Netherlee, Glasgow, is survived by his partner Siobhan, his daughter, Siobhan, and his son Liam and his brother, Hugh, the celebrated journalist.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.