Author and playwright; Born June 3, 1928; Died February 21, 2008. An appreciation by Alasdair Gray In 1928 Archie Hind was born in Dalmarnock, an industrial part of east Glasgow. His father, a stoker on locomotive engines, worked for 51 years on the railways, with an interval as a soldier in the First World War.

Though liked by workmates and friends he was so bad a husband that his wife left home with her two-year-old daughter when Archie was seven and his older brother nine. Ten years later the parents were reconciled; meanwhile the boys lived with their father and his widowed mother.

The home Mrs Hind had abandoned was, from the neighbours' point of view, decent and clean, though like most tenement homes in Glasgow between the wars, it was a room and kitchen with communal lavatory on an outside landing. Baths had to be taken in public bathhouses and Archie sometimes used these less than he wished, to stop people seeing the bruises from his father's beatings. These stopped when he and his brother grew strong enough to hit back.

Archie grew up with a love of literature and music - he and his brother both loved singing, and he learned piping in the Boys' Brigade. Leaving school at 14 he entered Beardmores, the largest engineering firm in Britain. Archie joined the firm when the war was giving it a last profitable lease of life. For two years he was a messenger and should have become an apprentice when 16, but his father wanted the higher wage Archie earned by shifting to a warehouse supplying local grocers. In 1945 or 1946 he could have gone to university but it would have meant even less money for his dad than him getting an apprenticeship. Archie only left home when 18 and was conscripted into the British Army. He served with a medical corps for two years in Singapore and Ceylon.

Which tells nothing about the birth and growth of his wide erudition and strong imagination through reading, close attention to recorded music and broadcasts and intense discussion with those of similar interests. Who in Glasgow could see the growth of an unusual mind in a 20-year-old ex-Beardmores progress clerk, warehouseman and demobbed medical corps private? Jack Rillie could, the Glasgow University English lecturer who ran an extra-mural class in literature. Archie attended it and on Jack Rillie's recommendation went to Newbattle Abbey, the Workers' Further Education College in Midlothian. The principal was the Orkney-born poet Edwin Muir. Archie became a friend of Muir and his wife, Willa.

By now he had decided to write a book that he knew would never sell enough to support him - a book that would leave him a failure in the eyes of all but those who liked unusually careful writing. Soon after Newbattle, Archie married Eleanor, a girl he had met through the Tollcross Park tennis club. She accepted him and his strange ambition Archie and Eleanor made friends with writers and artists through a new Glasgow Arts Centre which met in premises leased by the painter J D Fergusson. I met them in 1958 when they had three sons (Calum, Gavin, Martin) and young daughter Nellimeg, whose mental age was arrested at less than two years by minor epilepsy. Their last child, Sheila, was born five years later. I had recently left Glasgow Art School and the Hinds had the only welcoming home I knew where literature, painting and music were subjects of extended, enjoyable conversations. It was a room and kitchen flat like that where Archie had been born, but in Greenfield Street, Govan. The room held the children's bunks so social life was always in the warm kitchen. In the mid-1960s the Hinds moved to Dalkeith where Archie worked with Ferranti's Pegasus, an early computer filling nearly the whole floor of a building.

He left that job to finally complete his novel, and having completed it, worked as a copy-taker in the Scottish Daily Mail, Edinburgh, while awaiting publication. In Milne's Bar he sometimes conversed amicably about sport and politics with Hugh MacDiarmid. In 1966 the novel was published in Hutchinson's New Author series. Its title, The Dear Green Place, was Archie's translation of glas-chu or gles-con, Gaelic words that became Glasgow.

All good novels are historical - describe living people in a definite place and time. The time is about the 1950s. This Scottish region of the newly established British welfare state gives Mat Craig the chance to occasionally dodge the commercial forces that, before 1939, would have made him an industrial serf, or political activist, or even destitute. He has enough room to exercise, however painfully, what was once a bourgeois or aristocratic privilege - the free will needed to attempt a work of art.

Published in 1966, The Dear Green Place won four prizes: The Guardian Fiction of the Year, The Yorkshire Post's Best First Work, the Fredrick Niven and Scottish Arts Council Awards. The Hinds returned to Glasgow when, as foreseen, The Dear Green Place had not earned enough to support them. Archie wrote revues performed in the Close Theatre and a witty, precise political column for the Scottish International magazine. He worked for the Easterhouse Project, a privately funded meeting place started to reduce violent crime among the young.

Soon after, he was appointed to the position of Aberdeen's City's first writer-in-residence, later becoming a copytaker for the Aberdeen Press and Journal. By this time he was working on his second novel, Fur Sadie. Here he transposes (as musicians say) the theme of artistic struggle into the person of a small, ordinary-seeming, middle aged yet very attractive working-class housewife and mother.

This book ends with some of Archie's essays in Scottish International, including his 1973 eye-witness report on the Upper Clyde Shipyard work-in. This first big failed attempt to save a Scottish heavy industry heralded the closure of every other, and shows Archie giving historic perspective to an important contemporary event. I wish this book also contained a selection from his early short stories (all lost) and some playscripts from the ten commissioned and performed between 1973 and 1990. I especially remember The Sugarolly Story, a satirical view of Glasgow's social history from the start of the First World War to the creation of the Easterhouse housing scheme. This was performed by the Easterhouse Players in the Easterhouse Social Centre after Glasgow City Council at last built one. The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, a Scottish dramatisation of Doonan's building-trade novel, was the biggest and most successful, being the only one acted by a large professional company (The 7:84) in The Citizens'. The scripts of these have also been lost.

The Dear Green Place and Fur Sadie have survived into a century where Archie's forebodings about the thinning of the western cultural tradition (now called dumbing-down) have come true.

Glasgow University has a department of creative writing where the kind of novel Archie wrote is labelled literary fiction, and labelled as a genre along with crime, horror, science fiction and love stories of the sort publishers call chick lit. But when forthcoming catastrophes have moved the survivors back to serious agreement about what is important in art, The Dear Green Place and Fur Sadie will have survived also.