Spanish short story writer and professor of languages at University of Strathclyde;

Born: March 13, 1925; Died: March 9, 2013.

Medardo Fraile, who has died at his home in Bishopbriggs aged 87, was an eminent Spanish writer of short stories. From childhood he was to maintain links through his mother's family with the city of Úbeda in southern Spain, re-naming it Bedua in some of his tales. During his childhood and adolescence in Madrid he witnessed the troubles and passions of the Second Republic and lived through the siege of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War.

While studying for an arts degree at the Complutense University in Madrid, he became part of a group with Alfonso Sastre and Alfonso Paso interested in experimental theatre: his key play entitled El Hermano (The Brother) dates from this period.

Whereas Sastre and Paso in time became important dramatists, Medardo Fraile signalled a major shift in his literary focus in 1954 with the publication of the short story collection Cuentos con algún amor. Two further collections in 1959 and 1964 confirmed him as a significant new writer – by now of 40 well-crafted stories– in a genre then little valued in Spain.

In the 1960s, he left Franco's Spain to spend three years as a conversation assistant in the University of Southampton before joining the University of Strathclyde at a time when its student numbers in modern languages were expanding rapidly. Though a little intimidated by the mysteries of a 24-booth language laboratory (as later by motor cars), over almost 20 years he provided quality guidance in classic Spanish literature and in advanced language classes. In Glasgow he met and married Janet, a languages teacher whose own fluent Spanish allowed him at home always to think and feel in his beloved Spanish. Awarded the title of Personal Professor, he took early retirement in 1986 to devote himself full-time to his writing.

He published over a wide range of genres, including traditional academic articles on major contemporary writers whom he counted among his friends. He authored six collections of children's tales, a selection of travel writings based on his experience in Britain and a collection of essays on his experience as a film-goer.

In retirement he continued to contribute articles regularly to Spanish provincial newspapers and to the national daily newspaper ABC. He was awarded several major prizes including the Crítica, Sésamo and Estafeta Literaria prizes as well as the Hucha de Oro. In 1986 his only novel was published; initially entitled Autobiografía, it was re-published recently as Laberinto de fortuna.

Throughout, short stories emerged in a steady flow. His collected stories appeared first in 1991, then as Writing and Truth in 2004 and in an expanded edition in 2010. In 2009 he released a well-received volume of memoirs and in 2011 yet another collection of tales.

Always keen to encourage interest in Spanish language and literature, he accepted numerous invitations to speak at foreign universities (France, Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Mexico and Venezuela). In retirement he attended the Big Book Fair every spring in Madrid and was invited to chair a number of workshops in short story techniques alongside his great friend José María Merino at prestigious summer courses in San Sebastián and in Madrid. A life's devotion to the art of and the promotion of Spanish language literature was recognised in the award in 2012 of a major decoration by the Spanish Government.

He and Janet were good hosts, welcoming many Spanish visitors to their home in Scotland. Such visitors were usually shown the beauties of Largs and Loch Lomond and were likely to be taken to the Lake of Menteith to visit the graves of R B Cunninghame Graham and his wife Gabriela.

He showed his fondness for Scotland in other ways. With Janet's help he completed and published a fascinating translation into Spanish of Stevenson's Weir of Hermiston. And he loved theatre outings to Pitlochry. He much appreciated the warm home, the family life, the friends and the appreciative students that he had found in Scotland.

In his early stories he did not follow the forthright social realism fashionable in the fifties and sixties. His approach to writing was subdued, almost minimalist. He re-wrote and polished endlessly, exercising enormous care over every word. He detested bombast: his written Spanish was precise, compact and concise, impactive through subtle suggestion. He avoided intricate plotting, preferring to emphasise a specific moment and careful characterisation, especially of vulnerable folk, depicted with carefully judged observation in their humble lives in their own colloquial language.

The overall tone was restrained - sobrio - and yet often gently tender and melancholic, infused with a wry and touching humour. His wisdom on writing included: "The word which is not the exact and perfect word is the enemy of the short story"; "The short story has to be an exercise in intensity and synthesis"; and "The short story should have a soul".

The achievement of these recommendations in his own stories will ensure him a lasting place in Spanish literature.

He is survived by Janet and their daughter Andrea.