Life and work
The Dear Green Place was his only completed work (published in 1966), but it won four major awards and has been listed as one of the best 100 Scottish novels of all time. The book was reprinted in March 2008 along with Hind's incomplete novel, Fur Sadie.
Hind was brought up in the Carntyne district of Glasgow. His father was a nutter and wife beater, but never, as said before, an alcoholic, according to Sheila and Martin Hind. The young Archie often had to avoid the public baths because of his bruises. His father's pressure for money forced him to leave school and take on menial jobs. He was called up to serve in the medical corps in Singapore and Ceylon at the end of the World War II. After he was “demobbed” he was determined to become a writer. His big break came when he was accepted in 1950–51 to study a creative course at Newbattle Abbey College, Midlothian, where the principal, Orcadian poet Edwin Muir, reportedly became his mentor and helped inspire him.
The success of The Dear Green Place, a reference to his birthplace and hometown of Glasgow, turned Hind from a trolleybus driver/former slaughterhouse worker into a successful and notable writer. He won 1966’s Guardian First Book Award. Hind went on to publish journalistic articles and wrote several plays and theatrical revues, notably for Glasgow's Citizen's Theatre.
He had been due to appear on 7 March 2008 with famous writers from around the world at the Aye Write! literary festival in Glasgow's Mitchell Library to mark the reprinting of ‘’The Dear Green Place’’, along with the Fur Sadie manuscript and examples of his writing. However he died from cancer, aged 79, on 21 February. The organizers held a memorial service on 8 March 2008.
The unfinished manuscript of Fur Sadie was thought to have been lost or destroyed, but it was pieced together by Alasdair Gray and journalist/literary agent John Linklater, and was published along with The Dear Green Place on 15 March 2008 by Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn Publishing.
Originally titled Für Sadie, because Hind was influenced by Beethoven's piece Für Elise, but the umlaut was later dropped to reflect Glasgow dialect, the story tells of Sadie, a housewife in the Parkhead district of Glasgow who rediscovers her childhood love for the piano as a means of escaping her middle-aged misery.
Archie Hind is survived by his wife of 56 years, Eleanor (née Slane), sons Calum and Martin, and daughters Sheila and Helen. A third son, Gavin, died in a road accident as a youth.He also has a Great Granddaughter named Angela Hind who loved him very much. Slane's family, the Zams, were Russian Jews who had emigrated to Scotland fleeing the Pogroms in the Ukraine, around 1910, and settled in Glasgow. Many references are made to Eleanor as the character "Helen" in "The Dear Green Place", as well as her parents Robert and Sonia Slane (née Zam), who are portrayed as well off, intellectual, and disapproving.It was unusual for anyone to "marry out" to a gentile and was often opposed; even sometimes resulting in excommunication from the family. Given that the novel was largely biographical, most of these elements are true to life.
- Linklater, John., Scottish Review of Books (Volume 4, No. 1), 2008
- Obituary: Archie Hind (Jackie Kemp, Guardian, Friday 29 February 2008)