Neil Paterson (writer)

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Neil Paterson
Born James Edmund Neil Paterson
(1915-12-31)31 December 1915
Greenock, Scotland
Died 19 April 1995(1995-04-19) (aged 79)
Crieff, Scotland
Pen name John Kovack
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, journalist, footballer
Nationality Scottish
Citizenship British
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Period 1946–1990
Notable works Room at the Top
Notable awards Best Adapted Screenplay
1959 Room at the Top

James Edmund Neil Paterson (31 December 1915 – 19 April 1995),[1][2] known as Neil Paterson, was a Scottish screenwriter.

Early life and football career[edit]

Born in Greenock, Renfrewshire (now part of Inverclyde), Paterson graduated from the University of Edinburgh and had a brief career in senior football. He played as an inside left for Scottish League teams Leith Athletic and Dundee United, becoming captain of the latter in the 1936–37 season. Despite his success in football – he scored 9 goals from 26 league appearances for United, including a hat-trick – he remained an amateur player, spurning the opportunity to go professional.[1] As an amateur he was automatically released at the end of the season, although he played one further game for the club in an emergency.[3]

Writing career and later life[edit]

After his football career finished he became a writer, initially as a sports journalist for D.C. Thomson and after the Second World War as an author, penning a number of well received novels and short stories. In 1953, he adapted his own short story The Kidnappers for the cinema and subsequently wrote a number of screenplays, including the Academy Award-winning script for Room at the Top in 1959, adapted from the novel by John Braine. Paterson won the Atlantic Award for Literature in 1946. Later he served as a governor for the British Film Institute, National Film School and the Arts Council of Great Britain and as an executive for Grampian Television. He died in 1995 at Crieff, Tayside (now part of Perth and Kinross).

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • On my Faithless Arm (1946) (Under pseudonym John Kovack)
  • The China Run: Being the biography of a great-grandmother (1948)
  • Behold Thy Daughter (1950)
  • The China Run: A book of short stories (1951)
  • Man on the Tightrope (1952)
  • Man on a Tightrope: The Short Novel (1953)
  • The Kidnappers and other Stories (1957)
  • Something like a poem (1986)

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b Independent Obituary
  2. ^
  3. ^ Gracie, Steve (2008). A Passion For Survival. Arabest Publishing Dundee. ISBN 978-0-9558341-0-3. 

External links[edit]