Fred Urquhart (writer)

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Fred Urquhart (12 July 1912 – 2 December 1995) was a Scottish short story writer.[1]

Frederick Burrows Urquhart was born in Edinburgh. His father was chauffeur to the Earl of Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle.[2] He spent much of his childhood in Fife, Perthshire and Wigtownshire.[3] He attended Stranraer High School and Broughton Secondary School.[4]

On leaving school at 15 he worked in a bookshop.[5] He was a pacifist and conscientious objector and worked on the land during the Second World War,[6] first at Laurencekirk in the Mearns and later at Woburn Abbey.[7] Here he met George Orwell and the Scottish painters Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde.[8]

From 1947 he worked as a reader for a London literary agency, and from 1951 to 1954 he read scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[9] From 1951 to 1974 he was a reader for Cassell, and from 1967 to 1971 for J. M. Dent.[10] He also edited a number of books.[11]

Many of his stories revolved around rural life, set in the (fictional) town of Auchencairn.[12] Amongst his work the best regarded is Jezebel's Dust (1951).[13] One obituarist said that, "His skill was to show characters in everyday, conversational action" and, writing in the Manchester Evening News in November 1944, George Orwell praised his "remarkable gift for constructing neat stories with convincing dialogue."[14]

Many of his stories were read on the radio,[15] and Palace of Green Days was a Book at Bedtime in 1985.[16]

He had a particular love of horses and edited The Book of Horses (1981).[17]

Urquhart was homosexual.[18] He moved to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex in 1958 with his companion, the dancer Peter Wyndham Allen, but when Wyndham Allen died in 1990 Urquhart moved back to Scotland.[19] He was a friend of Rhys Davies, with whom he shared a cottage in Tring in 1946,[20] and of Norah Hoult.[21]

Urquhart died in Musselburgh at the age of 83.[22]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Time Will Knit (1938)
  • I Fell for a Sailor (1940) (short stories)
  • Selected Stories (1946) (short stories)
  • The Clouds are Big with Mercy (1946) (short stories)
  • The Last GI Bride Wore Tartan (1947) (short stories)
  • The Year of the Short Corn and Other Stories (1949) (short stories)
  • The Ferret was Abraham's Daughter (1949)
  • The Last Sister (1950) (short stories)
  • Jezebel's Dust (1951)
  • The Laundry Girl and the People (1955) (short stories)
  • Dying Stallion (1967) (short stories)
  • The Ploughing Match (1968) (short stories)
  • Palace of Green Days (1979)
  • A Diver in China Seas (1980)
  • Proud Lady in a Cage (1980) (short stories)
  • Seven Ghosts in Search (1983) (short stories)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gordon, Giles (28 December 1995). "Obituary: Fred Urquhart". Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  5. ^ "About Fred Urquhart". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  7. ^ "About Fred Urquhart". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  8. ^ "About Fred Urquhart". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  11. ^ "About Fred Urquhart". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  12. ^ Gordon, Giles (28 December 1995). "Obituary: Fred Urquhart". Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  13. ^ The Independent, 28 December 1995
  14. ^ George Orwell, Collected works, I Have Tried to Tell the Truth, p.471
  15. ^ "About Fred Urquhart". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Listings". Genome. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  17. ^ Gordon, Giles (28 December 1995). "Obituary: Fred Urquhart". Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  18. ^ Gordon, Giles (28 December 1995). "Obituary: Fred Urquhart". Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  19. ^ Gordon, Giles (28 December 1995). "Obituary: Fred Urquhart". Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  20. ^ Osborne, Huw (2009). Rhys Davies. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 112. ISBN 9780708322420. OCLC 438721558.
  21. ^ "Fred Urquhart: An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center". University of Texas. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  22. ^ "Papers of Fred Urquhart". Jisc Archives Hub. Retrieved 27 September 2017.

External links[edit]