David Craig Obituary | Creative Writing


My father, David Craig, who has died aged 89, was a pioneering inventive writing trainer, a poet and a prolific author on panorama, literature and social historical past.

Born in Aberdeen, to Margaret (nee Simpson), a authorized secretary, and John Craig, a youngsters’s physician, he went to Aberdeen grammar college and skim English at Aberdeen College. Then he undertook a PhD at Cambridge, later revealed as Scottish Literature and the Scottish People, 1680-1830.


Jobs had been scarce for Marxist intellectuals within the late Nineteen Fifties, and after instructing in faculties in north-east Scotland he moved together with his spouse, Jill (nee Stephenson), and their younger household to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to lecture on the College of Peradeniya. Returning to the UK, he tutored for the Employees’ Academic Affiliation in North Yorkshire and in 1964 turned one of many founding lecturers on the new College of Lancaster.


The years at Lancaster had been eventful. With a bunch of like-minded colleagues, David performed a sequence of experiments in instructing – open-book exams, continuous evaluation, peer overview of lectures, inclusion of each fashionable and intellectual works within the curriculum, and the usage of inventive writing alongside criticism as a approach of learning literature. He additionally proposed a sequence of modifications to the best way his division was ruled, resembling rotating and elected headships.

David Craig wrote on landscape, literature and social history. His book On the Crofter’s Trail, 1990, was an account of the Highland ClearancesDavid Craig wrote on panorama, literature and social historical past. His e book On the Crofter’s Path, 1990, was an account of the Highland Clearances

Many of those improvements at the moment are commonplace. In 1972 they had been sufficient to value a number of junior lecturers their jobs. David, the one one with educational tenure, confronted a movement for dismissal on the college council. He fought again, utilizing the proceeds from a profit organised by fellow poet Adrian Mitchell to interact a barrister. The college’s capitulation meant David might keep on working on the college.

Though offended concerning the techniques used to undermine him and his colleagues, he used his new place to arrange a grasp’s course after which a division of inventive writing, finally internet hosting the UK’s first PhD programme. His contribution was acknowledged with an emeritus professorship after he took early retirement in 1993.

David’s personal writing turned wider in scope following a acutely aware flip away from literary criticism. Books on his climbing experiences (Native Stones), on the Highland Clearances (On the Crofter’s Trail), and on panorama (Landmarks) adopted. He additionally revealed two novels (King Cameron and The Unbroken Harp) and co-authored a rock climbers’ information to the Buttermere and Newlands valleys within the Lake District.

The Glens of Silence, co-produced with the photographer David Paterson, introduced collectively his love of the Scottish Highlands and anguish on the approach the panorama was emptied of its individuals. He produced a gentle stream of shorter writings, together with many opinions and different items for the London Overview of Books. His final e book was his collected poems, Paradise and Wilderness, revealed in 2019.

He’s survived by me and my brothers, Peter, Donald and Neil, from his marriage to Jill, which resulted in divorce, and by our seven youngsters. His second spouse, Anne (previously Spillard), whom he married in 1990, additionally survives him, as do her youngsters, Sweet and Rob, and their 4 youngsters.


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