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Kenneth Roy, 26 March 1945–5 November 2018

Kenneth Roy, 26 March 1945–5 November 2018
08 November 2018
Like so many others, we were deeply shocked and saddened by the revelation, in a typically graceful piece by Kenneth Roy for the Scottish Review, that he had a terminal illness, and by his death so shortly after. Many of us at Birlinn have been admirers of his writing for years, so when the opportunity came up in 2014 to publish a new edition of his magisterial The Invisible Spirit: A Life of Post-War Scotland 1945-75, described by Ian Hamilton as ‘the most remarkable book on Scotland I have ever read’ and by Catherine Czerkawska as ‘a masterpiece’, we were delighted to take it on. We then in 2016 published the first edition of the follow-up volume, The Broken Journey: A Life of Scotland 1976-99. Both books anatomise, with penetrating insight, deep compassion and caustic wit the country we were, and in doing so cast light on what we have become.

The death of a man who contributed so much to Scotland’s intellectual and cultural life and who had still so much to give is a tragic loss. Kenneth Roy cared passionately about Scotland and its future, and worked tirelessly to improve the standard of public discourse and the life chances of some of its most vulnerable people. We are proud to have been associated with his work. The organisations he founded like the Scottish Review will live on, as will his books, to instruct and inspire us.