Tributes paid to Glasgow writer Margaret Thomson Davis
With the sudden death of well-known Glasgow writer Margaret Thomson Davis on the 14 th June 2016 there will be a great feeling of loss among her countless readers, not just locally but across her faithful public of admirers throughout the country.
Margaret was born in Bathgate on the 24 th May 1926 and came to live in Glasgow when she was just three years old. She was brought up in the tenements of Springburn - a background she was to use in several of her novels – with her young brother Audley, of whom Margaret was extremely fond. Sadly he died of rheumatic fever when he was 30, contracted in the dampness of the old tenements.
Margaret’s working life began in Nursery Nursing in Birmingham, but later towards the end of the war she joined the WRNS and it was here she met her first husband, George Bailey, who was in the Royal Navy. They married in1951, but it was a short-lived marriage which did not survive the constant separations of Service life.
From here Margaret became a live-in Nanny to a little boy, Calvin, whose father Roger was a taxi driver with a wife suffering severely from tuberculosis. When she died some time later Margaret and Roger were married in 1958. They lived in Cardonald to begin with and had one little boy, Ken, who was devoted to his mother. The family moved to Bearsden when Ken was 9 and were very happy there.
As Ken grew up and went to Art School when he was 19 they moved to the West End which Margaret greatly enjoyed. She always loved the life and vitality of the West End and used much of the ambience in her later novels.
Her first book, which in many respects was her favourite, was the Breadmaker Saga, a trilogy first published in 1971 to great acclaim, later produced as a stage play in the late 1970s in the Citizens’ theatre – as was another favourite among her readers – “Rag Woman, Rich Woman”.
Altogether she had more than 40 novels published, many of which have been best sellers.
She started her writing career with short stories, for D.C. Thomson among other publications, and had over 200 short stories published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines in this country and abroad. She also found time to write and interesting autobiography.
In the early 1980s she contacted the Strathkelvin Writers Group to ask if she could join. They were delighted to have a published author joining their ranks and straightway asked her to become their Honorary President, a position she held right until her death. During all these years she was an inspiration and a tremendous help to new as well as established writers – advising, encouraging and adjudicating short story competitions.
A most informative speaker she was always willing to pass on her considerable knowledge of writing techniques and expertise to others – as well as her store of fascinating anecdotes. She was held in great esteem by all in the writing world, including the Scottish Association of Writers whose Annual Conference she attended every year she was able.
She was proud to receive the Lord Provost Award for Literature in 2002 in the City Chambers for “bringing Glasgow’s vibrant history to life.”
She will be sorely missed by so many.