Heath­cote Wil­liams

The Guardian - - OBITUARIES -

Jan Woolf writes: I met Heath­cote Wil­liams (obit­u­ary, 3 July) as a re­sult of the No Glory in War cam­paign and got to know his wit, in­sights and im­pec­ca­ble man­ners through high teas at his home in Ox­ford. Al­though he fused art and pol­i­tics like no one else, his prin­ci­pal com­mit­ment was to the writ­ten word. Works such as Whale Na­tion, AC/DC and The Lo­cal Stig­matic are clas­sics on the en­vi­ron­ment, san­ity and fame.

Heath­cote was one of the first sup­port­ers of the newly re­vived Left Book Club, which he wel­comed in 2015: “Hymie Fa­gan’s book on the Peas­ant’s Re­volt, Nine Days that Shook Eng­land, was and it still is the best book on the sub­ject, though it has long been out of print. It opened my eyes to an­other Eng­land, one not anaes­thetised by roy­alty-mon­ger­ers, money-grub­bers and re­li­gious su­per­sti­tions, and it put lead into the pen­cil and fire in the belly of an ig­no­rant youth hang­ing round Speak­ers’ Cor­ner in the early 1960s who bought his copy from the se­cond­hand book­stall out­side the Mar­ble Arch gents. The Left Book Club is owed a huge debt as an in­tel­lec­tual mojo.”

There is beauty in Heath­cote’s lan­guage and joy at the idea of how things could be, like EM Forster be­fore him, work­ing at the univer­sal yes.

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