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George Blake (1893-1961) - Novelist

He was born on 28 October 1893 in Greenock and
was educated at the University of Glasgow, where he studied law. During World War I he was wounded at Gallipoli and thereafter turned to journalism, first with the Glasgow Evening News, where he succeeded Neil Munro, and later in London as editor of John o' London's Weekly and the Strand Magazine. In 1930 he became a director of the publishing house of Faber and Faber, and their incorporation of the Edinburgh company the Porpoise Press took Blake back to Scotland in 1932. From then until the end of his life on 29 August 1961 he lived in Helensburgh and Dollar, apart from a period during World War II when he worked for the Ministry of Information in London. Blake is remembered for his novel of the depression period, The Shipbuilders (1935), which portrays sympathetically the problems faced by a community when a shipyard closes; it contrasts the fortunes of Leslie Pagan, the owner's son, and Danny Shields, a riveter. Like all his work it is notable for the evocation of Glasgow life and his ability to draw strong, true-to-life characters. He wrote a number of other fine novels about Glasgow, including Mince Collop Close (1923), The Wild Men (1925), Young Malcolm (1926), David and Joanna (1936) and The Peacock Palace (1958). No less successful are his novels about smalltown life and society in the fictional Garvel (Greenock) of The Valiant Heart (1940), The Constant Star (1945), The Westering Sun (1946), The Paying Guest (1949) and The Voyage Home (1952). Blake also wrote criticism of the 20th-century Scottish novel in Barrie and the Kailyard School (1951), and an autobiographical sketch, Down to the Sea (1937).

Works: The Mother (1921); Clyde Built (1922); Vagabond Papers (1922); Mince Collop Close (1923); The Weather Vessel (1923); The WildMen (1925); Young Malcolm (1926); Paper Money (1928); ed., ScottishTreasure Trove (1928); The Coasts of Normandy (1929); The Paths of Clory (1929); The Press and the Public (1930); The Seas Between (1930); Returned Empty (1931); Sea Tangle (1932); ed., Neil Munro, The Looker-On (1933); 
The Heart of Scotland (1934); Rest and Be Thankful (1934); The Shipbuilders (1935); David and Joanna (1936); R. M. S. Queen Mary (1936); Down to the Sea (1937); The Valiant Heart (1940); Big Ships, Little Ships (1944); The Constant Star (1945); British Ships and Shipbuilders (1946); The Westering Sun (1946); The Five Arches (1947); Scottish Affairs (1947) Scottish Enterprise and Shipbuilding (1947); The Paying Guest (1949); Mountain and Flood (1950); The Piper's Tune (1950); ed., The Trials of Patricia Carraher (1951); Barrie and the Kailyard School (1951); The Firth of Clyde (1952); The Voyage Home (1952); The Innocence within (1955); The Ben Line (1956); Clyde Lighthouses (1956); The Last Fling (1957); The Peacock Palace(1958); Lloyd's Register of Shipping 1760-1960 (1960); The Loves of Mary Glen (1960); Gellatly's 1862-1962 (1962); The Gourock (1963).

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