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Benderloch author Willie Orr will be at Waterstones Oban later this month to launch his new book – the Shepherd and The Morning Star.
The story of a son emerging from his father’s shadow is told in this remarkable double biography and autobiography.
Willie’s father, Lawrence Orr, was a leading Ulster
Unionist politician who aspired to be a member of the
His political career ended in public disgrace after he abandoned a bride at the altar, while still married to Willie’s mother at the time. He was
replaced as MP for South Down in 1974 by Enoch Powell
and lived a reclusive life thereafter.
After an education alongside his friend Paddy Ashdown,
Willie distanced himself from his father’s politics as a
Rootless and troubled, he worked in the Belfast shipyards and as an actor in Dublin until he suffered a severe nervous breakdown. He sought help
and refuge in the Iona community and slowly recovered,
finding purpose and fulfilment working as a shepherd
for many years and then later retraining as a teacher.
In between times he wrote as a journalist for the Scotsman
and, with his wife Jan, set up a counselling service for
adults in Oban.
This book is a deeply absorbing and powerful piece of
writing, a record of mood and emotional development
as much as a detailed chronology.
Very funny in parts and with a poet’s sensitivity in others, it explores that
precarious territory between the public and private lives
It ends with a glimpse of redemption and healing, a coming to terms with the ghosts of the past.
Willie Orr will be talking about his book and signing copies at Waterstones in Oban on Monday June 17 from 5.30pm, with an introduction to the evening by top historian Sir Tom Devine.