Cyprus Mail

OBITUARY: The ‘angry young man’ who rocked British society

Author Colin Wilson: no stranger to Cyprus

By Robert Cracknell

ON December 5, the whole world was grieving the demise of a true giant of a man namely Nelson Mandela .On the same day a great personal friend of mine died.

That man though not of the same ilk as Nelson Mandela nonetheless deserves his place in history.

His name; Colin Wilson. A literary giant and I would endorse his own statement made not in arrogance but in total awareness of his own individuality and status of being a true outsider,
that he was a genius. Oddly enough it was the title of his first published work in the late 50s ‘The Outsider’ that rocked society and became an instant best seller throughout the world and so began his career.

Labelled one of the ‘the angry young men’ along with other accepted notable playwrights and authors his first book literally shook the foundations of society’s considered norm.
The rest is history and on his death left a legacy of in excess of 300 books plays and treatises.

I first met him in the 80s when I was writing my first book and was stunned that he offered to write an introduction to it.

Expecting to get a few lines I was totally surprised to receive an introduction of some 30 pages containing such depth and understanding not only of my own particular field but also of my own complicated psychological makeup, he finished his intro by affording me the greatest compliment I have ever received that of calling me ‘the typical outsider’.

As our relationship fostered I grew to love and understand him as I did what I never thought I would do and that was to sit at his feet as a willing pupil. My family spent many holidays in Cornwall with his family and devoted wife Joy. I also had the pleasure of working with him on the notorious disappearance of Jeanette Tate which to this day remains officially closed and unsolved, and on other cases.

Every book that I wrote from there, Colin wrote an introduction for me as he did for many other first-time authors.

He was a complex man locked within his own self discovery and unique awareness but freely gave of himself to others despite that at times the media had publicly vilified him in print on his personal life and literary reviews. To sit at his table dine with him was a wonderful experience. His generosity knew no bounds.

Wilson gave an interview to the Cyprus Mail when he came to Cyprus to check out

Robert Sarmast’s expedition to search for Atlantis, a subject close to the British author’s heart, having previously published two books of his own on the subject. “My books didn’t sell in tremendous quantities so I had to write a reasonable amount just to keep the bank manager happy,” Wilson said of his prolific output. “I seem to have written about a lot of topics but really I’ve just written the same book a hundred times over,” he told the newspaper.

The interviewer’s feeling was that as long as Colin Wilson liked what Colin Wilson wrote, “there was probably no better critic of his work”.

Colin Wilson’s legacy remains and I have no doubt that history will give him his well deserved recognition. I do not mourn his passing on I can only share his undoubted joy at being free to experience that which is ahead of him. Travel well my friend.

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