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Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 17:30 GMT
Literary world saddened at Waugh's death

Literary figures and members of the media have been shocked and saddened by news that satirist and writer Auberon Waugh has died.

Auberon Waugh wrote five novels, book reviews and hundreds of columns for periodicals such as the Spectator, Private Eye and the New Statesman.

Writer DJ Taylor, who knew Waugh for the best part of a decade, said he would be best remembered as a satirical journalist, who was "at his best" during the 1970s when he wrote for the New Statesman.

"He wrote against the grain of the paper, as a right-winger working for a left-wing journal," he said.

One of the most interesting things about him was the "extraordinary difference between his public persona and what he was like privately".

'Overshadowed by father'

"As literary agent Pat Kavanagh said, he could be blindingly rude and satirical on paper, but face-to-face he was shy - it's an odd discrepancy," he said.

Taylor added that the satirist gave up writing novels, despite their merit, saying Waugh always felt he was "overshadowed by his father", the acclaimed author Evelyn Waugh.

The writer and biographer also recounted Waugh's foray into politics in 1979 during the general election.

He said Waugh disapproved of the way the Liberal party "feted" Jeremy Thorpe, who stood trial and was cleared of charges of conspiracy to kill and incitement to the murder of Norman Scott.

Charles Moore:
Telegraph editor Charles Moore: "He spoke his mind"
Waugh defiantly stood as candidate for the Dog Lovers' Party - Scott's Great Dane Rinka was killed during the incident - and published his manifesto in the Spectator.

The Liberals took out a successful injunction against the whole issue, which was taken from the shelves.

Waugh got 79 votes - 29 more than he hoped to get to prove his point.

"He had a lot of fun while making a serious point," said Taylor.

Boris Johnson, editor of The Spectator looked to Waugh as a journalistic inspiration.

He told the BBC: "I think in a way he was an ideological trailblazer of the whole anti-nanny state , anti-politial correctness thing."

'Mentally brave'

"He was a huge influence on me and my contemporaries."

Charles Moore, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, also sang Waugh's praises.

"Most people are afraid of who they might upset and what it will make them look like if they speak their mind," he said.

"He was totally without that form of fear. He was mentally brave.

"He would write something even if he thought it would get him the sack."

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17 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Auberon Waugh dies
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