Entertainment & Arts

'Fearless' journalist Deborah Orr dies aged 57

Deborah Orr

Tributes have been paid to the Scottish journalist and author Deborah Orr, who has died aged 57.

The former Guardian and Independent writer's death was confirmed over the weekend by her family.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Orr wrote candidly about being treated for the disease.

Observer columnist Catherine Bennett described her friend Orr as "one of the cleverest, most unconventional, most fearless people on the planet".

She is survived by her two sons, Ivan and Luther, from her marriage with fellow writer Will Self, as well as her stepchildren, Alexis and Madeleine.

Orr, who was born in Motherwell, joined the Guardian in 1990, becoming the first female editor of its Weekend magazine before she was 30.

According to the publication her "refusal to suffer fools was legendary", as was her "pitch-black humour".

'Sardonic, clever, bright'

"Really shocked and upset to hear about the death of Deborah Orr," wrote Guardian columnist Owen Jones.

"When I first started writing she invited me round to hers, we got merry together, she was so witty, sardonic, clever, bright. RIP Deborah."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Deborah Orr, right, hosted An Evening With Vivienne Westwood in 2016

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, said Orr was "a brilliant, clever, funny writer and editor whose uncompromising and insightful approach to her work brought powerful journalism to the Guardian over many years."

Journalist and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup noted how Orr had been making plans for a future she knew she probably wouldn't see.

Orr went on to work for Independent in 1999, before returning to The Guardian as a columnist for almost a decade.

She also agreed a deal to publish her first book - a memoir, which is due out next year. Writer John Niven was given an early copy and predicted it will be "a huge hit".

Comedian and writer Shappi Khorsandi noted there were "so many beautiful tributes to Deborah Orr" on her Twitter timeline on Monday, calling it "a huge loss to journalism, to writing".

"I read so much of her work over the years... Her always fiercely intelligent point of view," she added.

Other journalists, writers and beyond have been paying their tributes.

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