Man who wrote - and drank

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Malcolm Lowry of Ripe was a famous drinker. But at least he had an interesting life.

At the age of 15 he won the junior golf championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Soon afterwards he convinced his father to let him work as a deckhand on a ship to the Far East.

His five months at sea gave him stories to incorporate into his first novel, Ultramarine.

The twin obsessions which would dominate his life, alcohol and literature, were firmly in place.

After Cambridge, Lowry lived briefly in London, existing on the fringes of the vibrant Thirties literary scene and meeting Dylan Thomas, among others.

In America he began writing Under the Volcano, his most famous novel.

In summer 1938, Lowry left Mexico under mysterious circumstances. He continued working on his novel, and met his second wife, the actress and writer Margerie Bonner. He continued to drink heavily.

He died in a house in Ripe, where he was living with his wife. It is said he drank himself to death. He is buried in the Ripe churchyard.

Lowry reputedly wrote his own epitaph: ‘Here lies Malcolm Lowry, late of the Bowery, whose prose was flowery, and often glowery. He lived nightly, and drank daily, and died playing the ukulele.’

Locals in Ripe apparently considered him weird - especially after he became violent in the local pub and was barred.

On the fateful night of June 26, 1957, after a two-week holiday in the Lake District, Lowry and his wife spent the evening at the pub in nearby Chalvington, returning to their cottage with a bottle of gin to listen to a concert on the radio. It was his last night.

People allegedly still put booze on his grave.