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Tributes paid to 'warrior queen of journalism' Deborah Orr who has died aged 57

Tributes have been paid to “warrior queen of journalism” and “extraordinary writer” Deborah Orr who has died of cancer aged 57.

Orr joined the Guardian in 1990 and was the first female editor of the title’s Weekend magazine.

In 1999 she went on to write for the Independent before returning to the Guardian as a columnist a decade later. Last year she joined the i paper.

Orr’s memoir, Motherwell – named after her place of birth – exploring her relationship with her mother that resulted in a diagnosis of PTSD, is due to be published in March next year.

Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner 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”.

The i’s arts editor Alice Jones said: “Such a loss. Always slightly terrifying to commission, made up for by the joy of getting her scintillating copy back. Her zeal when she liked or was interested in something was terrific.”

Friends and peers in the journalism world paid tribute to Orr on Twitter.

Former The Lady editor Rachel Johnson said: “Deborah Orr, the warrior queen of journalism, has died too young from cancer at 57.

“Her memoir, which has already been hailed as a masterpiece, will be published posthumously. Let’s make it a massive and deserved hit.”

Friend and former colleague Suzanne Moore tweeted: “Thank you for the many kind messages and thoughts about my brilliant friend Deborah Orr.

“Never could get that woman off the dance floor…..so many tales to tell. One day. Gather close, raise a glass and live and love as fiercely as she did. I loved her.”

Journalist Mariella Frostrup tweeted: “The saddest news. Formidable, magnificent and funny as hell she was a lioness in a world full of mogs. Her autobiography Motherwell is a must read.”

Guardian writer Gaby Hinsliff tweeted: “Such sad news. She was an extraordinary writer to the end; proper unsettling brilliance.”

Columnist Owen Jones tweeted: “Really shocked and upset to hear about the death of Deborah Orr. When I first started writing she invited me round to hers, we got merry together, she was so witty, sardonic, clever, bright. RIP Deborah.”

The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman tweeted: “As a writer, Deborah was fearless & thoughtful, cutting and compassionate. As a friend, she was loyal, loving, fun, hilarious and kind.

“Last month, despite being very ill, she held my baby in the sunlight and said, ‘Ah yes. She’s the one.’ Deborah was the one.”

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1 thought on “Tributes paid to 'warrior queen of journalism' Deborah Orr who has died aged 57”

  1. Deborah wasn’t just a fine, feisty, funny writer but a woman with the knack of making men both laugh and look at ourselves more honestly and critically.

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