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Alan Sillitoe

Alan Sillitoe (born March 4, 1928) writer, one of the Angry Young Men of the 1950s.

Sillitoe was born in Nottingham, to working class parents. His father worked, like the hero of his first novel, in the Raleigh factory, and he was abusive towards his children.

Joining the Royal Air Force in 1946, Sillitoe was then posted to Malaya where he contracted Tuberculosis. Whilst hospitalised for treatment, he developed a taste for reading and writing, which he was to pursue on discharge in 1949.

Whilst living in Spain with his lover, American poet Ruth Fainlight[?], in 1955, Sillitoe commenced work on Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, which was published in 1958. Influenced in part by the stripped down prose of Hemingway, the book attempts to convey the attitudes and situation of a young factory worker (Arthur Seaton) faced with the inevitable end of his youthful philandering. It was adapted as a film by Karel Reisz in 1960, with Albert Finney as Arthur Seaton.

His story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, which concerns the rebellion of a borstal[?] boy with a talent for running, won the Hawthornden Prize[?] in 1959. It was also adapted into a film, this time directed by Tony Richardson, and starring Tom Courtenay (1962).

In 1990, he was awarded an honorary degree from Nottingham Trent University[?].

Sillitoe has written many more novels, and several volumes of poetry, listed below. His 1995 autobiography Life Without Armour was critically acclaimed on publication, and offers a view into his squalid childhood.


  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)
  • The General (1960)
  • Key to the Door (1961)
  • The Death of William Posters (1965)
  • A Tree on Fire (1967)
  • A Start in Life (1970)
  • Travels in Nihilon (1971)
  • Raw Material (1972)
  • The Flame of Life (1974)
  • The Widower's Son (1976)
  • The Storyteller (1979)
  • Her Victory (1982)
  • The Lost Flying Boat (1983)
  • Down from the Hill (1984)
  • Life Goes On (1985)
  • Out of the Whirlpool (1987)
  • The Open Door (1989)
  • Last Loves (1990)
  • Leonard's War (1991)
  • Snowstop (1993)
  • The Broken Chariot (1998)

Collections of Stories

  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959)
  • The Ragman's Daughter (1963)
  • Guzman, Go Home (1968)
  • Men, Women and Children (1973)
  • The Second Chance (1981)
  • The Far Side of the Street (1988)
  • Alligator Playground (1997)

Collections of Poems

  • The Rats and Other Poems (1960)
  • A Falling Out of Love (1964)
  • Love in the Environs of Voronezh (1968)
  • Storm and Other Poems (1974)
  • Snow on the North Side of Lucifer (1979)
  • Sun before Departure (1984)
  • Tides and Stone Walls (1986)

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