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Alan Sillitoe

‘There’s no such thing as sobriety, duck’ - Arthur Seaton.

Special powers: Fearless Beligerence
Comic Release Date: Feb 2015

Alan Sillitoe

Alan Sillitoe (4 March 1928 – 25 April 2010) was a prolific English writer who wrote fiction, poetry, scripts, children’s stories and travel essays. He left school at 14 having failed the entrance examination to grammar school and worked at the nearby Raleigh factory in Radford. He later joined the Royal Air Force where he served as a wireless operator in Malaya.

After returning to England, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent 16 months in an RAF hospital. After being pensioned off at 21 on 45 shillings a week, he moved to France and then Spain for seven years in an attempt to recover. It was here, while living in Mallorca with American poet Ruth Fainlight, that he penned Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958), the story of a hard-drinking, womanising, factory operator called Arthur Seaton.

The novel was originally rejected by mainstream publishers who feared it was too gritty and possibly offensive to the working classes it portrayed, and that the author in exile had no experience of the life he described. Of course the opposite was true. Sillitoe had grown up in chronic poverty and witnessed his illiterate, violent father Christopher imprisoned for the crime of being unable to pay for food acquired on tick, while his mother, Sabina, had at one point turned to prostitution to provide for her family.

Alan Sillitoe Facts
1. When writing his Nottingham-based novels, Sillitoe always had a street plan to hand, alongside a one-inch scaled map of the area, enabling him to produce a definitive Nottingham landscape.

2: Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple, mentioned in his book iWoz that he was heavily influenced by the character of Colin Smith in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1960)

3: Sillitoe stubbornly refused to allow any editors to tinker with his work.

4: In the Seventies, Sillitoe campaigned on behalf of Soviet political prisoners. One of them he helped to deflect was Anatoly Kuznetsov.

5: The Sillitoe Trail is a literary heritage trail that explores themes from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and was created by James Walker and Paul Fillingham for Arts Council England and the BBC and was hosted on the digital arts platform The Space in 2013. A Sillitoe Trail iPhone App is also available.

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