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Stanley Middleton

Comic Release Date: April 2015

Stanley Middleton

Stanley Middleton (1 August 1919 – 25 July 2009) was a proper Notts lad. He was born in Bulwell and educated at High Pavement School and University College (Nottingham University). He was the author of 44 novels, publishing his first novel, A Short Answer (1958), at the relatively late age of 38. He averaged roughly one book a year after that. His fourteenth novel, Holiday, won the Booker prize in 1974. An honour he shared with Nadine Gordimer's The Conservationist. It was partly inspired by an essay by Auberon Waugh in which it was asserted that no good novel ought ever to have flashbacks. This was his way of politely sticking it to the establishment.

His novels explore the quiet everyday lives of middle-class professional men, many of which are set in the fictional town of ‘Beechnall’. He was interested in the ordinary everyday lives of people rather than exotic locations. This led one reviewer to describe his understated stories as like "cocking an ear to a radio with the volume turned down low. At first you don't pay much attention but pretty soon you get drawn in." Elsewhere he was referred to as “poet of the prosaic.”

Middleton was the son of a railway guard and spent his working life from 1947 as a teacher at his childhood school High Pavement, Nottingham. In 1958 he was made head of the English department until his retirement in 1981. Prior to this he completed two years of an English literature degree before being called up in 1940 to serve in the Royal Artillery in India, and later the Army Education Corps. He lived his entire life in Nottingham, moving only from Bulwell to Sherwood.

Stanley Middleton Facts
1: Stanley enjoyed painting in watercolours which he did in between writing his novels. His artwork appeared on the covers of Catalysts and Stanley Middleton at Eighty.

2: He was an accomplished organist, playing regularly at St Mark's Methodist Church, Ravensworth Road in Bulwell.

3: In 2006, a reporter for The Sunday Times sent the opening chapters of his Booker-winning novel Holiday to various publishers and literary agents. It was rejected by all but one.

4: All of his novels were published by Hutchinson. Rarely for an author, he never required a literary agent.

5: In 1979, Stanley refused an OBE on the grounds that he did not feel that he should be honoured merely for doing what he saw as his job.

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