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Alan Sillitoe profiled in 'The Guardian'

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Joined: 25 May 2002
Posts: 63
Location: Bristol, England

PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 10:07 am    Post subject: Alan Sillitoe profiled in 'The Guardian' Reply with quote

Alan Sillitoe, another writer who knew Robert Graves in Mallorca, this time in the Fifties, is the subject of a profile by James Campbell published in the Guardian on Saturday 3 April, 2004.

Alan Sillitoe (he and his wife, the American poet Ruth Fainlight, often attend or speak at Robert Graves events) has always acknowledged the influence that Robert Graves had on his early writing, and in particular the choice of subject for his bestselling first published novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. As James Campbell writes in his profile of Sillitoe, Conflict Zones:

'Graves's advice to the industrious, unsuccessful Sillitoe was well-worn but sound: "Why don't you write about Nottingham, which is the place you know best?"'

Campbell goes on to discuss the often-recurring subject of war, as well as Nottingham, in many of Alan Sillitoe's novels and a Gravesian connection with that too:

'Graves had been a soldier in the first world war, surviving the battle of the Somme only by a miracle, and Sillitoe admired that side of him as much as any other. War is a subject he feels obliged to deal with, "because that was the voice of the 20th century, the voice of Mars, god of war". Several of Sillitoe's novels have a military theme, including Leonard's War, The Lost Flying Boat, The Widower's Son. In Key to the Door, his third novel, he introduced the character of Brian Seaton, Arthur's brother, sending him out to serve in the Far East, as the author himself had done. The novel is important in Sillitoe's output, establishing the Seaton family and their Nottingham background as points of connection through different novels. "I've always had the comédie humaine of Balzac in mind," he says. "I will eventually delineate the dozen or so Nottingham novels in their order and say: This is a comédie humaine set in Nottingham. It's a literary ambition, that."'

To view the complete article, click on the link above or the following URL: http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/generalfiction/story/0,6000,1184613,00.html.

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