Alan Sillitoe

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Sillitoe, Alan,

1928–2010, English writer, b. Nottingham. The son of an illiterate tannery worker, he grew up in poverty, left school at 14, and was himself a factory worker as a teenager. One of the angry young menangry young men,
term applied to a group of English writers of the 1950s whose heroes share certain rebellious and critical attitudes toward society. This phrase, which was originally taken from the title of Leslie Allen Paul's autobiography, Angry Young Man
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 of the 1950s and 60s, Sillitoe achieved widespread acclaim (and remains best known) for the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958, film 1960) and the short story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959, film 1962). These early works are blunt, realistic accounts of the narrow existences, alienation, and rebellions of working-class Englishmen. Sillitoe published more than 50 books, including poetry, e.g., Barbarians (1973), essays, e.g., A Flight of Arrows (2003), travel books, e.g., Gadfly (2007), children's literature, e.g., Marmalade Jim at the Farm (1980), and other novels, e.g., The Widower's Son (1976), Out of the Whirlwind (1988), and Birthday (2001), and short-story collections, e.g., The Ragman's Daughter (1963, film 1974), The Second Chance (1980), and New and Collected Stories (2003).


See his semiautobiographical family history, Raw Material (1973, repr. 1987), and his autobiography, Life without Armour (1995, repr. 2004); biography by R. Bradford (2008); studies by A. R. Penner (1972), S. S. Atherton (1979), P. Hitchcock (1989), G. M. Hanson (1999), and J. Sawkins (2001).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sillitoe, Alan


Born Mar. 4, 1928, in Nottingham. English writer.

The son of a worker, Sillitoe served with the British air forces in Malaya from 1946 to 1949. Early in his career he was strongly influenced by the ideology and literary methods of D. H. Lawrence. Sillitoe’s first novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958; film of the same name, 1960), determined his literary approach: the depiction of worker protagonists rebelling against the boredom of everyday existence; other examples were the novels Key to the Door (1961; Russian translation, 1963) and The Death of William Posters (1965).

Although Sillitoe critically depicts human relations in an industrial society and portrays the life and mores of workers, he does not envision an ideological and political quest on the part of his heroes (the novels A Tree on Fire, 1967, and Travels in Nihilon, 1971). In 1972 he published the autobiographical Raw Material. Sillitoe visited the USSR in 1963.


The General. London, 1960.
The Ragman’s Daughter, and Other Stories. London, 1963.
Road to Volgograd. London, 1964.
The Flame of Life. London, 1974.
In Russian translation:
Odinokii begun. Moscow, 1963.
“Nachalo puti.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1973, nos. 8–11.


Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskaia literatura: XX vek. Moscow, 1967. Pages 356-67.
Ivasheva, V. V. Angliiskiedialogi. Moscow, 1971. Pages 464-505.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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| RUNNING FREE: Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Colin in a new stage production of Alan Sillitoe's, The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner, staged by Pilot Theatre
IT MAY have been written more than half a century ago, but it turns out it's needed hardly any tweaking to bring Alan Sillitoe's The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner bang up to date.
ALAN Sillitoe''s classic The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner comes to the Liverpool Playhouse this month.
A new stage version of Alan Sillitoe's short story, presented by York-based Pilot Theatre, is at Gala Theatre from October 9 to 13.
In the novels and plays written by authors such as John Osborne, Thomas Hinde, and Alan Sillitoe we find language being used as the primary way of expressing uncertainty concerning masculine gender roles and responsibilities, namely the confusion over how those roles and responsibilities should be defined.
Based on the novel The General by Alan Sillitoe, it co-starred Maximilian Schell, Anton Diffring and Leslie Nielsen.
In notable ways, this film parallels Alan Sillitoe's 1959 novel "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner." Each story is about a rebellious youth who is sent to a penal institution for having committed a robbery.
The Crookes' mutual love of D H Lawrence, Evelyn Waugh and Alan Sillitoe inform their kitchen sink tales of broken hearts and bloodied knees, which are set against a backdrop of '50s rock'n'roll and '80s indie classicism.
Take Alan Sillitoe, add Jarvis Cocker with more hard-won wisdom, a vodka cocktail and unquenchable romantic hopes and you've got Garvey.
A PROLIFIC playwright, novelist and social critic, no-one captured the plight of the working class quite like Alan Sillitoe.