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10 May 2010
University pays tribute to literary great

Tributes have been paid to the author Alan Sillitoe, who died recently.

A portrait of Alan Sillitoe

“With great sadness we pay tribute to Alan Sillitoe, one of the most significant British writers of the twentieth century,” said Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.
“His ambition to be a writer was ignited after wartime training, two years’ service in Malaya and a bout of tuberculosis. In an RAF sanatorium, he began to educate himself by reading classic literature, philosophy, and contemporary British fiction. In 1994, the University was proud to present Alan Sillitoe with an honorary Doctorate of Letters recognising his important contribution to English literature.
“Earlier this year one of our academic staff, artist Dr Edward Sellman, a lecturer in the School of Education, presented his portrait of Alan Sillitoe to the University. It hangs in the foyer of the Dearing Building on Jubilee Campus where the Raleigh factory once stood. Nearby, Sillitoe Court forms part of the Raleigh Park student village.”
Three years ago Sillitoe held court at The University of Nottingham’s London office in a special one-off Evening with Alan Sillitoe alumni event. Alan spoke for more than an hour, answered questions about his work and mingled and had photographs taken with an audience of former students of the University.

Professor Dominic Head, who runs the School of English Studies at The University of Nottingham, said: “Alan Sillitoe’s influence on the modern British novel is enormous. His portrayals of working-class life written in the late 1950s — especially Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, and The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner — are at the forefront of the last great wave of British class fiction; and also, arguably, the last significant phase of British regional writing.

“Nottingham takes great pride in Sillitoe’s achievements. His work extends into six decades, and he was awarded honorary degrees by both Nottingham universities in the 1990s. Yet his significance reaches beyond the region: he was a writer of national and international stature." 

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© The University of Nottingham 2009