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Sunday, 25 April 2010

Alan Sillitoe Has Died

It has been a bad last few days for brilliant octogenarian writers and poets of Britain - first Peter Porter, now the legendary Alan Sillitoe, has died.  I find this very sad news indeed.  Sillitoe is one of the truly iconic voices of British writing of the post-war period, and his books and screenplays, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, are classics of the Kitchen Sink manner.  I had a most memorable dinner and drinks with Mr. Sillitoe at the Groucho Club a few years ago, and he was charming, funny, smart and slightly grouchy.  He had lots to say and great stories to tell.  He'd lived in Morocco with Tennessee Williams and knew Sylvia Plath.  He was a smoking advocate.  He was an Angry Young Man who didn't like the term.  He was a famous novelist for more than fifty years, and a good poet whose prose overshadowed that side of his writing.  Sillitoe is survived by his wife, the important American-British poet, Ruth Fainlight.  He will be missed.
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