Sunday, 25 April 2010

Alan Silitoe - RIP Inspirational Literary Iconoclast & Working Class Hero

I sat watching the BBC Big Screen Leicester enjoying the uncommon sunshine, the intriguing short films and of course sports and news. To read 'Alan Silitoe has died' it was a shock, I felt sadness for his family and friends. I thought about his ground breaking and substantial literary legacy. I am part of that legacy this piece, this very project is inspired by his classic - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. I had fancifully imagined, stirred by certain literature colleagues from Nottingham, who knew him and often invited in to Nottingham. That I might have met him even...I had the details of his literary agency, I had tried to contacting them with no joy so far - as a curtesy..well we will see what happens in time but I know it changes everything somehow.... Just I had read 'belief, courage' on a mural on the street , done by young people celebrating the Special Oypmpics I turned to the attributes my character would need . How writers that come from working class backgrounds require these qualities, to overcome so much to write. How families, loved ones, of of the recently deceased need these qualties too. Yesterday there was walk of fame unveiled in Leicester , Sue Townsend (writer of Adrian Mole ) is celebrated and in between the lines of her brief profile, I felt there would have been so much struggle, for her to be able to write given the many challenges that were part of her everyday life . This can be all to common characteristic for would be writers from a working class backgrounds. That have little or no meaningful support for their literary ambitions. Has much changed today compared to the way Alan Silitoe and others like him, in the 50's stormed the literature world ? What writers are doing something like this in literature now ? Alan Siltoe, through the aforementioned work showed me what could be done , the importance of the authencity of 'voice' and the value of working peoples experience. Something I could deeply relate to and connect to on a number of levels . I do not know what more to say now, except that I did connect to the fact he wrote novels, stories but clearly also he wrote and enjoyed poetry. I will always wonder what he would have made of the work I was doing ? Would he have liked it or not ? I will no doubt look at the Alan Silitoe obituaries, retrospectives etc. etc. I had hoped to meet him one day, but not able to now, but I can be even more inspired - he would probably approved of that.

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