Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Sillitoe mss. II, 1950–1996, consist of the papers of writer Alan Sillitoe, 1928– . Sillitoe was born in Nottingham, England, the son of a tannery laborer. He left school at 14 to work in a bicycle plant, and later joined the Royal Air Force. He served as a radio operator from 1946–1949 in Malaya, and, upon leaving the service, was found to have tuberculosis confining him to bed for many months. A blessing in disguise, Sillitoe received a small disability pension and so was able to pursue his dream of "learning to write." His first novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was proclaimed by some critics as the finest novel of 1958. The Loneliness of the Long–distance Runner (contained in a short story collection of the same name) firmly established his literary reputation the following year. Both novel and short story have been translated into numerous languages, made into films, and performed on stage and on television. Sillitoe has written and published a number of other novels, in addition to magazine and newspaper articles, poetry and many short stories.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; and, III. Miscellaneous. The correspondence is mostly with colleagues and friends, including: Yehudi Amichai, Leonard Baskin, John Bratby, H.M. (Hillel Matthew) Daleski, Robert Graves, Polly Hope, Glyn Hughes, Ted Hughes, Christopher Logue, Aharon Megged, John Sawkins, Josef Śkvorecký, and Benjamin Tammuz. The writings contain drafts and manuscripts of articles, novels, poems, scripts, short stories, speeches and translations, both published and unpublished, including manuscripts for The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Miscellaneous items include: financial papers and hundreds of clippings. An inventory to the collection is available.

Acquired: 1998.

Collection size: 3,500 items

Related manuscripts: Sillitoe mss., Sillitoe mss. III

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.