Correspondence from Alan Sillitoe (born 1928), novelist and playwright, to his nephew,Patrick Cawkwell, (fl 1968-1991), 1968-1991

Scope and Content

The collection comprises a sequence of correspondence from Alan Sillitoe to his nephew PatrickCawkwell, dating from 1968 to 1991. The 23 letters provide advice to Cawkwell on writing novels aswell as giving details of Sillitoe's activities and the places to which he had travelled. Thecollection also includes a letter from Tony Gaughan to Patrick Cawkwell, perhaps sent by Cawkwell toSillitoe.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alan Sillitoe was born in 1928 in Nottingham, the son of a tannery labourer. At the age offourteen Sillitoe left school and worked in a number of jobs in Nottingham factories. He then servedin the Royal Air Force, as a wireless operator. He was sent to Malaya, and on his return wasdiscovered to have tuberculosis. Sillitoe spent sixteen months in a RAF hospital, and during thisperiod, he began to write and read intensively. He was pensioned off at the age of 21 and then spentseven years living in France and Spain to assist his recovery. Sillitoe married Ruth Fainlight, anAmerican poet, in 1959.

Alan Sillitoe has written more than 50 books including novels, plays, poetry, travel pieces,children's books and over 400 essays. Encouraged by Robert Graves, Alan Sillitoe decided to writehis first novel, The Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (London: W.H. Allen, 1958). A yearlater, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (London: W.H. Allen, 1959), a collection ofstories with which he won the Hawthornden Prize, was published; followed closely by his first bookof verse, The Rats and Other Poems (London: W.H. Allen, 1960). Among Sillitoe's otheracclaimed works are The Ragman's Daughter (London: W.H. Allen, 1963), A Start in Life(London: W.H. Allen, 1970), and Birthday (London: Harper Collins, 2002).

Sillitoe's nephew, Patrick Cawkwell, was living in Nottinghamshire during the period of thecorrespondence in this collection. The correspondence is in part concerned with Cawkwell's literaryaspirations and advice from his uncle about publication. Cawkwell wrote at least two unpublishednovels: a fantasy called 'Icecreamland', and 'Fanningtails'.


The letters in this collection have been arranged chronologically.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to all registered readers.


Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for this collection. Copyright in thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

REPROGRAPHIC: Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and privatestudy purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must besought in advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and SpecialCollections (email Department will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but this is often difficult andresponsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishingto publish.

Custodial History

The collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts andSpecial Collections in 1992.