New edition of 'forgotten' Alan Sillitoe book is launched in Nottingham
THE widow and son of Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe were last night at the launch of a new edition of one of his novels.
The Open Door is a lesser known work of Sillitoe.
It is thought to be his most autobiographical and follows Brian Seaton, the older brother of Arthur Seaton, the protagonist of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
Nottingham publisher Five Leaves has reprinted the book in hardback.
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It was launched last night at Bromley House Library, Angel Row, in the presence of Sillitoe's widow Ruth Fainlight and son David Sillitoe.
Ms Fainlight said: "I'm very pleased about the reprint.
"I think it's very important to keep his work out there and especially this one because it's directly connected to Nottingham."
Mr Sillitoe jnr, one of the people behind Alan Sillitoe Day and the push to get him a permanent memorial in the city, also believes the book is still very relevant.
"Any writer's book catalogue can drift into obscurity and it's really important to keep these books in the public eye because they are still as relevant, if not more so as they were when they were written," he said.
"There's a new generation of writers and artists and members of greater society that need to read these books.
"People think books date and some do and some don't, but the themes that run though this book are timeless."
The Open Door follows Brian Seaton as he returns, sick with tuberculosis, from Malaya and military service in 1949, a fate which befell Sillitoe himself.
Other fans were at last night's launch. For Neil Fulwood, 40, of Teviot Road, Bestwood Estate, it was the novel that made him connect with Sillitoe.
He is now a member of the Alan Sillitoe Committee and gave a reading from The Open Door at the launch.
"For me Alan has been the author of the most truthful and clearly sighted novels I have ever read," he said. "I think for a lot of people Alan is still defined by his first two books and I think there's a great deal who don't realise Saturday Night And Sunday Morning is the first book of four.
"It's brilliant that this one has been republished."
Another committee member, Mark Shotter, 52, of Albany Road, Sherwood Rise, had yet to read the book.
He said: "I've just bought it in this fantastic reprint.
"I've read quite a bit of Alan's work but there's some in his middle period which I haven't read and it's great that this one is getting a reprint and more attention."
For Nottingham-based Five Leaves, reprinting The Open Door was a twist on their long-running tradition of printing a hardback edition of a forgotten book by a Nottingham writer.
Publisher Ross Seaton added: "Although Alan Sillitoe is hardly a forgotten writer, that particular book seems to get a bit lost."