hidden europe 31

Sillitoe in Menton

by hidden europe


Alan Sillitoe's first publications, written during the brief spell that he lived in Menton in France, were travel essays. Sillitoe died in April, having achieved a formidable reputation as a novelist. We take a look at the lesser known side of Sillitoe's writing, namely his travel prose.

The death of Alan Sillitoe in late April 2010 robbed us of one of Europe’s great twentieth-century writers. The English poet Robert Graves once counselled Sillitoe with the terse enjoinder ‘stick to what you know’, words that surely nudged Sillitoe along the road to the literary acclaim that came with the publication of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

Grave’s advice may have served Sillitoe well in his early years, when the young writer was struggling to get anything published at all. Sillitoe lived in near poverty in Menton on the Riveria coast of France, and so hard up was the young writer that he often walked to Italy where groceries were cheaper.

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