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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Part of the Harper Perennial Modern Classics Series


The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

From the author of `Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' comes these stories of hardship and hope in post-war Britain.The title story in this classic collection tells of Smith, a defiant young rebel, inhabiting the no-man's land of institutionalised Borstal. As his steady jog-trot rhythm transports him over an unrelenting, frost-bitten earth, he wonders why, for whom and for what he is running.A groundbreaking work, `The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' captured the grim isolation of the working class in the English Midlands when it was first published in 1960s. But Sillitoe's depiction of petty crime and deep-seated anger in industrial and desperate cities remains as potent today as it was almost half a century ago.


`I have read nothing to compare with it.
Penelope Mortimer

`Sillitoe writes with tremendous energy, and his stories simply tear along.
Daily Telegraph

`All the imaginative sympathy in the world can't fake this kind of thing. It must have been lived in, seen, touched, smelled: and we are lucky to have a writer who has come out of it knowing the truth, and having the skill to turn that truth into art.
New Statesman

`Graphic, tough, outspoken, informal.
The Times

`A beautiful piece of work, confirming Sillitoe as a writer of unusual spirit and great promise.

`A major writer.
Malcolm Bradbury

About the Author

Alan Sillitoe

Alan Sillitoe was born in 1928, and left school at fourteen to work in various factories until becoming an air traffic control assistant with the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1945. He enlisted in May 1946 into the RAFVR, and spent two years on active service in Malaya as a wireless operator. At the end of 1949, he was invalided out of the service with a hundred percent disability pension.

His first stories were printed in the ‘Nottingham Weekly Guardian’. In 1958 ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’ was published and ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’, which won the Hawthornden prize for Literature, came out the following year. Both these books were made into films.

Further works include ‘Key to the Door', The Ragman’s Daughter’ and ‘The General’ (both also filmed), ‘The William Posters Trilogy, A Start in Life, Raw Material, The Widower’s Son ‘- as well as eight volumes of poetry and ‘Nottinghamshire’, for which David Sillitoe took the photographs. His latest novels are ‘Her Victory, The Lost Flying Boat, Down From the Hill, Life Goes On, The Open Door, Last Loves, Leonard’s War,’ and ‘Snowstop’. He has also published his ‘Collected Stories’ and his autobiography, ‘Life Without Armour’.

Alan Sillitoe died in April 2010.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th July 2007


Alan Sillitoe

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HarperPerennial an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


176 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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