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  • Alan Sillitoe R.I.P.

    Mon, 26 Apr 2010 04:49

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    The author Alan Sillitoe has died aged 82 at Charing Cross Hospital in London, his family has said. The Nottingham-born novelist emerged in the 1950s as one of the "Angry Young Men" of British fiction. His son David said he hoped his father would be remembered for his contribution to literature. (More via the BBC.)

    Following the death of Alan Sillitoe, one of the original Angry Young Men, Aleks Sierz assesses the movement's misunderstood legacy. (More via the Telegraph.)

    Some of Alan Sillitoe titles here at The Book Depository.

  • Howard Zinn R.I.P.

    Thu, 04 Feb 2010 04:12

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    Sad news: Howard Zinn, the great American historian, playwright and author of many books including the bestselling A People's History of the United States has died aged 87.

    The Boston Globe quote Noam Chomsky in saying: "He's made an amazing contribution to American intellectual and moral culture... He's changed the conscience of America in a highly constructive way. I really can't think of anyone I can compare him to in this respect."

    There is lots more information over at via

  • J.D. Salinger dies aged 91

    Fri, 29 Jan 2010 04:24

    J.D. Salinger, who shocked one generation and inspired another with a classic novel of teenage rebellion, died yesterday at home in New Hampshire, aged 91.

    This from the New York Times:

    J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died on Wednesday at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.

    Mr. Salinger's literary representative, Harold Ober Associates, announced the death, saying it was of natural causes. "Despite having broken his hip in May," the agency said, "his health had been excellent until a rather sudden decline after the new year. He was not in any pain before or at the time of his death."

    Mr. Salinger's literary reputation rests on a slender but enormously influential body of published work: the novel The Catcher in the Rye, the collection Nine Stories and two compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional Glass family: Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.

    Catcher was published in 1951, and its very first sentence, distantly echoing Mark Twain, struck a brash new note in American literature (more...)

  • J.D. Salinger R.I.P.

    Fri, 29 Jan 2010 04:07

    J.D. Salinger, who shocked one generation and inspired another with a classic novel of teenage rebellion, died yesterday at home in New Hampshire, aged 91.

    This from the Guardian:

    The writer, who avoided publicity and did not publish an original work over the past 45 years, was the creator of Holden Caulfield, the delinquent, alienated antihero of The Catcher in the Rye, which became required reading for generations of teenagers after its publication in 1951.

    But in recent years his reputation was tarnished by two accounts, one by a former lover and the other by one of Salinger's daughters, who painted him as a controlling and unpleasant eccentric.

    The Catcher in the Rye was praised by the New York Times on publication as "an unusually brilliant first novel". But while an instant hit with many, who related to its tale of adolescent angst and adult hypocrisy, it was met with alarm in other quarters. Some school boards made it required reading. Others banned it amid protests from parents over swearing -- including the frequent use of "goddam" and, more rarely, "fuck" -- as well as the bad example they believed Caulfield set (more...)

  • Stanley Middleton R.I.P.

    Thu, 30 Jul 2009 02:31

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    The 1974 Booker prize-winning author of Holiday, Stanley Middleton, has died aged 89. Middleton was critically vaunted, but is something of a forgotten writer even in the UK.

    This from the Guardian newspaper:

    Middleton, who lived in Nottingham [in the British Midlands] jointly won the Booker in 1974 for his quietly skilful novel in which a lecturer retreats to a seaside resort to escape the death of his son and the failure of his marriage. Ronald Blythe, reviewing the book at the time, said that "we need Stanley Middleton to remind us what the novel is about. Holiday is vintage Middleton. The result of Mr Middleton's analysis is so satisfying that one has to look at 19th-century writing for comparable storytelling." He shared the prize with Nadine Gordimer's The Conservationist.

    Middleton was remarkably prolific: his writing career spanned six decades and 44 novels, most of which were set in his home town of Nottingham, tackling the domestic lives of ordinary people. His most recent, Her Three Wise Men, was published in 2008.

    Tony Whittome, Middleton's editor for more than a quarter of a century, said he had been working on a new novel when he died after a long struggle with cancer.

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