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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > People > Profiles > One man library

Cover of Sterner Stuff by Stanley Middleton

Cover of Sterner Stuff

One man library

Nottingham author Stanley Middleton was prolific. He wrote a book a year and had 44 published.

While Nottinghamshire is keen to rave about local authors like DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe, writer Stanley Middleton seems to have been somewhat forgotten.

He shouldn't be.

He was one of the county's most consistent authors, averaging a book a year.

In 1974 he won the Booker Prize for his novel Holiday.

Author Stanley Middleton

Author Stanley Middleton

In 2005, at the age of 86, his book, Sterner Stuff, was published by Hutchinson.

In August that year he talked to BBC Radio Nottingham's John Holmes.

In part one of the interview he talks about:-

  • The use of the Nottinghamshire dialect in his novels
  • Growing up in Bulwell
  • Speaking at funerals

In part two he talks about:-

  • Book ideas
  • A hate of computers
  • The writing regime

In part three he talks about:-

  • Literary heroes
  • Changing place names
  • Creating time capsules

Stanley Middleton died on Saturday 25 July 2009. He was 89.

last updated: 28/07/2009 at 18:15
created: 25/08/2005

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Gladys Smith
I interviewed Stanley when I was at Mary Ward Teacher training college in the English Dept. I asked him if being a writer meant he had extra 'bumps' that made him sensitive and clever? He replied it was like being an onion with layers one was prepared to shed.

Tony Whelpton
I was at HPGS from 1944 to 1951, and my first encounter with Stan was in 1946, when he was with us on teaching practice while he was doing his Dip Ed at UCN. He was decidedly out of touch - I remember him talking at great length to us 13 yr olds about "emotive prose" - but later on we came to appreciate him much more.I was not one of his best pupils, and I always felt that he did not have a high opinion of me or my ability, but I saw him a few years ago at a school reunion, and he came up to me at once and said "Tony, I do love reading your letters in The Times" - it meant so much to me. I shall always treasure a letter I had from him a couple of years ago, two sides of A4, beautifully written, with fountain-pen, in his very small hand.I'm so sorry he's gone, but memories of him will stay with me for ever.

alex rae
Stanley Middleton was an excellent teacher and treated sixth formers with respect. He led a remarkable group of teachers in High Pavement's English department - Bill Smith, Ken Dobson and Bill Gray,all now sadly dead.Stan was also very active in school musical activities, singing in the school choir and playing double bass in the school orchestra, as well as being a talented pianist and organist.Incidentally,I note that 2 Old Paviors of my vintage (Erik Pommers and Paul Belshaw)have posted comments.

Chris Andrew
I was at HPGS with my twin brother David from 1950 - 1957. Stan Middleton was my English teacher in my 1st year and I have good memories of him. If his had been the casting vote I would have won the 5th form essay prize in 1955. (Stan was not at that time the senior English teacher). Contrary to Erik Pommers and Alan Snape I have many good memories of HPGS and most of the teaching was of a high standard. Mr Jackson (Maths) and Mr Worthy(Physics) were excellent.

Paul Belshaw
Stan was a true gentleman, an excellent teacher in the finest sense of the word. No education was complete at HPGS without his real insight into the greats of literature. You will find no-one with a bad word to say against him

Erik Pommers
I too loved the Stan Middleton interview. I went to High Pavement, from 1966-1973 and Middo was my English teacher for part of that time. It was great to hear his voice again. More pwer to him. It also got me thinking about some of the others like E.W.N. Smith and Bill Gray. As Alan Snape said, he is one of he few good memeories of High Pavement.

Alan Snape
The only master at HP who could hold the full attention of his class and one of the few worthy of recall. He also excelled with a blackboard duster at 20 feet. Spot on Moggo. Thanks for the few good memories I retain of HP also with memories if Wesleyian Chapel Bulwell organ.

Alicia Middleton
I kind of find it strange that an author named 'Middleton' has a character named 'Alicia.' We could even be second cousins or something. It is kinda weird, especially considering I'm pretty close in age to the character. I live in the US so it might actually be a coincidence.

barrie smith
Mr Middleton's first novel was 'A Short Answer', published as part of a New Authors series.'Harris's Requiem' was Mr Middleton's second novel: I chose it as the High Pavement Grammar School Fifth Form English prize in 1960 and it still has a prominent part in my affections.

Malcolm Atkin
It was lovely to hear your interview with Stanley Middleton.It brought back many memories as he used to teach me English in 1959-62 at High Pavement Grammar School.

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