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20th April 2001
The Alan Sillitoe interview

Alan Sillitoe
The author contemplates
Although he now lives in London Alan Sillitoe is still a big fan of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

That's one of the reasons many of his novels are based in and around the city.

You no longer live in Nottingham. Are you still interested in what happens here?
I've written 25 books of fiction and half of those are based around Nottingham. I visit here five or six times a year. I have two brothers who still live here.

What do you think of modern day Nottingham?
The city has changed a lot, in some ways for the better. I'm impressed by the energy I always feel when I come here. One of my favourite haunts in my youth was the Lace Market. I like the changes they're doing there. I also like the way they've preserved the centre and outskirts of the city. I think the tram will be good for Nottingham. I've got vague memories of trams form my youth.

Birthday front cover
The front cover of Sillitoe's latest novel

What are your plans after Birthday?
I'll write another novel eventually. I'm always making notes in a notebook and they may form around characters. My inspiration comes from a number of sources - what I see, what I imagine, what I read.

Ever thought of retiring?
The energy and appetite to write is still there. A book can take two to three years to write. When working I can easily be in my room from 9.30am to midnight.

What's your method for writing?
I write in pen and ink then type up the pages. The next process is to correct the pages until you can hardly see the type. This is repeated several times. I work and work and work on the story. It can easily take 18 months of rewriting before I'm satisfied. I'm not one of these writers who, once something is down on paper, it can never be rewritten. Having said that every writer is different.

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