In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess’s interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess’s list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.
In this episode, we talk to writer James Walker about Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe.
The novel follows Arthur Seaton, a rebellious young factory worker who works all week so he can spend the weekends drinking and fraternising with married women. Sillitoe’s writing celebrates the working-class spirit of Arthur, and is a vital, alive depiction of the Nottingham streets in which he lives.
Alan Sillitoe was born in Nottingham in 1928. He took up writing, living in France and Spain where he began writing Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. He died in 2010 after writing over 70 works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s stories.
James Walker is a writer who specialises in the fiction of Nottingham. He is a former member of the Alan Sillitoe Committee and created The Sillitoe Trail, a multimedia digital platform in which he explored the enduring relevance of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. His current project is Whatever People Say I Am, a comic series challenging stereotypes.
By Alan Sillitoe:
You can join the conversation and tell us which 100th book you would add to Burgess’s list by using the hashtag #99Novels on Twitter.
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The theme music for the Ninety-Nine Novels podcast is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, performed by No Dice Collective.