Sillitoe Day 27 October 2012

The Alan Sillitoe Committee is a voluntary organisation committed to raising awareness of one of Nottingham’s most prolific writers by putting on a series of events, the proceeds from which go towards a statue fund. Sillitoe Day is the biggest event in our calendar and falls every two years.

Our second Sillitoe Day is of particular significance as 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. It is also the 125th anniversary of Raleigh, the workplace of Sillitoe’s fictional anti-hero Arthur Seaton. The Committee will also be celebrating being one of 53 organisations commissioned to produce content for a new multimedia platform called The Space, and will launch the ‘Sillitoe Trail’. This is a unique Mobile Phone App that creates a literary walk through Sillitoe’s debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, visiting five key locations on its journey.

Sillitoe Day will be split into two sessions. The morning session (11-1) will see the launch of the Sillitoe Trail Mobile App which will be presented by Paul Fillingham and I. Paul has captured the 1950s aesthetic of the project through some beautiful visuals. He’s also the tech monkey, creating the Smart Phone App and generating the QR Codes etc. I’ve edited together the written content; selecting the writers and creating the narrative.

The morning session will examine five key locations from Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Old Market Square, The White Horse, Raleigh, Trent and Goose Fair) with commissioned writers Al Needham, Derrick Buttress, Pete Davis, Ann Featherstone and me. There will also be videos from Alex ‘MotaMouf’ Young and Andrew ‘MulletProofPoet’ Graves and a short film from the British Film Council Collection called How a Bicycle is Made.

The afternoon session runs from 2 – 5 and is a more general celebration of Sillitoe’s work. It includes the launch of The Open Door, republished by Five Leaves; Sam Derby-Cooper will be showing his short film Mimic, based on Alan’s acclaimed short story, and the wonderful Frank Abbott will be previewing his special remix of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning . 

We’ve got two keynote speakers. Michael Eaton MBE will be exploring Sillitoe’s Nottinghamshire, basing his talk on the book of the same title that Alan produced with photographs from his son, David. William Ivory will be in conversation with Neil Fulwood about social realism, fresh from the success of his wonderful play Diary of a Football Nobody which is currently showing at the Playhouse. Closing comments will be from David Sillitoe.

Sillitoe Day has also given us the opportunity to bring in two organisations who we treally admire. The Bookcase is an independent bookshop from Lowdham run by Jane Streeter, who was a long term pen pal of Alan’s. Eva from In Spades Design will also be selling her beautiful line drawings of Nottingham locations (my favourite is of the old Players factory) as well as mugs with quotes from Nottingham based culture (‘It’s thirsty work falling down stairs’)

Please support us by coming along and spreading the word. And if you can’t make it, get out a Sillitoe book from the library or download our Sillitoe Trail for free from The Space (available 27 October).

Twitter: We are using #SillitoeDay

Article on Sillitoe Day in LeftLion

Sillitoe Trail EXCLUSIVE preview of Mobile App

“For it was Saturday night, the best and bingiest glad-time of the week, one of the fifty-two holidays in the slow-turning Big Wheel of the year, a violent preamble to a prostrate Sabbath. Piled-up passions were exploded on Saturday night, and the effect of a week’s monotonous graft in the factory was swilled out of your system in a burst of goodwill.”

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)

The Alan Sillitoe Committee was one of fifty three organisations selected to produce content for The Space, an experimental multimedia platform funded by Arts Council England in collaboration with the BBC. We are the only literature organisation outside of London and stand proudly next to the London Review of Books and Faber and Faber.

For our commission we have presented a virtual tour on The Space of Sillitoe’s seminal novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) which follows the adventures of Arthur Seaton, a hard-grafting Raleigh factory worker out for a good time in 1950s Nottingham.

The Space was developed to see how cultural content could be distributed by Web, Mobile, Tablets and Connected TV. Now we are releasing the Sillitoe Trail in three forms: A limited edition book which will be available at Sillitoe Day on 27th October, a downloadable eBook, and as a Mobile Phone App. All three forms enable readers to follow a literary trail through Sillitoe’s Nottingham and have been assembled over a six month period, using content generated via social websites and written by our commissioned writers.

The Mobile Phone App

The Sillitoe Trail App is a literary trail for iPhone, designed for use on-location and exploring five key themes and spaces from the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. A version is also being released to cater for non-Apple smartphone devices such as Google Android, Blackberry and Microsoft. However, it is the Apple iOS iPhone version which boasts the most advanced features.

The Themes

Each location on the Sillitoe Trail explores a distinct theme which asks how modern-day issues would be dealt with by Sillitoe’s chief protagonist Arthur Seaton, should such a thing be possible.

1: Old Market Square

Our first location is Old Market Square where Derrick Buttress, a contemporary of Sillitoe, examines the decades leading up to 1958.

2: The White Horse

Al Needham takes over and imagines where Arthur Seaton would be drinking in 2012 now that the White Horse pub has been turned into a curry house.

3: Raleigh

Pete Davis records the testimonies of former Raleigh workers to see how accurate Sillitoe’s portrayal of factory life is and we wonder whether Arthur would now find himself at a digital lathe?

4: Trent

James Walker goes fishing near the “turgid Trent” and wonders whether Arthur 2012 would be able to find solitude in the digital age.

5: Goose Fair

Our final stop is the Goose Fair where historian Ann Featherstone takes us back to the Victorian period to show it’s always been home to elaborate hoaxers, fighters and scoundrels.


At each location are photographs, facts, audio, videos and text, offering users many ways through which to interpret Sillitoe’s novel. Arthur Seaton also interjects along the way in a slot entitled ‘Seaton Rifles’ although his adversaries are never far behind.

By using a variety of different media, it is hoped that Alan Sillitoe’s writing can reach new audiences and rekindle interest in those already familiar with his work. In the few months of The Space we have seen an explosion of local talent submitting images, stories, poetry and music ranging from Jazz to Beatbox.

The Sillitoe Trail iPhone App brings to life many previously unseen photographs from picture and film libraries such as the BFI, British Council and Nottingham County Archives. The built-in picture gallery looks great on the iPhone 4’s high-resolution ‘Retina’ screen and has been especially designed to take full advantage of the very latest iPhone 5 with it’s 16:9 widescreen display.

Portrait orientation provides access to a rich selection of pictures, text and audio, whilst landscape orientation reveals a full-width gallery with detailed zooming of HD images that can be viewed in each location to compare historic with present day imagery.

The Sillitoe Trail iPhone App also has a built-in QR-code reader which triggers playback of audio directly from the Sillitoe Trail Handbook and other signage along the trail. Because media is pre-loaded, the App provides smooth playback even in areas where there is no mobile signal available.

Sillitoe’s Legacy

Features that do require WiFi or 3G connection relate to external websites, additional maps, trails, images and social media feeds; all designed to extend the experience with fresh content and submissions from the general public.

Social feeds in particular are hoped to stimulate further debate on the themes of the trail and the App will encourage the creation of smaller walks or cycle routes through the city that could be used by local storytellers, individuals and organisations involved in cultural and destination tourism.

We hope that the Sillitoe Trail project will continue to present be a lasting legacy and stimulate interest in the Alan Sillitoe Memorial Committee’s objective to establish a permanent recognition of his work.

Alan Sillitoe loved maps and loved Nottingham too, so this location-based App seems a most fitting way to pay tribute to a career that put the city and it’s people on the literary landscape.

How to get the Pre-Release App

A Pre-release Beta of the Sillitoe Trail for iPhone App is being made available to a limited number of partners, journalists and reviewers. Please contact the digital developers thinkamigo to obtain the necessary provisioning certificate and a copy of the software. Installation is via your iTunes Account. We will require some details from your iTunes Account in order to process your request. For more info email Paul Fillingham paul (AT)

You can also Pre-register for the App at and we will notify you when the Sillitoe Trail App becomes available for free download in the App Store.

Contact Information:

For Press Enquires, suggestions, comments or questions about the Sillitoe Trail, please contact James Walker by email: james (AT)

For technical support and any digital production queries, please contact Paul Fillingham by email: paul (AT)

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Follow Arthur Seaton on Twitter @thespacelathe

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Screenshots and logos will be available shortly in the Sillitoe Trail Press Centre:

Tickets are available for Sillitoe Day (27.10.12) via the Nottingham Contemporary website: