From an early age, geography and maps were a very important part of writer Alan Sillitoe’s life.
In the 1974 essay ‘Maps’ he remembers watching with ‘utter fascination when the teacher in school took a wheeled metal cylinder with a handle to it, rolled it on an inked pad, and then pushed it firmly across a blank page in my exercise book so that a perfect outline of Europe and North America was left gleaming on the page.’
‘It was the action of a magic wand, a device made by a wizard.’
Maps would have a more functional role to play during his adolescence when he joined the Air Cadets, and later still when he served as an RAF wireless operator in Malaya. When writing his Nottingham-based novels, Sillitoe always had a street plan to hand, alongside a one-inch scaled map of the area, enabling him to produce a definitive Nottingham landscape.
From this position he was able to ‘map the spiritual turmoil of myself and other people.’ We want to embrace the “spiritual turmoil” as Sillitoe himself did. To do this we’ve created a QR-coded trail for mobile devices exploring five key locations from the novel. These are the Old Market Square, The White Horse, Raleigh, the turgid Trent and the Goose Fair. At each location, some of Nottingham’s finest current writers will take you on a personal journey through that place and explore a range of themes inspired by it.
View Sillitoe Trail in a larger map