Books: Inspirations - Writer Alan Sillitoe

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The music

I wrote a long novel in 1969 called A Start in Life while listening to Handel's Messiah playing over and over again. I had begun my book as a short story but must have been carried away, or inspired, by the music.

The play

The language and tension in many of Harold Pinter's plays enthralls me.

The place

Nottingham, where I was brought up, has always seemed an interesting and lively town to me. On visits there to see my two brothers we go round the pubs we have known all our lives, and by the end of the evening I have enough stories to last for as long as I can go on writing.

The film

As a youth I saw George Arliss starring in Alfred E Green's Disraeli and in one scene that great Prime Minister fell asleep in the House of Commons while his political adversary was making a speech. This struck me as an effective ploy when dealing with rivals.

The artwork

Constable, Turner, and Delacroix. The illustrated Phaidon Press pocket books on Constable and Delacroix which came out around the end of the Second World War have given much solace on my travels. And the beautiful and sensitive figures of sculptor Bernard Sindall.

Alan Sillitoe's new novel `The Broken Chariot' is published by Flamingo (pounds 16.99)