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Our Rebel Writers' Trail

30 March 14 words: Neil Fulwood
"An attempt to both raise local awareness of and pride in this aspect of our rich cultural heritage"
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There’s a piece of artwork on Station Street featuring Lord Byron, DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe under the banner Our Rebel Writers. Why those three?
Because they’re ‘ours’, as in they’re all more or less Notts writers: Lawrence and Sillitoe were born and raised in Eastwood and Lenton/Radford respectively, and Byron lived in Notts (in Southwell and at Newstead Abbey) from the age of ten (when he wasn’t at school and college or off gallivanting abroad). These three because they were all fine writers of their time, Lawrence especially being generally regarded as one of the best novelists in the world, and of course they were all rebels in their own way, all stubbornly individual yet all concerned with expanding the horizons of humanity in general and of the common people in particular. Us Notts folk should be massively proud of having such cultural heritage.

You represented the Alan Sillitoe Committee in bringing this project to life. Who else was involved?
Rob Howie-Smith from the Howie-Smith Project, a social enterprise supporting urban regeneration and the use of derelict spaces to create artistic opportunity for the benefit of the community.

Why Station Street? Is there any significance to the location?
The banner is on a building that has been renovated by the Howie-Smith Project. Now Station Street Studios, the building houses a second hand book shop, a darkroom, photographic studio and gallery, a recycled wood workshop, a sound recording studio and music rehearsal space, a dance studio, a performance space, a nail art salon, a tattooist and a hair salon!

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The three portraits are stark, immediate and iconic. Who’s the artist?
The immensely talented Nick Humphries, a local artist (from Beeston) who’s just as committed to bigging up local culture as LeftLion and The Sillitoe Committee are. Great credit should also go to Tilky for the graphic design layout.

A little birdie tells me this is just the first part of a much bigger project. What’s next?
The banner will hopefully be the first in a series of texts, including quotes from the trio above, installed in certain locations in Nottingham city centre in various forms/materials, though mostly on plaques, celebrating Nottinghamshire’s fine literary rebel (and wider rebel) heritage. This, along with a projected accompanying website and app, will form the Our Rebel Writers trail, an attempt to both raise local awareness of and pride in this aspect of our rich cultural heritage and to increase the already considerable number of people who visit our county to see the places our rebel writers spent many of their formative years.

When will the rest of the Our Rebel Writers trail start to come to life?
I’m sure that LeftLion will be the first to cover it, so watch this space!

The Alan Sillitoe Website

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