He was one of the Angry Young Men* of British fiction who emerged in the 1950s and drew material from their disaffection with traditional British society, and is best known for his novel Saturday Night And Sunday Morning (1958) which was also filmed and starred Albert Finney. (See the trailer here.) His short story The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Runner was also filmed with Tom Courtenay in the lead role. He also published several volumes of poetry, children's books and plays.
Silitoe came from a working class background. He left school at 14 and worked in a bicycle factory in his native Nottingham before serving in the RAF. He was posted to Malaya during The Emergency as a radio operator and said about it:
I didn’t want to help in this war. If I had had an opportunity to help the guerrillas I would have done so.He was invalided out of the service with TB and later drew on his experiences for a novel, The Open Door.
More on the Angry Young Men from The Telegraph.