Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated February 2009


Which book got you "hooked" on Shute and why did it have that affect ?

"The Far Country". Someone had left it in a study hall in high school in 1956. I picked it up and started reading it over Christmas break. I was hooked at once. A nicely plotted and paced story of a NEW and FAR AWAY LAND.

Which book did you like the best and why ?

"Trustee From The Toolroom" and "Round The Bend" Fantastic plot lines and visuals to die for. When you give Shute books to non-Shute readers, which one do you like to start them with ? (I never start them with On the Beach). I totally agree with NEVER starting them out on "On The Beach." That being said, "Pied Piper" An easy and forthright read, very satisfying.

Who are some of your favorite Shute characters ? Too many to due them all justice, but Keith Stewart and David Anderson stand out for me.

What do you do to promote Shute in this day and age ? I hope I make a decent contribution to this news letter periodically.


Which book got you "hooked" on Shute and why did it have that affect ?

I have no idea ! Since I was about 13 or 14 and have read them all more than once, I cannot recall but the 'hook' would have been aviation.

Which book did you like the best and why ?

Requiem For A Wren covers a massive canvas of space, time and characters. I like the way that it links events far in the past with those that have just happened and - throughout the story - it moves easily back and forth through that landscape. The events are not told in a linear fashion but, eventual it does all line up.

To cheat a little and take up a second book that competes very strongly: "In The Wet" and for similar reasons - the scope of time and place that Shute uses is long and wide and deep and high and . and .!

Having picked a second I will risk controversy and say that, "Alice" has never been one of favourites and I doubt that I will re-read it. No particular reason but I realised that 30 years ago and have not bothered with it again.

When you give Shute books to non-Shute readers, which one do you like to start them with ? (I never start them with "On the Beach")

I have not been in a position to do this for some time but agree that I would not start with "Beach". I would try to tailor the selection to the person I am encouraging.

Who are some of your favorite Shute characters ?

Not really sure about this as I just see the characters in their particular books. If I like the character, I will like the book and vice versa. I cannot select one character, there are many likeable ones. Thus, I like the characters from the two books I have mentioned but I like many more. Overall, I have been more drawn to those with an aviation and that is because aviation has been important in my family.

What do you do to promote Shute in this day and age ?

I can't say I do. Any friends of mine that are inclined towards books already know my interest. If I hear him mentioned, I surely encourage the conversation but my friends (I am 52) and my younger friends (40s and 30s)) are not inclined to try Shute, it seems.

Having already upset purists by rejecting "Alice", let me risk being expelled from the group by stating that I think, for many, Shute is already dated. Inevitably, any author will be associated with their time and place and it just depends how many people continue to identify with that time and place. Since people are still enjoying Shakespeare, there is no reason why Shute will not be around in 400 years but I think he will be less popular than other writers of his era, which I think is a pity.


From John Anderson

Online registration for UK2009 went "live" on January 17th, (by sheer coincidence the 110th anniversary of Shute's birth). To date I have 10 confirmed attendees from the UK, USA and Australia. The list of presenters is also developing and I am delighted to announce that David Weir, who has spoken at many previous Conferences, has kindly agreed to give the Keynote address. Even as I write I know that one other speaker is braving the elements to obtain material from original sources. The end of July might seem like a long way off, but there is still much to do in preparation and I look forward to further registrations over the next few weeks.

From Dan Telfair

Editor: Dan Telfair send me a request to publish an "add" in the Newsletter. This is something with which we do not normally deal, as we don't want the Foundation or the Newsletter to endorse buying or selling anything - even for members. However, I think a small exception in this case would be acceptable.

Shutists who attended OZ2001 will remember the excellent presentation given by Chris and Penny Morton about building their boat "An Old captivity". Chris and Penny have decided to sell the boat, and would be very happy if a fellow Shutist might be interested in buying it. Anyone interested can contact Chris and Penny at

Thanks, and regards from The Land of Enchantment,


From Mike Meehan


In the early 1950's as a kid of 14 I hadn't been inside many aircraft and only flown in one. I had sat in the cockpit of a Spitfire fighter during WW2 that our town had bought with our pennies and scrap aluminium, and by the time I was 14 my only flight had been in a DH Dragon Rapide and that had no toilet at all !

Therefore, when I read my first ever Nevil Shute book "No Highway" at that age I happily accepted it, when Monica Teasdale was encouraged by Mr Honey to sit in the Gent's toilet in case of ditching, that the aircraft had both Gents and Ladies toilets as pointed out to her by Captain Samuelson.

Later when I started to fly in airliners myself I discovered that only unisex toilets were provided. "Ah ha" I thought, "caught you out at last Mr Shute, the ladies and gents separate toilets on the Reindeer aircraft in No Highway was just something you invented to make a few interesting lines in the story". Or so I thought.

Recently the excellent British aviation magazine "Flight" celebrated its 100th year of publication. As part of a special edition they looked back at some of the iconic aircraft of the past. One of those was the DH Comet airliner of the early 1950's. They reproduced the cutaway drawing (see below) they had featured at the time showing also good internal furnishing details. Sure enough there in the rear were two toilets, Ladies to port side, Gents to starboard !

Passengers don't get that luxury these days and I suppose I really should have known better than to fault Nevil Shute on such a point of aviation detail. We all live and learn.

Click here for larger image, which Mike scanned from the magazine.


Please do check To whet your appetite, click here to view a short movie from previous Conferences.

I have already registered, and I can tell you that registration through the website is very easy and the whole thing is set up very professionally. If I didn't know better, I would believe that organizing conferences is the full time job for John and his team. Hope to see many of you in July in York.

Besides organizing York 2009 John has found time to write a piece called "Nevil Shute, Sailing and 'RUNAGATE'". I wanted to put it in the Newsletter, but it was rather long. Fortunately our webmaster David has put it on the web site. You can read it here.

Not a very long newsletter this month, but I think there are some interesting things in it. Remember the newsletter is made by us all, I just put it together. Material for the newsletter is always very welcome.


Write in if you want your name listed and would like to get together with other Shutists in your vicinity.


Jim Wells lives in Lindfield, Sydney
Richard Michalak lives in Paddington, Sydney
Ruth Pearson lives in Adelaide
Neil Wynes Morse lives in Canberra


Julian Stargardt


Bruce A Clarke lives in Bangkok


Jim & Kristi Woodward live in Broken Arrow (east of Tulsa), Oklahoma, USA.
Priscilla Pruitt lives near Bellingham, Washington State
Bill McCandless lives in Joliet near Chicago.
Joy Hogg, Harrietta Michigan (northern lower Michigan, near Traverse City and Cadillac)
David B. Horvath, dhorvath in the domain, near Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA.
Al Benkelman Warrenton, Virginia