Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated January 2009




In answer to Jay Hogg's questions, my memory of my first NS book is uncertain; probably it was "The Rainbow and the Rose," or possibly "No Highway." It would have been 40 years ago. For the next 30 years, I collected 15 or so NS paperback books with no idea that anyone else but myself took Nevil Shute seriously. My discovery a few years ago of the the website and the good folks at the Colorado NS Society were like a breath of fresh air.

I have given copies of "A Town Like Alice," or "Round the Bend" to introduce others to our favorite author.

I don't share a desire to promote Nevil Shute. His work speaks for itself. He seems to have the balance right between personal responsibility for one's actions and responsibility to society of other people. In the current time of class warfare rhetoric and me-first attitudes, Nevil Shute gets it right most of the time. Shute's characters challenge us to:

  • Solve our own problems,
  • help others, and
  • enjoy life.

It's OK to feel good at the end of the book. None of the NS characters typifies this better than Jean Paget.

Larry Dittmer, Basco, Illinois


I "discovered" Nevil Shute by reading a Reader's Digest condensed version of "Trustee From the Toolroom". I think it was in 1960. My mother had read it and thought I might like it. Over the years, I would pick up an NSN novel whenever I found one while browsing through bookstores. There was no internet until relatively recently, so it wasn't as easy as you might think to find NSN books, or to even know they existed. We take for granted that today we can select "Google", type Nevil Shute, and in minutes learn that his real name was Nevil Shute Norway, see a complete list of his books, read about his life, see pictures, and order virtually any of his books within a few minutes. It wasn't always that easy!

For more than 30 years I bought his novels when I found them and even dealt with a rare book dealer to find me first editions, some of them signed. I developed a love for all of NSN's novels, and found them almost narcotic in that they were a tranquilizing influence whenever I felt really stressed. I think that the underlying message in all of the novels, that there are plain, simple, intelligent, good, people in the world around me who quietly do extraordinary things for others, often with great but uncomplaining personal sacrifice, provides me with the reassurance that I need. It's my "comfort food" for stress.

But I thought I was unique. I thought Nevil Shute novels were a personal discovery, and that there was some goofy reason that his novels had such an impact on me. The wonder of the internet lead me to Dan Telfair who had set up a rather crude website concerning NSN. I found Dan while searching for NSN first-editions. At his urging, I went to the first "gathering" in 1999 in Albuquerque, celebrating the centennial of NSN's birth. It was here that the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation was born, and Dan Telfair is it's George Washington. In later emails with Dan, I think I coined the term "Shutist", but I'm not sure about that. (Some had referred to us as "Shutites"). I know that Dan coined "para-shutist" to describe a spouse that was keen, but not over-the-top, on NSN. It was at the "gathering" that I found out that I was not the only one who had "discovered" NSN. There were about a hundred of us who went all the way to New Mexico, just to talk about Nevil Shute and his books! And Nevil's daughters Shirley and Heather were there!

Later, thanks again to the internet, we learned that there are hundreds, even thousands, of "Shutists", and that they reside in places from Bulgaria to Thailand. And they are so enthralled by NSN, that every 2 years Shutists "gather", traveling to the UK, US, or Australia just to be together and talk about NSN and his novels. How extraordinary ! As for me, I read an NSN novel about every other month, and have at least 2 copies of each. I had three, but loaned many out and they never came home. You know how that works. My last read was "Checquer Board".

Best, Jim MacDougald, St. Petersburg, Florida


The UK2009 Conference budget is set and Registration will open in mid January. Registration will be online so please keep an eye on the Conference website which will provide further details and a link to the Registration page (through ). There will be full details of the Conference fee, methods of payment and the option of Day registrations etc. We will also provide information on booking accommodation either at the Conference Hotel or elsewhere. Already we have a good line up of speakers, plans for excursions, a themed evening, a quiz etc. So put the dates in those nice new diaries, year planners or calendars for 2009 - 26th to 31st July!

Happy New Year to all our readers,

John Anderson
Conference Manager UK2009


Foundation Vice President Resigns:

Our Vice President, and long-time Shutist, Art Cornel, has resigned from the Board and from his position as Vice President and Chief of Staff. The Assistant Vice President (Founder and original Member of the Board), Dan Telfair, has assumed the duties of Vice President and Chief of Staff for the time being. Dan will occupy the positions of Vice President and Chief of Staff at least until the next general Board election, unless a special election is called before then.

Members of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation will remember Art for the seminal work he did in organizing the first ever "Nevil Shute Society", founding two local Nevil Shute groups, hosting Cape Cod 2005, "finding" the Old Captivity stone, and a host of other contributions to the work on behalf of our favorite author. Art has told us that he is ready to retire from Foundation duties, but that his love for Nevil Shute and his writing is as strong as ever.

Good On Yer, Art!!

Scholarship Recipients Make Good

Several months ago, Dan wrote regarding one of our two US scholarship recipients, Alix Vivier, who used her scholarship to further her training, and qualify as a Commercial Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, and Air Transport (Airline) Pilot. Dan wrote that "Little Alix" who was our "gofer" at the Centennial Celebration, had earned her Instrument Instructor rating, given Dan a refresher instrument training check flight, and progressed to Captain of a regional airline. Alix was last seen wearing her four-stripe captain's epaulets, and being followed by a young copilot who was carrying her flight bag.

Good On Yer, Alix!

This month, Dan reports on our second US scholarship recipient, Swiss Citizen Ursula Drurrer. Ursula has now earned her Certified Flight Instructor rating, and is teaching and testing pilots at Double Eagle Airport in New Mexico, where Dan keeps his plane. Dan reports that he was about due for his biennial flight review and figured that since he had helped Ursula with her scholarship money, she would be nice and take it easy on his check ride. A word of advice: "Never take a check ride with a newly qualified instructor!" Ursula made Dan work harder than he has in years to pass his biennial check ride. Fortunately, Dan had a good day, so he still has his license and is free to continue flying for Angel Flight.

Good On Yer, Ursula!

Regards from The Land of Enchantment,



As well as being a life-long admirer of the novels of Nevil Shute I am also a movie fan and, in these days of VHS and DVD am also an avid collector of my favourite films - of which there are many hundreds. I have all the films or TV series made from the novels of NSN with, of course, the exception of Lonely Road. I have seen the film at the British Film Institute and have been in e mail correspondence with them to try and persuade them to publish it on DVD themselves - as they have done with some titles which they hold. They were very helpful but ultimately did not feel that this was a proposition for them. They did some research on the rights issue but, as I understand their responses, could not be clear where these were now held.

The website outlines how, some while ago, the Foundation managed to get hold of a copy of the film from the BFI and how that copy is subject to 'tight restrictions' regarding duplication. Is there anyway that - not just for me but for Shutists generally - the Foundation could revisit this issue and see whether, in co-operation with the BFI, the rights issue could be clarified and the possibility of a DVD release - ? in co-operation with the Foundation - considered. I am sure that Shutists everywhere would be supportive. The very limited availability of the film either at the BFI or at the Albuquerque Library is a real frustration. What do others think?


Each time you re-read Nevil Shute, you will begin to wonder how he makes us feel as if you are a part of the ambience he desribes. Whether it is Bali, Rangoon or the Royal Airforce base (Round the bend) you feel that you are surrounded by the characters and totally at home anywhere.

I some times wonder whether he had personally visited all the places he described so well in all his books- Brattalid, Australian outback, Canada - you name it, the description is authentic and so visual.

His characters come alive in each page, and are so unchangeable, that one could predict the way they are going to behave in a given set of circumstances. That is his greatness.

I don't know how many more times I can read his books and savour more each time.

I am sure all his fans share my views about re-reading his books

Subrahmanyam Gadepalli


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

Happy New Year to you all. As you have read in John Anderson's message, registration for UK2009 will start this month. Hope to see many of you in York in July.

From a cold, snowless and grey Holland, until next month.

Joost Meulenbroek


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