Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated June 2011

Letters to the Editor

From Laura Schneider

Thanks to those of you who have already registered for the Nevil Shute's Seattle Conference in September. It is a thrill each time I open my e-mailbox and see new registration. If you haven't checked out the schedule lately, please do so at The Speakers, their topics and brief bios are there for you to see. I cannot wait to hear what they have to share ! Some participants have asked which books they should read before coming to Seattle. Certainly Trustee from the Tool Room and I would also suggest Requiem for a Wren "Breaking Wave", Beyond the Black Stump (more Pacific NW than Seattle) and On the Beach. Our presenters will let me know which books they also suggest and I will post them here next month. Questions? Comments? Please contact me at

From Fred Weiss

In the last issue of the Newsletter I announced a Cover Design contest for John Anderson's forthcoming biography of Nevil Shute to be published by The Paper Tiger.

We received a number of outstanding entries - honestly more than we expected. We could easily have selected any of several of them. But the winning entry "knocked our socks off".

It was submitted by Linda Robinson, a native of Michigan, who brought to it decades of experience in industrial advertising, graphic design, and technical illustration. Here it is:

By way of update, preparations for printing of the book is in its final stages. We expect to submit a final version to the printer within a week or two. After review of the "proof copy", it will then go to press, probably in July, but no later than August. So copies will definitely be available for the conference in Seattle - and John will be in attendance, happy to sign copies !

In addition of course it will be available for purchase at all the major on-line book sites, such as

We will have an update announcement in the next issue of the Newsletter.

From John Anderson


A few weeks ago Queen Elizabeth made an historic visit to Ireland. It was the first state visit by a British monarch to Ireland since the visit of her grandfather King George V in 1911.

As the royal motorcade swept down O'Connell Street (formerly Sackville Street.) it passed the magnificent General Post Office building with its classical style front. A year after King George's visit Arthur Hamilton Norway (Nevil Shute's father) took up his appointment as Secretary to the Post Office in Ireland. As Head of the Post Office in Ireland he had his office on the first floor overlooking the street. On Easter Monday 1916 he was in the G.P.O. building when he received a phone call to go to Dublin Castle for an urgent meeting. He left the building just minutes before the Sinn Fein rebels seized it and declared it the Headquarters of the Provisional Irish Government. He had a very lucky escape. Later on Nevil, aged 17, walking up towards the building to collect his father for lunch, saw the rebels fire on a troop of Lancers killing four of them. These were the first, and probably the only, soldiers he saw killed. As he writes in Slide Rule he spent the rest of that week as a stretcher bearer for the St John Ambulance, not without personal danger, and on one occasion rescuing a severely injured civilian in St Stephen's Green.

By the end of the week the Post Office building was a ruin having been shelled by the British Army. Some of the Norway's treasured possessions, locked in Arthur's office safe were lost. The subsequent execution of rebel leaders and the ensuing Irish Civil war left a legacy of bitterness towards the British that lasted for decades. This was reflected in the comments of the Regan brothers in Beyond the Black Stump, characters based on a real Irish family living in Western Australia that Shute met in the mid 1950's.

The Queen's visit was truly historic as she honoured both those who fought for Irish independence as well as the thousands of Irishmen who died fighting with the British in World War 1. As one news commentator put it "memories take a long time to fade in Ireland".


Dear fellow Shutist's, a very short newsletter this month. I just hardly had any emails from you. Please remember that we are writing the newsletter together. Or rather, you are writing it, and I'm just editing. So if you have anything to say, topic related of course, please don't be shy, email me.

Just on a personal note. My daughter asked me, when I came back from Alice Springs, if she could come with me to the next conference that would be held in Australia. I agreed to that, if she would read Nevil Shute’s books, and if she liked them. She is now reading the books, in English (she's 13), for school and loving them. Until now she has read A Town Like Alice and Trustee from the Toolroom. I'll have to start saving.

From Holland where summer has started, see you all next month.