The British Library has acquired the archive of the British Caribbean poet and writer, James Berry OBE. James Berry, one of the first black writers in Britain to be widely recognised for his work, came to Britain as part of the first major wave of immigrants from the Caribbean in 1948. His archive which includes literary drafts, poetry notebooks, diaries, photographs and notes for an unpublished novel, provides a real insight into his life and work. Notes and heavily annotated drafts particularly illustrate his creative process and meticulous attention to detail.
For more information and images of items from the archive please see the British Library website - http://pressandpolicy.bl.uk/Press-Releases/British-Library-acquires-the-archive-of-Caribbean-British-poet-and-writer-James-Berry-5d2.aspx.
Manuscripts and archives of modern and contemporary UK writers continue to be sold to institutions abroad, despite the efforts of publicly-funded collections in the UK.
The UK Literary Heritage Working Group was established in March 2005 to explore the issues surrounding their dispersal and to take forward a national strategy through
Concern about the dispersal of UK literary heritage was first expressed in the 1950s, when Philip Larkin led the campaign, and the issues were raised again by Sir Nicholas Goodison as part of his review to HM Treasury, published in January 2004. In September 2004 the Working Group was established under the Chairmanship of Lord Smith of Finsbury, who stepped down in December 2006.
A 2-day conference was held 19-20 October 2006 to address the issues.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair of the Working Group is Rt Hon Lord Howarth of Newport, Minister for Higher Education 1990-92 and Minister for the Arts 1998-2001. Lord Howarth is a Trustee of the Poetry Archive and Chair of the Trustees of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Foundation. He is also Vice President of the All Party Parliamentary Arts and Heritage Group and Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Archives Group.
Manuscripts Still Matter, the second conference of the UK Literary Heritage Working Group will be held at the British Library on Monday 30th April 2012. The conference will consider the situation for archival institutions, archive creators, and a broad range of users given the changing financial and political climate since 2006.
The day will begin with discussion of the situation for literary archives since 2005 and later sessions will consider the archives sector as a whole. The programme includes a session on the use of archives by the Creative Industries, which will include the British Library's Artist in Residence, Christopher Green, and discussion of funding of the heritage sector with the Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Carole Souter, and others. An in conversation session with poets and writers, Wendy Cope, Ruth Fainlight, Ferdinand Mount and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, will consider the feelings of writers and poets on using archives, and seeing their own papers archived. Finally the programme will include a series of short presentations on different literary archive collections designed to demonstrate the vibrancy of the UK archives and manuscripts sector that the Working Group wishes to champion.
Conference fees (including buffet lunch and refreshments): £20. Please direct any enquiries to Helen Melody (email@example.com). To make bookings, please go to the British Library website at http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event129607.html.
An unknown theatre sketch entitled ‘Umbrella’ by 2005 Literature Nobel Laureate, Harold Pinter has been discovered at the British Library. The sketch was found in the British Library’s Lord Chamberlain’s collection by an independent researcher, Ian Greaves.
Until 1968, all new plays had to be licensed by the Lord Chamberlain before performance, and the Chamberlain's office retained a copy of every play. ‘Umbrellas’ was originally part of a revue entitled ‘You, Me and the Gatepost’, which was licensed by the Lord Chamberlain on 24th June 1960 and performed at Nottingham Playhouse on the 27th of that month. 'Umbrellas’ is an early example of the many sketches that Pinter wrote throughout his career. Like the initial drafts of many of his later works, it takes the form of a dialogue between A and B with characteristic long pauses after every line, giving the short sketch a running time of around ten minutes.
Jamie Andrews, Head of English and Drama at the British Library claims: “Discovering this previously unknown work not only underlines the richness of the British Library's Lord Chamberlain's theatre collection, but also offers an exciting and important opportunity for all lovers and scholars of Pinter to study a piece of writing that even the writer himself had not retained."
A one day conference entitled Literary Translators: Creative, Cultural and Collecting Contexts will be held at the British Library Conference centre on 3rd October 2011 between 9:00am – 8:30pm.
The conference has been jointly organised by the British Library, the Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts, the British Centre for Literary Translation, the University of Birmingham, Poet in the City, the Polish Cultural Institute and the Lithuanian Embassy. Keynote lectures will be given by Adam Thirlwell (novelist and author of Miss Herbert) and Daniel Hahn (British Centre for Literary Translation, University of East Anglia); and participants will include Rebecca Carter (Commissioning Editor, Random House), Ruth Fainlight (poet and translator), Michael Frayn (playwright), Rosie Goldsmith (journalist and broadcaster), Hamid Ismailov (journalist and writer), Robert Chandler (poet and translator) and Ros Schwartz (Chair, Writers in Translation Committee at English PEN).
The conference aims to bring together translators, academics, postgraduates, writers, publishers, librarians and archivists to examine the various relationships and contexts around literature in translation. Speakers and delegates will explore the collecting of translators’ papers as a research, educational and creative resource alongside questions including publishing models for translation, the creative dynamics of translation and differences between genres, academic and popular responses to literature and translation, and the political and socio-cultural contexts in which literary translation originates and is received. The conference seeks to have impact beyond the day itself, cultivating collaborations and initiating opportunities for delegates to pursue innovative research, business and creative projects in the future.
It will be followed by an evening event, Czeslaw Milosz: A Centenary Celebration (Chaired by David Constantine, editor of Modern Poetry in Translation).
Conference fees (including buffet lunch and refreshments): £35 / £25 students. Please direct any enquiries to Rachel Foss (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andrea Lloyd (email@example.com). For full conference programme and to make bookings, please go to the British Library website at http://www.bl.uk/whatson/events/event123995.html
The British Library has acquired the archive of the critically and popularly acclaimed poet, Wendy Cope. The hybrid archive, encompassing material in both paper and electronic form, comprises 15 large storage boxes as well as an extensive collection of email correspondence and Word files. The archive contains literary drafts and correspondence dating from 1973 until the present day as well as some of the poet's juvenilia. Wendy Cope said of the acquisition that "I regard it as an honour to have my archive in the British Library and I am delighted to have found a good home for it in the UK."
For more information about the archive and its acquisition see the British Library website.
The Bodleian Library and Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach (German Literary Archive) have jointly purchased an archive of letters by Franz Kafka to his sister, Ottla. The purchase is believed to be the first time that a literary archive has been purchased jointly by two institutions in different countries. Researchers will be able to access the archive in both institutions alongside their existing Kafka collections. Further information about the acquisition can be found on the Bodleian website.
This month the British Library is hosted two evening events, which illustrate the diversity of literature in the UK. The first event on Tuesday 12th April is Between Two Worlds: Poetry and Translation, which is a celebration of the 'Between Two Worlds' recording project conducted. Poets including Imtiaz Dharker, Lydia Grigorieva, Ravil Bukharaev, Saqi Farooqi and Mimi Khalvati who were involved with the project will read at the event.
The second event, 'Every Day of the Week': A Celebration of the Life and Work of Alan Sillitoe is being held on Wednesday 20th April. This event celebrating the life of the novelist and poet will include readings, memories and music with contributions by Richard Bradford, Peter Chasseaud, Tansy Davies, Margaret Drabble, Elaine Feinstein, Alan Jenkins, Miranda Seymour and D.J. Taylor.
The writer, John le Carré has donated his archive of literary drafts, correspondence, family papers and photographs to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Le Carré said of the acquisition, ‘I am delighted to be able to do this. Oxford was Smiley’s spiritual home, as it is mine'. The author is particularly famous for his series of novels about the espionage featuring the character, George Smiley.
For more information about the archive and its acquisition see the Bodleian website.
GLAM, the Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts has recently launched its new website, which integrates the content from the previous URL with the GLAM blog. Please see the website for more details about the group's work with literary archives and manuscripts.
The British Library has acquired the collection of awards and honours presented to writer and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter during the course of his long career. The UK national library – which acquired Pinter’s archive in December 2007 – received the awards through the Acceptance In Lieu (AIL) scheme.
Read the full press release. Photographs from this year's PEN/Pinter award ceremony at which Lady Antonia Fraser presented the British Library with Pinter's Nobel Prize to mark the transfer of the collection to the Library can be viewed via Flickr. See the British Library's Modern Theatre blog for a full listing of the awards and honours within the collection.
A new light is shed on the Larkin collection at the Bodleian Library with the publication of a new book, Letters to Monica, edited by Anthony Thwaite and published by Faber and Faber in association with the Bodleian Library. The book contains correspondence between Philip Larkin and Monica Jones, who was Larkin's lover and closest confidante for over forty years. The correspondence, which consists of nearly two thousand letters, postcards and telegrams was acquired by the Bodleian Library in 2004.
See the Bodleian website for further details.
GLAM, the Group of Literary Archives and Manuscripts has set up a GLAM blog in addition to its existing webpages, which enables members of the group to post information of interest to fellow members and others. The blog will include news of accessions, new catalogues available online, publications, exhibition openings and visiting speakers. Why not subscribe to the blog and find out more about events and developments relating to literary archives?
The British Library has acquired a significant collection of letters sent by former Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath to Olwyn Hughes, Ted Hughes' sister. The archive contains 41 lettters from Hughes and Plath along with literary papers, including early poetry and prose drafts and some previously unpublished material. The letters dating from between 1954 and 1964 shed light on Hughes life and early career and complement existing Hughes holdings.
Read the full press release.
Minutes of the UK Literary Heritage Working Group meetings are available to download here in PDF format:
Minutes of the 24th Meeting
Minutes of the 23rd Meeting
Minutes of the 22nd Meeting
Minutes of the 21st Meeting
Minutes of the 20th Meeting
Minutes of the 19th Meeting
Minutes of the 18th Meeting
Minutes of the 17th Meeting
Minutes of the 16th Meeting
Minutes of the 15th Meeting
Minutes of the 14th meeting
Minutes of the 13th Meeting
Minutes of the 12th Meeting
Minutes of the 11th Meeting
Minutes of the 10th Meeting
Minutes of the 9th Meeting
Minutes of the 8th Meeting
Minutes of the 7th Meeting
Minutes of the 6th Meeting
Minutes of the 5th Meeting
Minutes of the 4th Meeting
Minutes of the 3rd Meeting
Minutes of the 2nd Meeting
Minutes of the 1st Meeting