Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: December 2018


Suffragette Stories, 6 December

UEA and Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service hosted a celebration at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library to mark 100 years since women first voted in a general election in the UK. The event launched a physical archive exhibition curated by students from Broadland High Ormiston Academy. The exhibition, which ran throughout December, included material from the Kenney Papers and stories of local suffragettes and a showcase of the numerous intergenerational workshops held throughout Norfolk involving school children, who interviewed community residents in libraries on how women’s roles have changed since women first voted in 1918.

The launch also heard readings from an anthology of stories written by established and emerging writers, school children and other community members to be published online by UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) throughout 2019, to remember forgotten suffragettes and to recreate the suffragette tree plantation which was sadly destroyed in the 1960s to make way for housing.

Suffragette Stories is a partnership between the UEA and Norfolk County Council Library & Information Service, and is generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A digital exhibition of 100 digitised items from the Kenney Papers archive is nearing completion and will be launched online at the end of February 2019.


The suffragette display curated by Norfolk school children was on display at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library throughout December.


Creative Writing module visit, 6 December

This module, delivered by Kate Moorhead-Kuhn, explored the manuscripts and working process of novelist Sara Taylor. 7 attendees.

Shore (9)

Manuscript of The Shore


Fisher Theatre, Bungay

Legal documents on the theatre from 1790-1886 have been made available to the board of trustees of this former theatre building. Collection description.

G.S. Callendar Archive


Guy Callendar’s notebook on CO2, 1939-1940.

A Swiss online magazine, Republik, has published an article on climate change which describes Callendar’s painstaking audit of weather station data across the globe and his resultant theory of global warming in response to rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

Tinkler Theatre Collection

A couple from Great Yarmouth have visited to trace their relatives’ performances in the early 20th century. They were known as the ‘Two Magnets’ and performed in concert halls from 1890-1924.

UEA Collection

• The BBC has asked for contact details of the estate of the late Lord Oliver Franks (former Chancellor). They hope to re-run a recording of his 1954 Reith Lecture.
• The Students’ Union are gathering photographs of all former SU Presidents. The Archives holds an album of portrait photographs of all presidents from 1968-1980. The rest are scattered throughout UEA magazines.

Zuckerman Archive

An academic has visited to read the children’s essays describing the blitz in Hull. This is a collection of over 2,000 essays and is a rare resource of children’s first-hand accounts of their wartime experiences. More on the essays.

Special Collections

There were 19 requests.


Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: November 2018


UEA Staff Association visit, 21 November

Over a lunchtime visit staff enjoyed a behind the scenes tour and discovered some of the treasures that lie in the depths of UEA Library. After an informal talk they could browse displays of literary archive material, including manuscripts from authors who have studied creative writing as part of the UEA MA in Creative Writing. Also available were working drafts from crime writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, the nature writing archives of East Anglian writers Mark Cocker and Roger Deakin and original letters between leading suffragettes. 10 attendees.

Workers’ Educational Association, Norwich branch, 24 November

Visiting members received an introduction to the British Archive for Contemporary Archives (BACW) and wider archive. They received a presentation which provided insight into how the collections came into being at UEA, their value and how they are being used in teaching. Jos Smith (BACW Director) held a workshop focussing on Naomi Alderman’s The Power.


A display from the Kenney Papers (suffragette archive) has been installed at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library. The display is curated by Norfolk school children as part of the HLF Suffragette Stories project. Young and old within local communities have had the opportunity of connecting through the archive. The display is open to the public throughout December.


MA in Literary Translations (MALT), 1 November

Students were introduced to literary and translation archives. Lecturer Tom Boll led the session on reading and writing literary translations. 5 attendees.

MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction), 7 & 8 November

The works of Sara Taylor were the focus of two teaching sessions held by Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) lecturer Kate Moorhead-Kuhn.  22 attendees.

LDC UG Living Modernism, 7 November

This session, run by LDC lecturer Nonia Williams, used the collections as a background for social studies of the twenties and thirties. Material was included from across the collections, from minimalist domestic living in thirties London (Pritchard Papers), to Doris Lessing’s views on Virginia Woolf, printed ephemera from theatre collections and the diaries and memoirs of suffragettes. 10 attendees.

Analysing Film and Television (Art, Media and American Studies (AMA) UG) module, 26 November

Students were able to work with the screenwriting scripts of Charlie Higson (The Fast Show and Monstroso) and Malcolm Bradbury (Dalziel and Pascoe and Porterhouse Blues) and gain insight into what it takes to make a career in the creative arts.

The session was developed by Emily Walker, current UEA PGR in comedy television, and Curatorial Assistant for the TV Comedy Writing Collection, within the BACW, (CHASE-funded placement). 5 attendees.

LDC UG Reading Texts, The Grass is Singing, 27 November

After receiving an introduction to copyright and the handling of archival materials, the students gained familiarity with the letters written between Doris Lessing, her agent and publishers in her quest to bring The Grass is Singing to print. They photographed themselves using the collection and were able to include a couple of love letters by Lessing to John Whitehorn from the forties. The session was supervised by Jos Smith. The photographs will be made available to the Archives and UEA’s Media Library.


Introductory sessions were delivered to 21 volunteer bloggers, some of whom we hope will write some interesting blogs on items selected from our collections.



Enquiries and visits have related to Graham Greene, Virginia Woolf, Ann Quin and Barbara Kingsolver.

Kenney Papers (suffragettes)

A scholar who is re-creating an Edwardian dress has asked for information on the dress worn by the suffragettes.

Pritchard Papers (architecture and design)

• A curator from RIBA has visited to consult papers on designers, in particular László Moholy-Nagy.
• New information on copyright ownership has emerged for a couple of sought after photographs of László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius. This has already assisted two publishers who wish to use them.
• Speeches by Walter Gropius have been requested by a researcher in the US.

Long chair leaflet designed by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Roger Deakin Archive

We assisted with an enquiry on the East Anglian ceramic artist Mary Newcomb.

UEA Collection

We’ve helped answer questions on where in the Library marks the join between the original building by Lasdun (1968) and the first extension by Feilden & Mawson (1974); and how the authors of Concrete and Open Skies settled on the title.

West corner. Originally just 10 bays, the building extended to 16 as part of a second phase extension (Feilden & Mawson, 1974)

Other enquiries related to the Sex Pistols (a cancelled UEA gig in the sixties); and the eighties Crawl Club (a social drinking club at UEA).

Zuckerman Archive

A research visit focussed on the correspondence between Zuckerman and Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

Special Collections

There were 16 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: October 2018


UEA Library 50th anniversary

A display to mark the anniversary has been set up in the Library foyer. This combines archive as well as contemporary material to show some of the changes the Library has undergone over the last 50 years. Alumni have been sharing their memories and these have been gathered together in a series of blogs. More.

Public Event: Suffragette Stories: Exploring the Legacy, 13 October 2018, The Forum, Norwich

Fifty two members of the public attended an Archive event to celebrate October 13 1905 when the ‘Votes for Women’ banner was first raised at the Free Trade Hall in 1905 by Annie Kenney. Talks from leading historians Krista Cowman and Lyndsey Jenkins shed light on the struggle against inequality of little known activists like the Kenney sisters, whose archive are held at UEA, and considered the uneven progress of gender relations since. The UEA Archive’s Writer in Residence Fiona Sinclair reported on the activities of our HLF project. More.


MA Biography & Creative non-fiction (LDC PGT) with Andrew Kenrick, 16 October

© Estate of Roger Deakin

The current cohort visited the archive for a session exploring non-fiction writers’ archives held at UEA including those of Lorna Sage, Roger Deakin and Mark Cocker. The session also explored how non-fiction writers can research archives and use the material for creative inspiration. 16 attendees.

Charlie Higson – author, scriptwriter, actor and musician – returns to UEA to share ideas on breaking into a creative career

Charlie Higson

A day of scheduled student sessions with comedy writer Higson took place on 17 October. Emily Walker (comedy archive PhD placement) interviewed Higson about his archive. A Q&A session (led by Brett Mills) on the comedy writing and performance industry followed; students were able to sit in and ask questions. Individual seminars on the creative process followed with small selected groups of students asking specific questions for discussion. Emily Walker, has written a blog about the visit. 16 attendees.

MA Gender Studies (HUM) – Feminist Research Methods Module, 9 October

blog post image AK postcard votes for women

Annie Kenney

Students visited the archives of suffragette sisters, Annie and Jessie Kenney, and explored the legacy of working class suffragettes. A graduate of last year’s cohort, Laura Noon, and an Unboxed volunteer with the archive during 2017-18, has published a blog drawing on the archive material. 12 attendees.

Creative Writing Workshops with Fiona Sinclair, 12 October

Our HLF funded Writer in Residence, Fiona Sinclair, held creative writing workshops with undergraduate students interested in submitting to the Suffragette Stories anthology. More. 4 attendees.

Suffragette Stories Archive Research Day (Fiona Sinclair, Kate Cooper and Stanislava Dikova), 15 October

The Suffragette Stories project team made selections from the Kenney Papers archive. Children in schools, including Wroxham, then ‘curated’ the final selection. The material will be on display at the Millennium Library (The Forum, Norwich) throughout December. An event to celebrate the project, and launch the creative writing anthology, will be held on 6 December at the venue. 3 attendees.

The BACW featured at UEA Open Day, 20 October

Twenty nine prospective students and their parents visited the Archive to discover how students work with archive material during their studies.

MA in Literary Translation (MALT) – seminar with Tom Boll, 23 October 

Students visited the archive of literary translator, David Bellos, to understand his process. 11 attendees.

Anthony Vivis Archive

A request was received from a US university for a copy of a translation by Vivis of a playscript by Rainer Fassbinder. The copyright holder has been traced and permission granted.


Some of the enquiries and visits we’ve received:
• a creative writing student sought material for a character sketch
• a student of prose fiction enquired about authors who use scrap-books and collage to inform their work
• a couple of our students have been in to read the letters of J.D. Salinger
• a lecturer enquired about access to a BBC recording of a Samuel Beckett interview
• a Gender Studies student viewed the Kenney Papers to see how the suffragettes viewed the struggle in the decades following
• a PhD student in Germany sought lectures delivered by W.G. Sebald at UEA
• a volunteer at Felbrigg Hall sought audio recordings of lectures delivered in the sixties at UEA by Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer.

Images for publications

The Archives have assisted publishers and writers with high quality images for forthcoming publications. Two separate publications relate to the Pritchard Papers and one to the Roger Deakin Archive.

UEA Collection

• The Archives have found photos of a Science lecture theatre for Estates in order to gain a sense of the original look and feel. Other enquiries related to the History of Art, the Library’s carrels, and early UEA artwork and designs.

• Five alumni from 1968 visited the Library and Archives and enjoyed looking at past student handbooks and press-cuttings albums. They subsequently shared with us some of their memories of the Library.

Zuckerman Archive

Papers relating to Zuckerman’s career as Chief Scientific Advisor, nuclear and chemical defence policy have been consulted by an academic from the University of Milan and a student from the London School of Economics.

Special Collections

There were 12 requests.

Charlie Higson – author, scriptwriter, actor and musician – returns to UEA to share ideas on breaking into a creative career

A guest blog from Emily Walker, current UEA postgraduate researcher in comedy television, and Curatorial Assistant for the TV Comedy Writing Collection, within the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, as part of her CHASE-funded placement.

On October 17, the UEA’s British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) hosted Charlie Higson: writer, actor, director, and Archive depositor, for interactive student sessions discussing scriptwriting, novel writing, television, and the creative industries.

Higson, whose prolific credits include the BAFTA winning classic TV sketch comedy The Fast Show, and the bestselling book series Young Bond and The Enemy, is a UEA undergraduate alumnus and received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2014.

Since his graduation in 1980, Higson has been a frequent visitor; during my six years at UEA he has appeared at three separate student-oriented events (all of which I have been lucky enough to attend) but his willingness to help students extends much further back. I recently found a letter from a UEA student dated 1997 thanking Higson for his visit and advice.

With a nearly 40-year history with the university, UEA is the natural home for the Charlie Higson archive, a huge collection of Higson’s writing drafts, notebooks, sketches, and the occasional drawing. The archive material is revealing of Higson’s creative methods and his career development and is already used in teaching. In discussion with the BACW Archivist, Dr Brett Mills, Curator of the Comedy Writing Collections at UEA, felt it was a natural progression for the Archive to host seminars and masterclasses with the writers themselves.

Based on my own experiences, I suggested students would benefit most from working with Charlie in smaller groups. Students from across Humanities were encouraged to apply for the opportunity – from foundation year to post graduate. Successful applicants were then offered the chance to meet the man himself and ask personal questions about his life and work.

Higson ran a Q&A session chaired by Brett Mills and a series of three small-group sessions tailored to the research interests of the applicants (scriptwriting, comedy, and fiction). The students were aspiring novelists, stand-up comedians, film-makers, and actors, and they were encouraged to ask specific questions about their career aims.

Over three hours, Higson provided so much insightful and practical advice that to list every piece would fill volumes. Instead, I have picked out five key points:

1. Do your research (but not too much). If you are looking to write a script, read them as well. Higson specifically recommended the Withnail and I script (written by Bruce Robinson) and the book How Not to Write a Screenplay by Denny Martin Flinn (currently £0.01 used on Amazon, so there’s no excuse). Still, be prepared for the research to end because otherwise the writing may never begin.

2. Find a writing partner. “I definitely think it is much easier to write comedy with someone else”, a statement that chimes with his many collaborations in television comedy, especially with long-time comedy partner Paul Whitehouse. Higson met many of his writing partners at UEA, and believes that complementary skills, such as organisation and ideas, can be very beneficial.

3. Create world, character, and story. Higson listed three elements to writing a novel or screenplay: start by creating a world (it can be a vague image, no need to be Tolkien-esque), then find the characters, and the story should grow out of this combination. It is also important to know the ending, because “you can take as many detours as you want along the way”, and “it is the everyday things” that can make a world seem real.

4. If you have writer’s block, work on a few projects. Instead of struggling with one story, why not try working on a few projects at once? James Cameron, when tasked with writing Rambo and Alien sequels at the same time, would work on one until he ran out of ideas, and then swap to the other and repeat the process. However, “if you’re really stuck,” Higson suggests, “something is fundamentally wrong”.

5. “Have a life”. Imagination will play a big part in crafting stories, but having experiences will be vital in creating believable situations and dialogue. Since Higson started writing after UEA while working as a painter/decorator, he had a bank of experiences to draw on. Family can be a big help too: Higson says that reading his young adult horror fiction to his children helps to gauge whether the stories are scary enough.

The student response was overwhelmingly positive. On the anonymous feedback forms, attendees all classed the sessions as “Very good” or “Excellent” and considered the sessions creatively and professionally inspiring. Here are some of the comments:

“Charlie was friendly and easy to talk to while also providing wise and valuable advice. I loved the casual setup of the session.”
“Practical with humorous anecdotes: interesting insights on the creative process.”
“First-hand experience in hearing from an accomplished writer and former UEA student.”
“Just hearing how a career can develop fairly organically was incredibly reassuring.”
Many of the students said they had gained “confidence” in their abilities, felt more “energised” by the experience, and were encouraged to ”write more” and “collaborate” in the future.

One student even said Higson had inspired him to “enjoy life!” In fact, the only repeated recommendation was that they wanted more time, a factor we will be absolutely delighted to increase next time (Higson’s schedule permitting).

Dr Brett Mills (AMA), who chaired the event, in his role as curator of the comedy strand of the Archive, said:

“It’s fantastic to have Charlie on campus again, giving invaluable advice and support to our students who are keen to do all kinds of creative work. The student feedback shows how much such events are valued. I’m particularly glad that comedy – often an ignored genre – is given its prominence here, and Charlie was able to give encouragement to students keen to make others laugh.

The Archive’s comedy strand represents a significant intervention into the kinds of culture and creative activity that typically gets kept for posterity – and events such as this show how invaluable it is for teaching and research. I know I’m looking forward to Charlie’s next visit as much as our students are.”

For those who didn’t attend the seminar, there are still plenty of ways to find out more information. The Charlie Higson Archive in the BACW collection http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw  is full of fantastic material from his extensive career, which would be an excellent starting point for any budding writers. In addition, as part of my work placement with the archive, I conducted an interview with Higson which will eventually be available in the archive for researchers. And of course, since Higson is a frequent visitor, it would not be unreasonable to hope for another seminar very soon.

Emily Walker, current UEA postgraduate researcher in comedy television, and Curatorial Assistant for the TV Comedy Writing Collection, within the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, as part of her CHASE-funded placement.

Annie Kenney: War before Suffrage

An Unboxed blog from Laura Noon.

blog post image AK postcard votes for womenAnnie Kenney was the first suffragette to perform militant action for the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) when she asked Sir Edward Grey and Winston Churchill during a Liberal rally at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester:

‘If you are elected, will you do your best to make Women’s Suffrage a government measure?’

Ignored several times, Annie, together with Christabel Pankhurst, who had accompanied her, began to shout the question. When asked to leave, they did not. She was offered a fine, which she refused to pay. Kenney subsequently faced three days imprisonment for this protest, the first of thirteen jail sentences.

Annie Kenney’s committed fight for women’s voting equality was courageous and her devotion to justice lasted a lifetime. This was evident in 1944, thirty years after woman’s suffrage, when she stood in opposition to a film production about the suffragette movement, believing that it would bring ‘neither a tear, laugh or sigh to the cinemagoer’.

Jill Craigie, a feminist documentary film maker, had set out to produce a dramatisationof the movement. She wrote to Christabel Pankhurst and Kenney, asking for their co-operation. As a keen admirer of the suffragette movement, Craigie promised to use their correspondence to depict, to the best of her ability, historical accuracy.

Kenney responded with trepidation, questioning the sensitivity of the timing. She contended that a film about the suffragette movement would insensitively depict the brutality of the First World War in conjunction with the suffragettes, in the midst of the “Slaughter of the Innocents” that was the Second World War.

In her reply to Craigie, she wrote: “Mothers’ sons are giving their fresh young lives and shedding their clean blood so that mankind can breathe and live as free men in a free world.”

Kenney, having aided Lloyd George in 1914 and served her country in War as loyally as she served the movement, understood the current hardship that faced the nation. She strongly believed that, if the film were to be made, she and Pankhurst should not be included in it.

Kenney wrote: “…Until happier and more peaceful days return, we must do the duty that lies nearest to our hand and put on one side all retrospection of the past, keeping our eyes fixed on the present, looking forward to a brighter future, for in this way we serve the highest and the best.”

Kenney’s perception of the “very small and insignificant” women’s struggle embodied her altruistic nature, as she considered the welfare of those fighting the bigger battle to be of more significance than her personal fight for women’s voting equality.

Craigie didn’t produce a script about the suffragettes until 1951. Entitled “The Women’s Rebellion”, it was broadcast on the BBC Home Service radio station on 13 March 1951.  Kenney and her family were upset with Craigie’s depiction of Annie, which they believed to be too focused on her attire and on her class than on her contribution to the fight for women’s suffrage. Jessie Kenney wrote to the BBC and a meeting was held to discuss the matter.

Craigie subsequently apologised to Annie for any distress caused and the play was never re-broadcast.

An Unboxed blog from Laura Noon, Graduate of the MA in Gender Studies, University of East Anglia


Further Reading:

Correspondence between Craigie, Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst and other Kenney family members, relating to this episode, can be found within the Kenney Papers Archive at UEA. [Reference: AK/5/2 BBC Radio Play, ‘The Women’s Rebellion’, 1951]

Access a full listing of the Archive: https://portal.uea.ac.uk/library/archives/kenney

Suffragette Stories

During 2018-19, the University of East Anglia is digitising 100 items from the archive, to celebrate the centenary of some women achieving the vote as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project, in partnership with Norfolk County Council’s Library Service. The archive material is also being used in libraries and schools across Norfolk to prompt discussion about forgotten legacies and women’s equality. Find out more about the project here: https://suffragettestories.omeka.net/

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: September 2018


• Heritage Open Days

Muriel Spark Lit Fes showing (02) 080918On 8 September, the Forum in Norwich kindly provided their Auditorium free of charge for the rescreening of Muriel Spark’s appearance at the Arthur Miller Centre Autumn Literary Festival in 2001. It’s Spark’s centenary year and a good opportunity to highlight the archive. The event was introduced by Dr Nonia Williams of the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC), who spoke of her research with the correspondence between Spark and Doris Lessing and responded to questions from the audience. [33 attendees]

Suffragette workshop at Forum 150918On 15 September, Justine Mann led a workshop for the public, ‘Suffragette Stories: Transcribing History’ which highlighted the UEA’s suffragette archives, the Kenney Papers, and the Heritage Lottery Funded project the archive is currently engaged in. Audience members were encouraged to transcribe original Christabel Pankhurst letters and write short stories inspired by the archive. [22 attendees]

• UEA Open Day, 8 September

Applicants and their parents took the opportunity to browse the literary archive collections and our suffragette archives and find out more about opportunities for UEA students to become involved in the collections. A demonstration of archive digitisation also took place in the Media Suite, provided by Chase PGR student placement, Annie Kelly, who currently works as a Digitisation Assistant on the Suffragette Stories project. [38 visitors to the Archive]

• Born Digital Archives

Justine Mann attended a meeting in Oxford with the British Library and various HEIs to discuss potential research projects examining the future of the literary archive.


• MA Research Seminar (Crime Writing) 12 Sep 2018
Year two students were given a preview of material from the Lee Child Exhibition including correspondence between Child and his literary agent and editor. [12 attendees]

• Literature, Drama & Creative Writing (LDC) PGT Induction
Students from all PGT programmes were invited to browse the varied collections and consider how the material might contribute to their studies and future research projects. [32 attendees]

• Reading the 18th C novel with intro to Archives & the BACW
Students were introduced to relevant Special Collections’ texts [11 attendees]

Kenney Papers (suffragettes)

Saddleworth Museum has requested images for a presentation relating to Annie Kenney.

Lee Child Archive

DSCF3632Selections from this collection were on display in the Enterprise Centre for NOIRwich Crime Writing Festival on 14 September, this then moved to the Library foyer (until 11 October). Requests to view the archive are being received from the public however the archive is not yet catalogued and therefore unavailable to individual researchers.

UEA Collection

UEA staff are researching the history of the Faith Centre (former Chaplaincy).

Special Collections

There were 7 requests plus a group booking.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: August 2018

Lee Child Archive (new archive)

The BACW is delighted to announce the long-term loan of this archive from best-selling crime writer Lee Child. Selections will be on display at the Enterprise Centre on Friday 14 September, as part of the NOIRwich Crime Writing Festival. LDC students will soon be able to see manuscripts and the working process behind Child’s novels during teaching visits to the Archives.

Leading articles – Observer article and Bookseller plus Guardian Review and Eastern Daily Press

Professor Henry Sutton, currently director of Creative Writing at UEA, and Curator of the Crime Writing collections within the BACW, described it as a highly significant development for both the BACW and Crime Writing at UEA.

Pritchard Papers

A permissions request has been received from an archive in Switzerland for a letter written by Jack Pritchard to Sigfried Giedion (1888-1968), historian and critic of architecture.

UEA Collection


Copyright UEA

• A student on the MA course in Garden and Landscape History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, has spent three days with us furthering her research on UEA and other so-called plate glass universities of the 1960s.
• We have assisted with a query for the date on which the student newspaper Concrete changed its font.

Zuckerman Archive


Plans for a 1946 trip to the USA to discuss the effects of the atomic bombs. Zuckerman Archive

• A researcher from Hiroshima City University has visited to trace Zuckerman’s trip to the US in 1946 where he was sent to cooperate with the Americans in a detailed casualty survey of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
• We’ve been able to trace another school essay for a member of the public who thought that her great auntie may have been one of the children during WWII who was asked to write an essay on her experience of the air raids in Hull. More on the essays.
• A request has been received for information on the Leyton bus bombing in Essex in WWII. The casualty surveys in the Zuckerman Archive do not however include this area.

Special Collections

There were 11 requests.

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: July 2018


DSCF3589The ‘Angela Carter and Japan’ display can be seen in the Archives throughout July & August. This followed the symposium held in the Julian Studies building at the end of June. Curator of the exhibition, Visiting Research Fellow Natsumi Ikoma, has written about the origins of the exhibition in a separate post.

UEA Literary Festival at 25
The British Archive for Contemporary Writing holds 300+ recordings of past literary festivals. 25 interviews were digitised and remastered in 2015 with a view to sharing online to celebrate this milestone but also with a view to digital preservation of these, often vulnerable, physical formats from the past. Student volunteers have viewed the recordings and identified the best clips for sharing. These are currently being shared via the UEA Literary Festival and Archives social media with the hashtag: #25UEALitFest


‘Texts in Motion’ Literature Summer School 2 July
Tutors from Literature, Drama and Creative Writing (LDC) led three workshops on the creative writing process. In all, 36 sixth formers attended.

From ‘Untitled’ to ‘Things I could Tell You’. This workshop examined what the archive tells us about Sara Taylor’s writing process from early draft to finished product.

Tash Aw’s short story The Sail was the focus of the second workshop. The students were asked what interested or intrigued them about the archival material; why the process of drafting and editing is of interest to a student of literature; and why it is of interest to a creative writer.

Faculty of Humanities, Research Showcase 4 July
A presentation was given to academic colleagues on research and engagement initiatives underway within the BACW, as well as the range of potential further opportunities to work with colleagues. A display from the suffragette archives was also provided.

Open days 6 and 7 July
24 prospective students attended talks and consulted the collections in the Archive Reading Room, to learn how UEA archive material is used in humanities teaching and research skills development with unique cultural heritage material from suffragettes to literary icons.

For the first time, UEA Archives had a presence in the Media Suite for Open Day. Chase Placement PGR student, Annie Kelly (AMA), currently based in the Archives, gave a hands on demonstration to all those visiting the Digitisation Suite on the process involved in digitising our suffragette archive, as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project, Suffragette Stories.

FLY Festival (Festival of Literature for Young People) 9 July
‘The Life of Writing Workshop’ with LDC tutor Nonia Williams provided a group of sixth formers with the opportunity to work with materials from Sara Taylor’s Archive. Participants compared first drafts with published versions of Taylor’s short stories to help them understand the process of drafting and editing prose fiction before embarking on their own writing within the session.

Creative Writing International Summer School 18 July
Seminar on the Creative Process, five international student attendees. LDC tutor, Kate Moorhead-Kuhn, worked with Sara Taylor’s short story archive material to help students chart the writing process from early draft to published version. Students also examined the material of authors Richard Beard, Andrew Cowan and Tash Aw to understand the process of submissions to literary agents and publishers

• UEA graduate, Sam Coleman, currently studying an MSc in information management at Sheffield University, interviewed Justine Mann and Grant Young (Academic Engagement Librarian HUM) on the relationship between Libraries and Archives for his dissertation.

Doris Lessing Archive

We have received a deposit of a 1984 letter from Lessing to her Russian tutor. Along with this is the tutor’s account of their association in the 1980s, Lessing’s approach to her studies and the sort of people she would have encountered on the course.

Pritchard Papers

• A Canadian Professor of Art History with a specialism in László Moholy-Nagy (Bauhaus professor) has visited over two days.
• Images are being supplied for a 2019 publication on the architect Walter Gropius.


Dinner menu designed by Moholy-Nagy

Theatre Collections

A UEA student has requested information on electric theatres and cinema in Norfolk. Many local theatres doubled-up as cinemas. Notes from 1919 provide recollections on the opening of cinema theatres across East Anglia by Mr Frederick Holmes Cooper. The first being the Electric Theatre in Wisbech c.1910.

UEA Collection

The report of the 1963 UEA expedition to Nepal has been consulted.

Zuckerman Archive

A 1950s report on nuclear weapons is being cross-checked.

Special Collections

There were 8 requests.

Angela Carter’s Intellectual and Personal Adventures in Japan

Natsumi IKOMA, Visiting Professor to the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA, discusses the influence of Japan on Angela Carter and the origins of the exhibition she curated for the British Archive for Contemporary Writing.

In 1969, Angela Carter visited Japan for the first time in her life with the money received from the Somerset Maugham Literary Award. She had expected to find the exotic and strange, like many European intelligentsia who visited the land of the Orient before her. But what she came across there was beyond her preconceptions.


Encounters with Japan, its culture and its people had such a huge impact on Angela Carter that her scholars differentiate the works as Pre-Japan and Post-Japan. She lived with a Japanese boyfriend in Tokyo. Their time together – just a few years – was intensely romantic, but often plagued with harsh power struggles. Twenty odd years after their defeat in World War 2, Japan, and this young man, were suffering from complex issues. They were trying to regain the confidence and authority they believed they once owned. He was sensitive to the objectifying treatment that Japanese people receive from Europeans and Americans. Being in a relationship with a European woman, an established writer, was a difficult one for him. Eventually, the relationship ended unhappily, even though they shared many intellectual interests and sensibilities. But her will to understand him and his country was a strong motivation to overcome the apt othering of the Orient. She acquired sensitivity towards gender, race, and power issues partly from this relationship, which contributed to Carter’s unique writings. Because of this personal experience, Angela Carter is so unique in British literature.

While she was in Japan, she was a diligent student of Japanese culture and society, trying to absorb every tiny detail. She read numerous books, both literary and scholarly, perused journal articles, enjoyed and analysed comic books. She watched many theatre performances, such as Kabuki and Bunraku, and saw many films including blue-films. She was fascinated by the juxtaposition of high and low culture in Japan, and by the proliferation of the sex industry, just a street away from serene residential areas. The mixture of literary flamboyant expression with lewd remarks, one of the trademarks of Angela Carter’s writings, was arguably acquired during her Japanese days. She loved to discuss her findings with her Japanese boyfriend. The complex city, the world’s most populated city then, gave her an opportunity to examine the relations among gender, race, and power not only in Japan but also in the UK, in Europe and in the world, and offered a new insight.

When I came across the list of books owned by Angela Carter in the British Archive for Contemporary Writing at the University of East Anglia [held within the Lorna Sage Archive], I was delighted. I had been studying the influence of Japanese culture on Carter’s writings for years, and was convinced of the extensive research done by Angela Carter regarding Japan. The list confirmed my conviction. During my sabbatical year at UEA I have recovered some of the books from the list, and with the immense and invaluable help provided by Justine Mann, managed to compile exhibition materials to show, at the Symposium: Angela Carter and Japan, that took place at UEA on 30 June, 2018, which was organized by myself and Dr Stephen Benson of LDC. You can see Carter’s extensive study of Japanese society and culture, which she continued even after she returned to UK. You can now see the exhibition materials at 02 floor of UEA Library until early September 2018 and then by appointment only in the Archive Reading Room during October 2018.

British Archive for Contemporary Writing at UEA: http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw


Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: June 2018

This update includes just a sample of enquiries, visits and activities during the course of another busy month. June has been warm for most however we are fortunate to occupy the coolest spot in the Library building.

Suffragettes Heritage Project [update provided by Stanislava Dikova]

Workshop in Cromer



The Suffragette Stories project, generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, held its first workshop on 11 June 2018. Fiona Sinclair (Project Officer), Kate Cooper (Norfolk Library Service), Ben Morrison (MA Creative Writing, UEA), and Stanislava Dikova (Digital Curation Assistant, UEA) visited Cromer Academy and met a group of nine GCSE students. Materials from the Kenney Papers, including Annie and Jessie Kenney’s passports, pictures of elderly ex-suffragettes attending a commemorative event at Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1960, and various suffrage-related badges, were used to immerse the students in the suffragette struggle for the vote and invite them to reflect on its legacy.

On 14 June, we met a group of older community members at Cromer Library and presented on materials in the archive. The two groups will come together at the end of the month to prepare a local exhibition using materials from the Kenney archive and memories from older community members on the legacy of the suffragettes.

Workshop at UEA
On 6 June, organisers of the Walter Scott Prize for Literature led a workshop with MA and MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Creative Writing students at UEA, to develop skills in using our suffragette archive material to prompt creative writing with groups of young people and adults.

Digitisation update
40 of the planned 100 items from the Kenney Papers archive have been digitised by Annie Kelly (Digitisation Assistant, CHASE Placement, based at UEA Archives) using the UEA’s Humanities Media Suite. The images are currently going through post-production and will be added to a digital exhibition site due to be launched to the public later in the year.



Prof. Natsumi Ikoma (Visiting Scholar, International Christian University, Japan)

Angela Carter and Japan Symposium, 30 June. How did Japanese culture influence Angela Carter’s writing and teaching at UEA? The symposium and accompanying display included contributions from BACW staff and the Lorna Sage Archive. Symposium’s webpage.


• Delegates from a teachers’ conference visited the BACW on 7 June to explore the use of archives in learning and teaching.
• We have met with an organiser of the UEA Staff Association to arrange an archives visit for members over the summer.

Doris Lessing Archive

We have received a request for content for a publication which is incorporating artists’ responses to the life and work of Lessing.

Kenney Papers (suffragettes)

• A lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities (IIH) is making arrangements to bring students to visit the suffragettes archives in Spring 2019. There are normally around 80 on the module.
• As part of Mulbarton Words Week, an arranged visit to the Archives took place on 5 June. Participants were introduced to the literary collections and the suffragette archive and some had a go at transcribing letters from Christabel Pankhurst.

We were amazed at the amount and range of items and will be back.

Pritchard Papers


Bauhaus Dessau. Marc Wathieu, Creative Commons licence

We have received a number of visits and enquiries from curators and researchers involved in the preparation of publications and exhibitions for the Bauhaus centenary in 2019. The Pritchard Papers documents the activities of significant Bauhaus figures who were living in London during the thirties, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Laszló Moholy-Nagy.

Snoo Wilson Archive

A UEA academic is researching one of Wilson’s early plays from the sixties.

W.G. Sebald

A curator and writer from the US has visited to research Sebald’s Vertigo; and an academic from another US university has asked for any correspondence by Sebald on architectural history.

Zuckerman Archive

• An overseas researcher has requested papers of the Bombing Analysis Unit’s (BAU) investigations and reports on Allied attacks on pin-point targets in France.
• A US researcher is focussing on the donation of animals to London Zoo in the 1920s. Zuckerman held the post of Prosector (Research Anatomist) and went on to be Secretary and President.

Special Collections

There were 25 enquiries.