The University of East Anglia has launched the British Archive of Contemporary Writing. The initiative builds on the University’s international reputation for creative writing, the status of Norwich as a UNESCO City of Literature, and UEA’s strong links with writers of world renown through its international literary festivals and links with the British Centre for Literary Translation and the emerging National Centre for Writing which is based in Norwich.
UEA intends to grow existing collections significantly, most notable of which is the extensive personal archive of the Nobel Laureate, Doris Lessing, and literary material from other prize winning authors such as Naomi Alderman, Tash Aw, Malcolm Bradbury, Amit Chaudhuri, J.D. Salinger, Roger Deakin, Lorna Sage, WG Sebald and the acclaimed playwright Snoo Wilson. The Archive includes more than three hundred interviews with prominent authors across twenty-three years’ of its literary festivals including: Margaret Atwood, Martin Amis, Anne Enright, John Fowles, William Golding, Seamus Heaney, Alan Hollinghurst, Kazuo Ishiguro, P.D. James, Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison, Iris Murdoch, Harold Pinter, Salman Rushdie, Ali Smith to name just a few. These recordings are available for consultation in our archives reading room. A selection can also be viewed on our Website http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw
The BACW also provides an insight into the changing landscape of publishing throughout the twentieth century, through the papers of what was the oldest literary agency in the world, AP Watt, and the publisher Charles Pick including correspondence with Michael Holroyd, Nadine Gordimer, Anita Desai, Monica Dickens, Paul Gallico, Richard Gordon and Graham Greene. Nature writing is a key theme within the BACW which already includes the archive of Roger Deakin, pioneer of the wild swimming movement and author of the acclaimed and highly popular, Waterlog: A Swimmer’s Journey through Britain.
To further enhance the archive, UEA is also establishing a storehouse initiative, an opportunity for authors to loan manuscripts and related literary material at a much earlier stage in their careers. The aim is to raise author profiles, to build up a truly contemporary archive, and for the wider research community to gain access to materials that would not otherwise be available until much later in an author’s career.
The Storehouse will add value by organising and cataloguing the collections and making them more accessible even if authors need the flexibility to remove materials at a later stage. Several writers have already committed to depositing material under the model. Although the archive will look to build some of its collections from UEA’s own community of emerging writers it is also keen to attract material from other acclaimed authors produced in, or translated into, the English language. For further information about the archive visit http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw