Temporary disruption to UEA Archives and Special Collections during summer 2017

There will be some temporary disruption to the UEA Archives and Special Collections service, including the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW), during summer 2017.

The UEA Library is undertaking a space project to create further student study spaces. The work requires Archives staff to relocate from their office on Floor 02. The adjacent Archive Reading Room will also be affected during this time.

To safeguard material:

There will be no access to archive collections between 16 June and 18 August.

There will be limited access to Special Collections items by prior arrangement.

Archive staff will be working during office hours and are able to answer queries regarding the collections.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the planned work.

If you have any concerns whatsoever, please let us know.

We regret any inconvenience caused.

Justine Mann, Archivist, British Archive for Contemporary Writing

Bridget Gillies, Archives Assistant, UEA Archives

e: archives@uea.ac.uk

t: (voicemail only available during this period) 01603 59 3483  / 01603 59 3419

FAQ

How will the work affect users of University of East Anglia Archives and Special Collections?

The Archive Reading Room will be inaccessible between 15 June and 18 August.

To safeguard collections, there will be no access to Archive material during this time.

If you have any concerns about the loss of access during this period, please contact Justine Mann justine.mann@uea.ac.uk.

Archives staff will relocate from their office to a nearby Silent Reading Room.

Our office hours will be as normal and we can answer archive queries during this time.

There will be limited and bookable access to Special Collections items (books/ pamphlets) within the nearby Silent Reading Room by prior arrangement with Archive staff who will supervise visits.

There will be one microfilm reader available within Silent Reading Room – Periodicals Rm 02.32  with a printing facility. This will be bookable by prior arrangement.

Unless advertised otherwise on our Website, access hours will be 09:30-12:30 and 13:30-16:30 as usual.

Please email archives@uea.ac.uk to make a request for Special Collections or for microfilm access and provide as much notice as possible.

If we have no existing bookings on a particular day, we will assist you whenever we can.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused during this period.

Our Website pages will contain up to date information on access:

For further information on the Library Space Project, click here.

 

 

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The Library building through the years

This summer the Library is undergoing yet another makeover. Around 180 new and varied study spaces will be created, mainly on Floor 01. This has been made possible as over two miles of open-access rolling stack shelving will be introduced on Floor 02 (just alongside the Archives). Once the dust has settled and the stock re-shuffled, there’ll be more light, more colour and an improved layout on Floor 01. The Archives also stands to re-gain over 250 metres of shelving in its climate-controlled store.

UEA.S.2.25Keeping up with ever increasing student numbers and changing methods of study is an ongoing challenge for a Library which was built almost 50 years ago. The Plan was for a University which would contain three thousand students in ten years with the possibility of expansion to six thousand thereafter. In 2017 we now have over 16,000 students, all requiring to be connected to a device or screen of some sort or other.

Each of the six floors has had its turn for re-design, a splash of colour, more comfortable seating, with better access to computers and technical facilities. We’ve introduced individual and group study rooms and even a small cinema. In short, we have grown and we have improved, more than once or twice. Let’s take a look back.

Milestones:

April 1963
Architects Denys Lasdun and Partners publish a Development Plan for the University.

13 February 1968ToppingoutofUEALibBldg13Feb1968FrankThistlethwaiteCopyrighEDP
‘Topping out’ of the Library building by Frank Thistlethwaite (Vice-Chancellor).

25 October 1968
Official opening by Lord Frank (Chancellor) as Library Phase I is completed.

July 1974UEA.PHO.4.51
Completion of Library Phase II (Architects Feilden & Mawson).  The original block doubles in size to form a near square and extends southwards. The two halves join to form one seamless building and it comes as a surprise that it is by two different architects but with Denys Lasdun’s design.

How we looked in the sixties and seventies

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9 April 2001
Opening of the LaRC (Learning and Resources Centre), Floor 02.

June 2005UEA.PHO.22.3.7
Floor 0 refurbishment. The Reception and Helpdesks are amalgamated and positioned near the entrance.

8 March 2006
Official opening of the extension and Archives. The ‘extension’ on the east side transforms the rather square looking building into a dog’s leg. It offers smooth access between the old and new parts on all floors; this part of the Library is light and airy with extensive glazing and solar shading. Its cedar and stone cladding offers a break from the severe grey concrete.

The new Archives reading rooms, office and climate-controlled store (Floor 02) are opened by Rose Tremain (who later is appointed Chancellor). [Architects: Shepheard Epstein Hunter; construction by Kier Eastern].

27 October 2010
Opening of refurbished Floor 0 and the Silent Reading Room on Floor 1.

September 2012
Opening of the Silent Reading Room on Floor 02.

2014
Opening of large Postgraduate Study Rooms on Floors 2 and 3.16_326 UEA Campus -012_Dave Gutridge _The Photographic Unit_ large

June – September 2017
Refurbishment of Floors 01 and 02.

Details on the Library Space Project and the changes taking place in summer 2017.

You cannot fake a writer: Kazuo Ishiguro on his experience at UEA

Kazuo Ishiguro_UEA ImageLibrary

UEA: Archive Image

UEA literature student, Melina Spanoudi, revisits an archived interview with Kazuo Ishiguro as part of the British Archive for Contemporary Writing’s Unboxed project.

Kazuo Ishiguro applied to the University of East Anglia in 1979, following a long year of social work in London. The MA in Creative Writing began in autumn, leaving the entire summer free for him to panic. He did so briefly, before beginning to write seriously for the first time. Ten years later, he won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Remains of the Day.

Returning to UEA during the Literary Festival of 1999, in an interview with award winning academic, novelist and biographer, Christopher Bigsby, Ishiguro is asked whether writing can be taught. Put plainly, his answer is no. Ishiguro believes that a writer cannot be crafted: rather, they are sculpted, refined in their involvement with the creative process of writing within an academic environment. Through sharing first drafts, exposing themselves and others to criticism, embarrassment and acclaim, the writer is given the opportunity to realize where they must stand when choosing to write.

However, the initial choice to write remains a personal matter. Any creation which is forced to extend itself beyond the boundaries of personal innovation is of no genuine value; you cannot fake a writer more than you can fake a text.

Ishiguro remarks: ‘You can certainly produce someone who can write more competently. But I would be rather more sceptical about the possibility of their producing anything of artistic worth.’

The process between writing and identifying as a writer is unique to each individual; However, what happens when you embark on a degree which expects you to be a writer before you have begun to write?

With little writing experience, sporadically noting descriptive fragments mirroring the semi-autobiographical style of Kerouac, Ishiguro’s journey to becoming a writer invites us to question whether he adopted the identity of ‘writer’ during the course of his degree in Creative Writing. Ishiguro explains that he discovered the space he required to explore his individual style of writing at the UEA. The learning atmosphere fostered through the flexible teaching methods adopted by his tutors, Malcom Bradbury and Angela Carter, enabled him to create, unaided and uninterrupted.

He describes his year at the UEA to Bigsby: ‘That was when I really started to write. So it was very fundamental. Before I went to East Anglia I had written very little indeed, certainly nothing I would count today as proper writing.’

Ishiguro dates the beginning of his first novel, A Pale View of Hills, in 1979/80, during the year he was studying at the UEA. He notes that most of his time studying Creative Writing was spent writing that novel. Although his first book resembled a form of a semi-autobiographical work, his later novels are informed by the awareness of his ability to create outside the context of his own life.

He explains: ‘Somewhere along the way I discovered that I could write better, more effectively, if I changed the setting and put the whole thing at a greater distance.’

Somewhere along the way, perhaps at UEA, Ishiguro became one of the greatest writers of our time. His journey at the university reminds students of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing that we are not taught how to become writers, but of the ways which enable us to discover our most humane and distinctive narrative voices.

Quotations reproduced with the kind permission of the author. All rights reserved.

To view the Literary Festival interview in full in our Archive Reading Room, contact the British Archive for Contemporary Writing archives@uea.ac.uk

To find out more about our 300+ collection of Literary Festival recordings, visit http://www.uea.ac.uk/bacw/litfest

 

The story of UEA’s MA in Creative Writing

An Unboxed blog from Rosie Burgoyne.

Until 1970, no University in the UK offered students the chance to take an MA in Creative Writing. This all changed when Sir Malcolm Bradbury and Sir Angus Wilson founded a Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, the very first of its kind in the UK. If you head down to floor 02, right in the depths of UEA’s library, you will find the British Archive for Contemporary Writing, home to an extensive collection on the history of the Creative Writing MA and the life of its founder, Sir Malcolm Bradbury.

One of the many hidden gems within the archive is an image of some of the first students on the Creative Writing MA course, under the supervision of Sir Malcolm Bradbury. The enthusiasm and essence of UEA as a hub for literature and creative writing is further captured in an image from The Guardian’s picture archive. The students in the picture are smiling to one another as they take part in what appears to have been some form of seminar or discussion about their writing. They are under the watchful eye of Sir Malcolm Bradbury, who was then both the course director and a lecturer. These students were amongst the earliest to be offered the opportunity to complete an MA in creative writing, which at the time concentrated primarily on prose.

Since the picture was taken, the MA has branched out to include courses in poetry, scriptwriting, life writing and crime fiction. However, its world-renowned reputation remains unchanged, with notable graduates including Booker Prize winners Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Anne Enright.

The founder of the programme, Sir Malcolm Bradbury, led a prolific writing career in his own right. He wrote numerous short stories, television plays and series, literary criticism and novels, many of which were inspired by his experiences of academia, including ‘The History Man’, which was published in 1975.

Within the archive at UEA are scripts, newspapers, magazine cuttings and other revealing materials, documenting the lifetime of Sir Malcolm Bradbury in terms of both his writing career and his involvement in the creative writing MA at UEA.

Throughout his lifetime, Bradbury was known to have encouraged young, aspiring authors, especially during his time as a lecturer, reader and professor at UEA and he has left behind a lasting legacy for UEA’s creative writing students. He was recognised for his efforts by being made a CBE in 1991 and knighted in 2000 for his outstanding contribution to Literature.

For further information about Sir Malcolm Bradbury or the history of the creative writing MA at UEA the following links may be of use:

https://portal.uea.ac.uk/library/archives/bacw/bradbury

http://www.malcolmbradbury.com/index.html

https://www.uea.ac.uk/literature/creative-writing/about-uea-creative-writing

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: April 2017

A quieter month in terms of footfall in the Archives as our teaching sessions ended for the semester and most students headed off for the Easter break.

British Archive for Contemporary Writing (general)
Dr Jos Smith has been appointed as Academic Director of BACW. From 1 Sep 2017, he will gradually take over the role from Professor Chris Bigsby, who will step down in 2018.

Charlie Higson
006The listing of this collection is now available to read on-line.

‘Bollock Street’! This is the first title that we’ve been asked to retrieve from the stacks for a reader. A sketch on the Argyle Street squats which existed in Norwich in the 1980s, this unperformed piece was written by Higson and Paul Whitehouse.

Doris Lessing
One area of interest has been Lessing’s contribution to contemporary women’s literature.

Pritchard Papers
There’s been ongoing research and interest into the artists, designers and architects of the thirties, including Maxwell Fry, Marcel Breuer, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, John Piper and Sir Nikolaus Pevsner.

Roger Deakin
UEA and the Writers’ Centre Norwich held a celebratory symposium on 30 April to mark Deakin’s life and his contribution to conservation and nature writing. Around 80 attended the event; an afternoon of poetry, wild writing, memoirs and personal recollections. Symposium programme.

A small exhibition showing the writing process of Waterlog and Wildwood was included at the event at Dragon Hall and this has now moved to the UEA Library Foyer.
095 (2)

UEA Collection
Staff and alumni have been looking at early prospectuses, congregation DVDs, and ways to further the gig archive.

Special Collections
12 enquiries.

Lessing’s writing pushed boundaries and she lived life to the same beat

Doris Lessing Portrait (1950s)

Doris Lessing Portrait (1950s): Copyright CAMERA PRESS

An Unboxed blog, from Martha Griffiths, first year student of American and English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

Amongst the 110 love letters held in the Whitehorn collection at the British Archive for Contemporary Writing from Doris Lessing to her wartime lover, perhaps one gives us a greater insight into her young life, and the society she grew up in. It was written to John R. M. Whitehorn, an RAF serviceman and intimate confidante and is dated sometime around January 1945.

This letter  perfectly captures Lessing’s determination to make her own choices and express herself and her emotions towards others. It describes her relationship with both her husband and the other men that she met, mostly through Communist Party meetings. Not only is she writing to a long-term lover about her husband, but she also describes the “platonic amour” she has met recently. To many, this flirtation may come as a surprise or appear scandalous but, as she would come to say in later interviews, it was just something one did in those times.

She even joined the Communist Party out of boredom, a feeling shared by many of the RAF soldiers she met there. There is genuine affection in the note towards Whitehorn, but Lessing makes it clear that it would be an unfortunate man who attempted to interfere with her choices.

This was a woman to be reckoned with; she was totally self-aware and comfortably content to make her own choices. Lessing’s works are known for pushing boundaries and she lived her life to the same beat, whilst aware of her husband’s discomfort with her social life she was not willing to give in to the pull of domesticity.

The Doris Lessing Archive, held within UEA’s British Archive for Contemporary Writing, is an invaluable source with letters from one of the most influential female authors of the twentieth century. Her eloquence and her passion cannot mask what a formidable opponent she was if ever obstructed

Exploring the Archives: a monthly update: March 2017

Unboxed
Once again we’re grateful to our students for offering such insights into our collections. Their blog posts include ‘Men can be feminists: Lord Pethick-Lawrence writes about the suffragettes’ (Kenney Papers) and ‘Terry Pratchett on magic and realism’ (UEA Literary Festival).

Teaching
54 students and tutors attended teaching sessions this month in the Archives:

  • MA Contemporary Fiction. Doris Lessing’s Archive was the focus with particular attention on The Good Terrorist, Salman Rushdie, and Communism.
  • Publishing module for Literature, Drama & Creative Writing (LDC) PGT.
  • As part of ‘Do Something Different Week’ a seminar was run for LDC UG on the chapter outlines, draft prologues and manuscripts, of The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds.
  • Blogging workshop. Attended by Unboxed volunteers, LDC students and Archives staff (led by Claire Hynes, Tutor in Professional Writing).

Richard Beard
The listing of this collection is now available. Beard’s latest book The Day That Went Missing (a memoir) is published this April by Harvill Secker.

Roger Deakin
BACW_RDeakin_flyer_660px_eFlyer-smallPreparations are under way for an afternoon of readings, talks and discussion to be held on 30 April ‘Roger Deakin: Exploring the Archive: Rivers and Woodlands’.

Doris Lessing

A steady interest in Lessing’s letters to John Whitehorn during the 1940s continues, in particular her work as a Hansard typist while still in her twenties, and her association with the Communist party in southern Africa.

Pritchard Papers

  • Requests have related to the architect Wells Coates (architect) and Sunspan Homes (light and airy domestic designs of the thirties); and the Lawn Road Flats’ tenants and their covert lives as Soviet spies.
  • The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo is currently exhibiting materials from the Pritchard Papers. ‘Improvement for Good: Marcel Breuer’s Furniture’ runs from 3rd March – 7th May, 2017 and at the Higashine City Museum, Yamagata 15th July – 24th September, 2017.

W.G. Sebald
Students from Heinz-Berggruen-Gymnasium in Berlin, Charlottenburg have submitted a guest blog post to acknowledge their memorable visit made to the Archives last summer.

UEA Literary Festival
Visitors have been watching recordings of earlier festivals including guest authors Robert Macfarlane (2008) and Richard Dawkins (2015).

UEA Collection
FT Album 61-66 Prof I P Watt Dean of English Studies 1.9.62_30.8.64We’ve been looking back at the contribution made by one of our principal founders – Ian Watt (1917-1999), Dean of English Studies at UEA. Some very relevant material was found on Watt’s short but significant time at UEA, 1962-1964. Watt was later Professor of English at the University of Stanford, Calif. [Photo: Frank Thistlethwaite Archive].

Special Collections
Eight requests.

Sebald Visit from Heinz-Berggruen-Gymnasium, Berlin

A guest blog from the students of Heinz-Berggruen-Gymnasium in Berlin, Charlottenburg who visited the WG Sebald Audiovisual collection at the British Archive for Contemporary Writing last Summer (just days after the Brexit referendum).

Thank you UEA!

This summer we are leaving school. This means also looking back on eight years at Heinz-Berggruen-Gymnasium in Berlin, Charlottenburg.

One unforgettable memory is our trip to England last June (2016).

During that school trip we also went to UEA because we wanted to find out more about W.G. Sebald, a well known German author who had lived in England most of his time and had taught at UEA.

Our visit to UEA was and still is an unforgettable experience.

Undoubtedly, for people who are interested in literature visiting the University of East Anglia in Norwich is  a great opportunity to gain knowledge in a very comfortable and personal way.

We were especially lucky as Professor Jon Cook offered to speak to us about Sebald.

When Professor Cook read from Sebald’s books and added stories from his personal encounters and his cooperation with Sebald we could all feel the power of this exceptional author.

That way we not only gained insight into Sebald’s work but also got to know what he must have been like in private life.

We were all particularly moved when Professor Jon Cook pointed out how devastated he was on the news of Sebald’s death and how UEA had lost a creative spirit.

WG Sebald visitors 040716We also went to the archive where we were introduced to visual and audio material, which added greatly to our impressions of Sebald’s work and life in Norwich.

On top of that Professor Cook’s explanations regarding the Brexit referendum impressed us deeply and they are as fresh today, March 29, 2017, as they were last summer.

In the end we left Norwich deeply impressed and enriched because we had spent a morning sensing the invigorating power of creativity and reason.

We would therefore like to thank Professor Cook and his staff, who introduced us to the audio and visual material, once again for making this possible.

Thank you!

Students from Heinz-Berggruen-Gymnasium, Berlin.

Terry Pratchett on Magic and Realism

Terry PratchettbAn Unboxed Blog from Electra Nanou

There was once a tape, a single, innocuous video tape, living in the UEA Archives’ snug depths. The name, Terry Pratchett, sometimes caught a knowing eye, but one or two were not enough. If only it could see the light of day, other admirers might come its way. Squinting, stuttering, it finally emerged to puff out its chest and squeak:

Arthur Miller Centre International Literary Festival (UEA) interview with Terry Pratchett, 22 November 2000

To describe this interview between Professor Christopher Bigsby and Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld novels, as amusing would be an understatement. Having passed away two years ago, almost to the day, every reminder of this man’s sheer character is precious. Contained within the video recording is more than a discussion on Pratchett’s life and literary accomplishments or his favourite Discworld characters or even the difference between children’s fiction and fantasy.

‘Children’s books for the respect; fantasy books for the money.’

It is one more testament to his wit and flair, as well as a tutorial on how to politely dominate an interview. And how to introduce potentially controversial topics with a smile. Perhaps, sheer naughtiness factored into certain small omissions in the transcript, available in Writers in Conversation: Volume 5 by Christopher Bigsby.

Even the first Discworld novel was created on a rebellious whim. He felt that ‘a kind of antidote’ was warranted to the Tolkienesque fantasy prevalent of the time. Little did he know how much it was needed. The crowd that attended the Terry Pratchett Memorial in April 2016, made up of children and adults alike, was proof of how important a fresh and humorous look can be to something as simple as a literary genre.

‘Discworld is a way of looking at a story.’

Each of his books, from the children’s book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents to the Discworld novel The Truth, have something to say. In his own unique way, he touched on issues like morality, equality and feminism, his philosophical undercurrents drawing the attention of philosophy professors James M. Held and James South. They produced a book titled Philosophy and Terry Pratchett, a collection of essays including ‘Plato, the Witch, and the Cave: Granny Weatherwax and the Moral Problem of Paternalism’ and ‘The Importance of Being in the Right Trouser Leg of Time’ (The Guardian). When asked about the Thief of Time, the 24th Discworld novel, Pratchett said:

‘It is… about how people perceive time, how people perceive humanity. What is it that actually makes us human.’

If there is any lesson to be learned from Terry Pratchett, it is to not be afraid to be bold and different. Labels are trivial in a world that craves imagination, an escape from reality.

‘Magic realism … is fantasy with a collar and tie on.’

With 53 books to his name not including his numerous collaborations, he was, and still is, someone writers of any genre can look up to. He lived, learnt and struggled, while writing from his heart with minimal aspirations to fame and fortune. And yet they found him.

 

Sources

Recording: Arthur Miller Centre International Literary Festival (UEA) interview with Terry Pratchett, 22 November 2000. The University of East Anglia Literary Festival Archive www.uea.ac.uk/bacw/litfest – visit the Archive to view the recording in full.

Transcript: Bigsby, Christopher. ‘In Conversation with Terry Pratchett’. Writers in Conversation: Volume 5. Unthank books, 2013. Print.

Flood, Alison. ‘Terry Pratchett’. The Guardian. 28 Nov. 2014. Web. Oct. 2016

 

Men can be feminists: Lord Pethick-Lawrence writes about the suffragettes

Lord and Lady Pethick-Lawrence

Lord and Lady Pethick-Lawrence

An Unboxed Blog from Yaiza Canopoli.

Lady Pethick-Lawrence was an important figure in the suffragette movement. In 1907 she started the publication Votes for Women, with the help of her husband. Supportive male partners are not so rare these days. But in the early 20th century, a man would more likely be scared off by a woman who wanted the vote than to stand by her side as she campaigned. Lord Pethick-Lawrence supported the movement from the start, and in the 1950s published an article, preserved in the UEA Archive, reflecting on the impressive struggle for women to get the vote.

As a prominent and proud member of the Labour party, Lord Pethick-Lawrence begins the article by explaining that this is where the movement began, and where most of the suffragette tactics were taken from. Nonetheless, the women from the Labour party had to accept other political ideologies into the community, for the movement could not have survived by remaining ‘a section of a section’. What is interesting about this article is his praise for the more radical tactics adopted by the movement, ‘which would alienate the timid and the lukewarm’. This praise is a considerable change of opinion, for in 1912 he served a nine-month prison sentence for a violent form of protest that he and Lady Pethick-Lawrence disapproved of at the time (their disapproval caused them to be expelled from the Women’s Social and Political Union).

In the article, he endearingly praises the militant women involved in the movement:

A tiny suffragette—Mary Gawthorpe—had a cabbage thrown at her by a male auditor during a park meeting. Catching it and holding it up, she remarked: “I knew a man would lose his head before long.”

This kind of appreciation and subtle humour is present throughout the article. Perhaps the most hilarious passage is his recounting of a conspiracy trial staged by the government: he and some other suffragettes were found guilty in court and the judge sentenced them to nine months in prison, but he remembers the moment with humour, saying that ‘shortly afterwards [the judge’s] two daughters joined the organisation’.

This way of remembering the suffragettes in an almost nostalgic way goes to show that feminist men are not a modern invention, and that people were different back then is not a valid excuse for any kind of oppression. We are living in a time now where meninism has become a thing, and feminists are still seen as radical and men-hating by many people all over the world. This article puts things into perspective: feminism is not new, it is not the internet corrupting women, and it is perfectly valid for men to be supportive of the movement even today.

Another thing Lord Pethick-Lawrence shows his readers (both at the time he wrote and now) is how to be a good ally: write about the movement, write about the people who were involved and who had to fight for their own rights, and don’t make it about yourself.

Unfortunately the article is not preserved in its entirety, and thus we cannot read the full extent of Lord Pethick-Lawrence’s memories of the movement, but we get a clear idea of where his thoughts are headed. He and his wife might have disagreed with some of the more radical aspects of protesting, but they were undoubtedly an important part of the organisation, and their names deserve to be remembered.

Lord Pethick-Lawrence’s article can be viewed as part of the Kenney Papers in the UEA Archives at the University of East Anglia, alongside multiple documents and forms of correspondence between the Pethick-Lawrences and other suffragettes. https://portal.uea.ac.uk/library/archives/kenney

Yaiza Canopoli