Noël Coward Archive

The Cadbury Research Library has just finished hosting a four-week internship focusing on the Noël Coward archive held there. The internship was funded by the Coward Foundation and the successful applicant was Lucy Mounfield.

The Coward archive at Birmingham is extensive but not fully catalogued. We do have a basic box listing available on our online archive catalogue as a PDF document. Lucy’s internship was divided into a number of small projects including:

Indexing the telegram log books in the collection. Listing the names of correspondents and adding keywords to aid research:

  • Repackaging and basic conservation work
  • Compiling a Noël Coward Resource Guide
  • Writing promotional articles for UoB Careers Network and CRL Newsletter
  • Curating an online exhibition re Coward, using the CRL Flickr page
  • Assisting our Conservator prepare materials for display in our upcoming physical exhibition titled ‘Noël Coward: an entertainer abroad’ which will open next week

We are hoping this is the first stage in trying to obtain funding to fully catalogue the whole of this important, albeit under-used, collection.


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Previous & Next GLAM Meetings!

The meeting held at the British Library 22nd May 2015 on the theme of acquisition was well attended, with a very informative and lively session from Andrew Motion and Peter Rankin. Thanks to members who shared their experiences on negotiations with donors and depositors. Chatham house rules applied to the day but we hope some members will share edited highlights in the next GLAM edition of ARC. More details of the ARC edition will be sent to members in the next few weeks. We do hope that members will have lots of literary archives stories to make it as successful as it has been in previous years.

Minutes from the 2014 Aberystwyth and British Library meetings can be found here.

We do hope that members can join us for our 10th year celebration at the John Rylands in Manchester on 1st October. At the meeting we will be looking back at a decade of GLAM, alongside the following two discussions:

Literary societies & archives, with talks from Anne Price-Owen and Nia Daniel from the David Jones Society and Antoinette Fawcett and Fran Baker from the Norman Nicholson Society

Recent developments in copyright in the UK and the EU

We will then proceed with our usual AGM meeting.

For all those wishing to attend, please contact Joanne Fitton ( by 18th September.

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Authors & their Papers

A message from David Sutton, Chair of GLAM:

Authors and their Papers has reached this, its latest form, in a pleasingly collaborative way.  The absence of such a document, especially for literary authors, became a theme for discussion during the workshops run by the Diasporic Literary Archives Network, and a first draft was assembled by DLAN members.  That draft was then edited and expanded from the perspective of literary archivists, by members of GLAM, and from the perspective of authors themselves, by staff of the Society of Authors.  Following positive discussions at the GLAM meeting in Aberystwyth in September 2014 and the DLAN meeting at Yale University in October 2014, the new expanded version was given an extensive editorial revision by members of staff of the National Archives.  We feel that it is now nearing its final version, but there is still time for GLAM members to offer further comments and suggestions.  Please send your views and ideas to me directly (at  Many thanks.

The Authors & their Papers publication is available here.

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University of East Anglia has launched a new British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW)

Here at GLAM we are delighted to announce that the University of East Anglia has launched a new British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW) .

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 its British Centre for Literary Translation and the emerging National Centre for Writing which is based in Norwich.

UEA established the country’s first MA in creative writing and remains the best, and best-known, having facilitated the emergence of new writers for more than forty years including: Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Anne Enright, Tracy Chevalier, Adam Foulds, Andrew Miller, John Boyne and David Almond to name just a few. Its teachers have included Angus Wilson, Malcolm Bradbury, Angela Carter, Lorna Sage, Michelle Roberts, Patricia Duncker, Andrew Motion, Giles Foden, Lavinia Greenlaw, Trezza Azzopardi and Andrew Cowan.

UEA intends to grow its existing literary 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 300 interviews with prominent authors across 23 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 and a small selection can be viewed on our Website.

The Archive also provides an insight into the changing landscape of publishing throughout the twentieth century, through the papers of 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 more details please see their website:

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GLAM goes to Aberystwyth

Whether or not you’re a member of GLAM, it’s not too late to book a place for our two day visit to Aberystwyth, 17-18 September.

The theme of this special meeting is Collaborative Approaches in Literary Archives. There will be sessions on digital archives, literary societies and friends’ groups, publishers and cross-sectoral collaboration, not to mention a talk from Nia Daniel on the Dylan Thomas centenary. There will also be an opportunity to visit the Dylan Thomas 100 Exhibition. See below for the full programme.

The schedule has been designed with travel and train times in mind, so we hope to see as many of you as possible there. Please contact GLAM Secretary Judy Burg to book your place,


Collaborative Approaches in Literary Archives

Aberystwyth, 17-18 September 2014


Day One: Wednesday 17 September

14.15  David Sutton: Welcome and introductory remarks:

GLAM involvement in collaborative projects:

  • Copyright and orphan works
  • Guide for authors about their papers
  • Born-digital archives
  • Publishers’ archives
  • Diasporic literary archives and “archives at risk”

14.45  Digital archives: how do they work?

  • Rachel Foss: ‘Off the map’: creative use of digitised content in the British Library’s collections
  • Sophie Baldock: Future use of born-digital archives

15.45  Working with literary societies and friends’ groups

  • Luke Thurston and Anne Price-Owen: The David Jones Papers and the David Jones Centre
  • Henry Cobbold: The work of the Literary Houses Group
  • Eric Huntley and Marge Lowhar: The Huntley Archive at London Metropolitan Archives

17.15 Close.  Visit to the Dylan Thomas 100 exhibition


Day Two: Thursday 18 September

09.15  Nia Daniel: The role of the National Library of Wales in Welsh literary archives: the example of the Dylan Thomas centenary

09.45  Publishers’ archives: working with the publishers, working with the users

  • Fran Baker, The University of Manchester Library, the Carcanet Archive
  • Becky Bradley, University of Newcastle Library, the Bloodaxe Archive

10.45  Break for coffee

11.15  Cross-sectoral collaboration: case studies

  • Judy Burg: The story of Hull History Centre, and its literary archives
  • Elisabeth Bennett, University of Swansea and Iwan Bryn James & Scott Waby, National Library of Wales: The experience of creating a replica of Richard Burton’s schoolboy diary.

12.30 Lunch

13.15  GLAM AGM, to include any matters arising from the last general meeting and the last committee meeting, and latest news from member organisations.

14.45  Close

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New Malcolm Bradbury material at UEA Archives

Early short stories in the Nottinghamshire Guardian
Early short stories in the Nottinghamshire Guardian

Malcolm Bradbury (1932-2000) was Professor at the University of East Anglia’s former School of English and American Studies (EAS) from 1970-1994. He co-founded (with Angus Wilson) and later directed the MA course in Creative Writing. Bradbury was a prolific writer of novels, short stories, literary criticism and television plays and series. He is probably best known for his fictional work The History Man (1975).

Now his son, Dominic, has added to his father’s existing papers by depositing hundreds of newspaper cuttings and magazine articles which span Bradbury’s writing career, beginning with his schoolboy writings in the Nottinghamshire Guardian in 1949. Humorous sketches in Punch give way to interviews on provincial identity and the perils of writing. In addition to writing original television series (The Gravy Train and Doctor Criminale), Bradbury adapted the work of other writers such as Tom Sharpe, Alison Lurie, Colin Watson, David Storey and Kingsley Amis, and contributed episodes to popular British television crime series including A Touch of Frost, Dalziel and Pascoe, and Kavanagh QC.

Five crates of radio/television & film scripts, along with printed lectures/essays, book jackets, biographical sketches and interviews, have now been added to the existing collections on American studies and creative writing. Listings of the new material are available online:

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Virtual exhibitions from Cambridge University Library

Cambridge University Library has recently been using a generous grant from the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation to augment its provision of online exhibitions. The re-designed Exhibitions homepage has links to the resources in the new format, which have been created using a customised platform based on WordPress. Two recent virtual exhibitions in particular may be of interest to those involved with modern literary manuscripts.

David Holbrook letter

The censor’s mark on a letter written by David Holbrook from the Normandy beachhead, June 1944. From Cambridge University Library MS Add. 9987. Estate of David Holbrook.

Flesh wounds: David Holbrook and D-Day concerns David Holbrook, later well-known as a writer, educationist and controversialist, who landed in Normandy as a twenty-one year old tank commander on D-Day, 6 June 1944, and recounted his experiences in his autobiographical 1966 novel Flesh wounds, which has been described as ‘one of the few war novels that is conceived on the same plane as Wilfred Owen’s war poems’. The exhibition marks the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe and draws on Holbrook’s literary archive, donated to the Library by his family in 2012.

Holbrook served in the East Riding Yeomanry, an armoured regiment which operated American-designed Sherman tanks on D-Day. The exhibition includes a letter, written on a NAAFI (Navy Army & Air Force Institutes) letter form, sent by Holbrook from the Normandy beachhead to his parents in Norwich, in which he describes the Nazis as ‘brutal overgrown boyscouts’, and says the Germans ‘fight cleverly & dirtily – chiefly in the evenings.’ An amended version of the letter was printed in Flesh wounds. Keep reading ...

Another letter on show was written in Leeds during Holbrook’s convalescence from an infected wound sustained during the shelling of his unit’s headquarters on 21 June, and shows an early formulation in prose of experiences that were later to form the basis of episodes in Flesh wounds. The display also includes sheets from an autograph draft of the ‘D+2’ chapter of the novel, recounting events in Normandy on 8 June 1944; this contains a lengthy (and highly uncomplimentary) account of the British Sten gun, and a comparison of it with its German equivalents and with weapons of earlier eras, which was largely discarded in the published version of the novel. Copies of some of the many printings of Flesh wounds, in hardback and paperback, are also included.

Holbrook returned to the sites of the Normandy battlefields in 1994 for the fiftieth anniversary of the campaign, and provided an account of his visit for members of his old regiment: a typescript of this short text concludes the exhibition, and gives an account of the wording on the gravestones of former comrades killed by the shelling in which Holbrook was himself wounded: ‘On the grave of Major Tony Fitzwilliam-Hyde [sic] it says, “The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits”. On that of Sergeant L Harness, “Whosoever reads his name salutes a mighty company who died that we might be free”. On the grave of Cpl. A. Emsley, “Proud and treasured memories of a darling husband and daddy. Age 23.”’

Czargrad draft

Section of a draft of John Riley’s poem ‘Czargrad’. From Cambridge University Library MS Add. 10038.

‘rhythm and line and necessity’: John Riley and Czargrad traces the composition of Riley’s poem Czargrad, a seminal work in the alternative tradition of British poetry exemplified by the so-called ‘Cambridge School’ in the 1960s and 1970s. Riley was born in Leeds in 1937 and was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, between 1958 and 1961. He took employment as a schoolteacher before leaving the profession to concentrate on literary work. He was killed in a street robbery in Leeds in 1978, aged 41. John Riley’s literary papers were donated to Cambridge University Library by his wife, Carol Riley Brown, in 2013.

Czargrad holds a central place in Riley’s work. Writing in PN review in 1981, Douglas Oliver called it Riley’s ‘broadest, most comprehensive poem’, evoking ‘an imagined, pristine, Eastern Orthodox city, shining a little with Byzantine gold, ambiguously holding out promise of true government, of true citizenship, and held in mind-sight by tremulous energies of artistic creativity.’ The poem, written in four parts in the years preceding Riley’s reception into the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977, uses incantatory language to interweave English and Eastern scenes with recurrent imagery of wings, water, flowers, leaves, domes and light.

The exhibition puts on display notebooks and worksheets containing a selection of Riley’s manuscript and typescript drafts of the poem, together with printed items and correspondence relating to the work. It draws both on the John Riley Papers, MS Add. 10038; Riley’s letters to his friend Michael Grant in MS Add. 10000; and the Library’s printed book collections.

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The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship Symposium

Founder of the Literary Fund, David Williams (1738-1816) by John Francis Rigaud

Founder of the Literary Fund, David Williams (1738-1816) by John Francis Rigaud

The British Library Conference Centre

Friday 9th May, 10:30am-5:45pm (followed by a wine reception and an evening event)

The dissenting minister, philosopher and educationalist David Williams founded the Royal Literary Fund in 1790 in order ‘to withdraw those apprehensions of extreme poverty, and those desponding views of futurity, which lead Genius and Talent from the path of Virtue’, which in practice meant providing confidential financial aid to struggling writers. More than three thousand six hundred writers applied to the Fund prior to 1939, including luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Clare, Leigh Hunt, Joseph Conrad, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and Dorothy Richardson, but also hundreds of less familiar figures. Their stories of their difficulties, as preserved in the Fund’s archive, stand testament to the enduring difficulties of making a living by the pen in the period between the French Revolution and the end of the First World War. The Fund’s Archive is held at the British Library, but large parts of it are available on microfilm at numerous institutions in the UK and abroad.

At this symposium, four noted scholars will each bring their particular expertise to bear on the Fund’s records, exploring the perils of authorship in the long nineteenth century from a range of perspectives:

Professor Jon Mee (University of York) – ‘General science, Political Disquisitions, and the Belle Lettres’: The First Decade of the Literary Fund

Dr Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent) – UnRomantic Authorship: The Case of Women in the Royal Literary Fund Archive (1790-1830)

Professor Josephine McDonagh (King’s College London) – Forms and Rituals of Giving and Receiving at the Royal Literary Fund

Professor Max Saunders (King’s College London) – Fund of Stories: Modernism, Life Writing and the RLF

The symposium will also feature an introduction to the Royal Literary Fund Archive by Dr Matthew Sangster (British Library) and a roundtable discussion to close the proceedings.

Tickets can be booked online at The fee is £15 (or £10 for concessions) and includes tea breaks, lunch, a wine reception after the conference, and entry to the subsequent evening event, ‘The Royal Literary Fund and the Struggling Author’, introduced by Sir Ronald Harwood, and featuring James Walton in conversation with Richard Holmes, Jeremy Lewis and Claire Tomalin; this will take place between 6:30pm and 7:30pm.

This symposium is a collaboration between the British Library, the Royal Literary Fund, and the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of York.

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Survey on living authors and social media

The following request has been received from the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee, who would like to hear from authors who use social media:

Archive staff at the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee are looking for input from members of the Society of Authors regarding the preservation of an author’s social media content.

It’s only over the last two centuries that literary research through archives has evolved into the widely respected academic discipline that it is today. As a direct result of that literary archives are being collected and preserved in perpetuity across the world providing researchers with a unique insight into the inner workings of an author’s creative process. Access to this type of content is not only of value to those looking to deconstruct and analyse an author, their work and influences, but also to aspiring authors looking to hone their craft and seek guidance from those they admire. They are a truly valuable resource.

The research is looking at the attitudes of archivists and authors to social media and how they can collaborate to ensure an author’s social media content is preserved in perpetuity along with their print and/or digital archives. The research focuses on the digital legacy of the life and work of an author which may find its way into a specialist or institutional archive either by bequest, donation or purchase. It is the cultural norm today for published and aspiring authors to use an ever bewildering array of digital technology to write and draft new pieces of work, to build their profile and to communicate with friends, peers and business associates. Social media is one example of technology that is so ingrained in the way of life it is more instinctive, and efficient, to log in to Facebook, Twitter or a blog site and post information that can be instantly accessed by the public, than it is to write a letter.

To carry out this research it would be helpful if archivists could forward the following survey on to any living authors whose collections they actively manage.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Kirsty Lee

MLitt postgrad, University of Dundee and Archives Assistant, University of St Andrews

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London Metropolitan Archives Spring Arts Festival, 11-12 April

There are plenty of literary activities on offer in LMA’s Spring Festival, from creative writing workshops and readings, to talks on archiving publishing collections and how to get you children’s book published. For full details see the LMA Spring Arts Festival programme.

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