Author donates papers to University of Oxford
Alan Bennett is to donate his manuscripts and other papers to the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library.
The archive includes original manuscripts, typescripts and handwritten notes and drafts for all of Bennett’s stage and television plays; the manuscripts of his novellas and short-stories; and his autobiographical collections. Bennett will also donate annotated editions of his published writing as well as unpublished letters, and diaries from 1974 onwards.
Bennett read Modern History at Exeter College, Oxford. He said, “I hope I never undervalued the education I had here and (though not to seem over-pious) I see this gift, such as it is, as some small recompense both to the University and also, though it is unfashionable to say this, to the state … or Nanny state as it is disparagingly called. Well, as I say, I was lucky in my time and I’m grateful to be nannied.”
Libraries more often have to spend large amounts of money to acquire the work of British authors. The British Library bought Harold Pinter’s papers for £1.1m in 2007 and a collection of Ted Hughes papers for £500,000 this year.
The archive will be catalogued and should be partly open to researchers by January 2010.