We recently acquired the first donation of the papers of writer Rosie Garland. In 2018-2019, she was the writer-in residence at the Rylands.
Here Rosie writes about how she feels to have her papers in the John Rylands Research Institute and Library.
The story begins in 2018, when I embarked on my residency at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library, as the inaugural writer-in-residence, funded by Arts Council England. It’s a true honour to have my papers acquired for the Rylands archive. To be part of this marvellous national archive (which includes writers, artists, thinkers and so very much more) is astonishing. The more so when I consider my background. I’m the only member of my family – past or present – ever to go to University. I never imagined I’d be a published novelist and poet, let alone that my papers would be deemed worthy of archiving. I’m thrilled. A further thrill is that one day someone may wish to dive in and study my papers.
Currently, the archive contains handwritten working notes, research materials, plus printed and amended drafts for my first three novels: The Palace of Curiosities, Vixen, and The Night Brother. It takes me a long time to write a novel, and I start drafting ideas longhand: getting into the voice of the characters, their desires and internal lives, working out the obstacles they face and how they may go about overcoming them. This means I write a great deal more than ever makes it into the finished novel.
There are also a few extras. When collating materials to send to the archive, I found notebooks containing draft ideas for one of my ‘apprentice’ novels – i.e. unpublished. Yes, I wrote four novels before the fourth (my debut, The Palace of Curiosities) won the Mslexia novel competition in 2012 and was finally published by HarperCollins.
One of the many wonderful aspects of my archive is it’s an open archive. I can and will be adding new material. In the future, interested folk will be able to access a digital archive of correspondence with publishers and agents, plus drafts of poetry collections (including What Girls Do In The Dark (Nine Arches Press), As In Judy (Flapjack Press), Everything Must Go (Holland Park Press)), short fiction, essays, song lyrics I’ve written for The March Violets, scrapbooks – and one day, the tiny books I wrote for my dolls…
It’s amazing to know that my papers are being so well cared for. I’m deeply grateful to the wonderful staff at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library.
The Rosie Garland Papers are currently uncatalogued. Please contact the curator via firstname.lastname@example.org for information about accessing material.