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A. L. (Audrey Lilian) Barker:

A Preliminary Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Barker, A. L. (Audrey Lilian), 1918-2002
Title: A. L. (Audrey Lilian) Barker Papers
Dates: 1940s-1998
Extent: 16 boxes (6.72 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers of British writer A. L. Barker reflect her literary life as a novelist, short story writer, free-lance writer, BBC sub-editor for The Listener, and active member of both the English P.E.N. and the Royal Society of Literature.
RLIN Record #: None
Language: English
Access: Access: Open for research

Acquisition: Acquisition: Purchase, 2003 (Reg. no. 15201)
Processed by: Processed by: Liz Murray, 2004
Repository: :

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

The papers of British writer A. L. Barker reflect her literary life as a novelist, short story writer, free-lance writer, BBC sub-editor for The Listener, and active member of both the English P.E.N. and the Royal Society of Literature. Although this collection is incomplete, it does contain the papers Barker had in her possession at the time of her death in 2002, which were originally bequeathed to the English P.E.N. Included here are drafts of many of her novels and short story collections; writings on Stella Benson, Katherine Mansfield, and Leslie Moore; plays for radio and television; literary and research notes; correspondence; photographs; and personal and professional papers. Barker was known as "Pat" to her friends and "A. L. Barker" for literary publishing. She used her married name "Bourne" at the BBC and for public documents, although she was married for only a brief period during World War II.
The papers are arranged in four series: Series I. Works and Related Material, 1940s-1990s; Series II. Correspondence, 1946-1998; Series III. Career-Related Material; and Series IV. Personal.
Series I. Works and Related Material, 1940s-1990s, is divided into Subseries A. Writings, and Subseries B. Works-Related Material. Arranged in alphabetical order, drafts or page proofs of novels in Subseries A include The Haunt (1995); A Heavy Feather (1978); The Joy Ride and After (novellas, 1963); The Middling (1968); and Zeph (1992). Material for published collections of short stories include Any Excuse for a Party (1991); Element of Doubt (1992); and Femina Real (1971).
Other writings in Subseries A. include story sketches, poems, and reviews from the 1940s; a typescript transcription of Stella Benson's letters to Laura Hutton that Barker sought to have published; a contribution on George Eliot for Writers and Their Houses; a lecture on the supernatural for the Royal Society of Literature; two short pieces on Katherine Mansfield and Leslie Moore; typescripts of short stories; and a number of radio and television plays.
Subseries B. Works-Related Material, contains primarily notes for her writing, and research on such topics as photography, plants, themes, quotes, and writers and writing. Barker was a prolific scribbler of ideas on scraps of paper and this subseries contains a substantial number of these notes.
Series II. Correspondence, 1946-1998, is divided into Subseries A. Literary, arranged chronologically; and Subseries B. Personal, arranged alphabetically. The literary correspondence includes letters to and from Barker's agent Jennifer Kavanagh, publishers, the BBC, and literary societies. The personal correspondence includes a small amount of Barker's outgoing correspondence, as well as letters from Sybille Bedford, John Brathy, Penelope Fitzgerald, Jane Gardam, Mary Hocking, Francis King, Pauline Neville, and Isobel Quigly, among others.
The career-related material in Series III reflects her literary activities with organizations such as the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, Lumb Bank, and the English P.E.N., as well as readings and judging for literary awards such as the Katherine Mansfield Prize and the Silver P.E.N. Award. Barker's receipt of the inaugural Somerset Maugham Prize in 1947, and nomination for the 1970 Booker Prize, are also represented.
Series IV. Personal, contains address books, biographical information, a long run of daybooks from 1955-1998, family papers, BBC-related employment material, divorce decree, membership cards, and photographs.

Audio cassettes received with the papers, including Barker's public readings and BBC broadcasts, were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recordings collection.


Bedford, Sybille, 1911-2006.
Benson, Stella, 1892-1933.
Fitzgerald, Penelope.
Gardam, Jane.
Hocking, Mary.
King, Francis Henry.
Neville, Pauline.


PEN (Organization).
BBC Radio.

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