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Penelope Lively:

An Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Lively, Penelope, 1933-
Title: Penelope Lively Papers
Dates: 1940-2013
Extent: 49 document boxes, 1 oversize box (osb) (20.58 linear feet), 1 galley file (gf)
Abstract: The papers of writer Penelope Lively include notebooks, typescripts, proofs, and galleys for fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, short stories, and works for children, spanning a career of over forty years. Also included is correspondence with agents, publishers, friends, and readers.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-2514
Language: English
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Purchases and gifts, 1996-2013 (R13555, R14537, R15414, G12498, R16509, G12544, 09-10-010-G, 13-05-005-P)

Processed by:

Liz Murray and Hope Rider, 1996-2011; Daniela Lozano, 2013-2014

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


Penelope Lively was born Penelope Margaret Low in Cairo, Egypt on March 17, 1933, the only child to Roger Low, a bank manager, and Vera Greer. Lively was looked after by a nanny, Lucy, and was only allowed to see her actual mother for one hour per day. She was homeschooled by Lucy, and would spend her days playing in the gardens of their home and making up stories in her head. In 1945, at the age of twelve, her parents divorced and Lively was forced to leave Cairo and end her relationship with Lucy. Her mother had no interest in gaining custody, so her father sent her to boarding school in England. It was her first time receiving formal education. She remained in boarding school until she was sixteen, after which she attended St. Anne's College, Oxford where she read Modern History and graduated in 1956. Lively was 24 and working as a secretary when she met Jack Lively, an academic and professor. Within a year, they married and had a daughter, Josephine, and three years later a son, Adam.

Lively was in her thirties and a stay-at-home mother when she began writing. She started with children's novels, publishing the first, Astercote, in 1970. Throughout the 1970s, she flourished as a children's writer, winning several awards including the Children's Spring Book Festival Award for The Driftway (1972), the Carnegie Medal for The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973), and the Whitbread Children's Book Award for A Stitch in Time (1976).

Her first novel for adults, The Road to Lichfield, was published in 1977 and made the shortlist for the Booker Award. Lively made the shortlist again with a later novel, According to Mark (1984) and then won the Booker Award in 1987 with Moon Tiger, the story of a historian considering her life as she lays on her deathbed. Lively's own memories of her early childhood in Egypt during the war provided source material for that novel. Other novels by Lively include Treasures of Time (1979), which won the Arts Council National Book Award; Passing On (1989); City of the Mind (1991); Cleopatra's Sister (1993); Heat Wave (1996); The Photograph (2003); Family Album (2009), a Costa Book Award finalist; and How it All Began (2011). Her short story collections include The Five Thousand and One Nights (1997) and Making it Up (2005).

In addition to fiction, Lively has written three memoirs Oleander, Jacaranda: a Childhood Perceived (1994), A House Unlocked (2001), and Dancing Fish and Ammonites (2013), and one non-fiction book, The Presence of the Past: An Introduction to Landscape History (1976). She has regularly reviewed and written articles for several journals and newspapers including the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Times (London, England), the New York Times, and the Literary Review .

Lively is the only person to have received both the Carnegie Medal and the Booker Award. In 2012, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature.


In addition to material found within the Penelope Lively papers, the following sources were used:

"Penelope Lively."   Contemporary Authors Online, Gale Literary Databases, http://galenet.galegroup.com (accessed 28 April 2014).

"Penelope Lively at 80."   The Times (London), 12 October 2013, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/magazine/article3889652.ece (accessed 28 April 2014).

"Penelope Lively's life in books."   BBC News, 30 December 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16362698 (accessed 28 April 2014).


The papers of writer Penelope Lively include notebooks, typescripts, proofs, and galleys for fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, short stories, and works for children, spanning a career of over forty years. Also included is correspondence with agents, publishers, friends, and readers. The papers are arranged in two series: I. Works and Career-Related Materials, 1940-2013, and II. Correspondence, 1965-2012.

Series I. Works and Career-Related Materials is arranged in alphabetical order and predominately consists of drafts and proofs related to Lively's fiction writings for adults and children. Adult fiction titles include According to Mark (1984), City of the Mind (1991), Cleopatra's Sister (1993), Consequences (2007), Family Album (2009), The Five Thousand and One Nights (1997), Heat Wave (1996), How It All Began (2011), Judgement Day (1980), Making It Up (2005, an anti-memoir), Moon Tiger (1987, Booker Prize), Next to Nature, Art (1982), Nothing Missing But the Samovar and Other Stories (1978), Pack of Cards (1986), Passing On (1989), Perfect Happiness (1983), The Photograph (2003), The Road to Lichfield (1977), Spiderweb (1998), and Treasures of Time (1979, Arts Council National Book Award). Also present are drafts, proofs, and research material for Lively's two memoirs, A House Unlocked (2001) and Oleander, Jacaranda: A Childhood Perceived (1994); a work of non-fiction, The Presence of the Past: An Introduction to Landscape History (1976); twenty-four books for children, including her Carnegie Medal winning The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973); short stories; handwritten notebooks for various projects; and an early writing, "Egypt," written in 1940 at the age of seven. Some correspondence, generally letters to and from publishers regarding book production, is included in this series. Career-related materials at the end of the series include publicity for Moon Tiger and several short works, an interview in the November 1988 issue of Writer's Monthly, Lively's reviews of books, and a booklet by Roger Scowen recording references in Lively's works to works by Lewis Carroll.

Series II. Correspondence consists of incoming and outgoing letters and is grouped into categories according to Lively's original descriptions and then arranged by date. The correspondence includes letters regarding engagements, fan mail from children and 'letters from strangers', business dealings with her literary agency, David Higham Associates and their predecessor, her long-time agent Murray Pollinger, publishers, and other career-related correspondence. Letters to and from friends include A. L. Barker, William Cooper, Dorothy Edwards, Dennis Enright, Penelope Fitzgerald, Selina Hastings, Anthony Lawton, Penelope Mortimer, Barbara Pym, Carol Shields, and Rosemary Sutcliff. There are numerous letters between Lively and her long-time friend Jane Langton. Lively's outgoing correspondence is located throughout, especially in the agents and publishers folders. Publishers include André Deutsch, Beaufort Books, Doubleday, E. P. Dutton, Fjord Press, Grove/Atlantic, Harper Collins, Penguin Books, Viking, and Heinemann. All incoming correspondents are listed in an Index of Correspondents included with this guide.

The entire collection is in good physical condition with the exception of some minor tape damage among the typescript drafts.


Numerous published works, including many translations, were received with the papers and were transferred to the Ransom Center Library.


Correspondents

Barker, A. L. (Audrey Lillian), 1918- .

Cooper, William, 1910-2002.

Edwards, Dorothy, 1914-1982.

Enright, D. J. (Dennis Joseph), 1920-2002.

Fitzgerald, Penelope.

Langton, Jane, 1922- .

Lawton, Anthony.

Mortimer, Penelope, 1918-1999.

Pym, Barbara.

Shields, Carol.

Sutcliff, Rosemary.

Subjects

Authors, English--20th century.

Authors, English--21st century.

Children's literature, English

English literature--20th century.

English literature--21st century.

English literature--Women authors.

Fiction--20th century.

Fiction--21st century.

Novelists, English--20th century.

Novelists, English--21st century.

Short stories.

Women authors--20th century.

Women authors--21st century.

Document Types

Correspondence.

Fiction.

Galley proofs.

Manuscripts.

Notebooks.

Novels.

Short stories.