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Stephen Gray:

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

Creator: Gray, Stephen, 1941-
Title: Stephen Gray Papers 1960-2000
Dates: 1960-2000
Extent: 22 boxes (9.24 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers of South African writer Stephen Gray consists of novels, plays, poetry, short stories, journalism, literary notebooks and editorial work. Also included are incoming and outgoing correspondence, interviews, speeches, and files from his college years, Chilean residence in 1968, and University of Iowa Writer's Workshops, 1966-1969.
Access: Open for research

Acquisition: Purchase, 2002 (Reg. no. 15044)
Processed by: Liz Murray, 2002

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

This comprehensive collection of papers of the South African writer Stephen Gray comprises four decades of literary endeavor from the 1960s to 2000, including novels, plays, poetry, short stories, journalism, and editorial work. Gray arranged his papers prior to shipment to the Ransom Center and this order has been retained throughout, following his assigned headings. Often related papers and correspondence were drawn together under a single topic and were listed in detail. These descriptions are found in the first folder of each grouping. The materials are organized in three series: Series I. Works; Series II. Correspondence, 1960s-1990s; and Series III. Career-Related Material.
The works are divided into subseries by genre, reflecting the breadth of Gray's writing: Subseries A. Literary Notebooks; Subseries B. Novels; Subseries C. Plays; Subseries D. Poetry; Subseries E. Short Stories; Subseries F. Other Writings; and Subseries G. Collaborations and Projects.
The notebooks date from 1961-1994 and contain diary and travelogue entries as well as literary notes and drafts, made in locations such as Cambridge, Athens, Greece, and Bellagio. The Novels subseries contains typescript drafts and related material for Accident of Birth, Born of Man, Caltrop's Desire, Drakenstein, Local Color, Necessary Evil, Time of Our Darkness, Visible People, War Child, and Yves and Johnny.
Subseries C contains Gray's produced and unproduced plays, including "Borderlands, " adapted from Perceval Gibbon's novel; "Cold Stone Jug, " an adaptation of Herman Bosman's novel; "An Evening at the Vernes, " "Helena's Hope, Ltd. " based on Stephen Black's play; "Peepshow"; and "Schreiner: A One-woman Play, " based on the correspondence and writings of Olive Schreiner.
Gray's published and published poetry is contained in Subseries D, in works such as Appolo Café and Other Poems; Gabriel's Exhibition: New Poems; "Heritage Day and Other Poems"; Hottentot Venus and Other Poems; Love Poems, Hate Poems; Season of Violence; Selected Poems (1960-92); and "Taken. " Typescripts, reviews, and related material are present for these works. Additional poetry is found in Subseries G.
Subseries E contains Gray's short stories, from early works in the 1960s to 2001, as well as individual stories published in collections. Other writings include his journalism for The London Magazine, The Weekly Mail, Mail & Guardian, The South African Review of Books, and other magazines and newspapers; his work as editor for the periodical, Izwi and the collection Picador Book of African Stories; a contribution in The Invisible Ghetto on Richard Rive; and travelogues, especially "Trek with Shakespeare, " an account of Gray's involvement touring Shakespeare, 1962-1964.
Gray's work with Cecil Skotnes predominates the Collaborations and Projects subseries. Skotnes prints combine with Gray's words in works such as The Assassination of Shaka and The White Monday Disaster.
Series II. Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing letters between Gray and Guy Butler, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Christopher Hope, Dan Jacobson, Wopko Jensma, Etienne Leroux, Douglas Livingstone, Alan Paton, Tom Raworth, Richard Rive, and David Wright. Files also exist for Contrast, literary agents and publishers, and Quagga Press.
The career-related material in Series III includes articles about Gray, interviews, speeches, and files from his college years, Chilean residence in 1968, and University of Iowa Writer's Workshops, 1966-1969.
The collection is in good condition except for the lingering odor of moth balls used during storage. Books and audio/visual tapes received with the papers were transferred to departments within the Ransom Center.