||The papers of British writer A. L. Barker reflect her literary life as a novelist,
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
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
story collections; writings on Stella Benson, Katherine Mansfield, and Leslie Moore;
for radio and television; literary and research notes; correspondence; photographs;
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
||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
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
typescript transcription of Stella Benson's letters to Laura Hutton that Barker sought
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
on such topics as photography, plants, themes, quotes, and writers and writing. Barker
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
Barker's outgoing correspondence, as well as letters from Sybille Bedford, John Brathy,
Penelope Fitzgerald, Jane Gardam, Mary Hocking, Francis King, Pauline Neville, and
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
Prize and the Silver P.E.N. Award. Barker's receipt of the inaugural Somerset Maugham
in 1947, and nomination for the 1970 Booker Prize, are also represented.
||Series IV. Personal, contains address books, biographical information, a long run
daybooks from 1955-1998, family papers, BBC-related employment material, divorce decree,
membership cards, and photographs.