University of Texas at Austin

T. Coraghessan Boyle:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Boyle, T. Coraghessan, 1946-
Title: T. Coraghessan Boyle Papers
Dates: 1887-2012 (bulk 1970-2010)
Extent: 109 document boxes (46 linear feet), 4 oversize boxes (osb), 5 oversize folders (osf), 3 computer disks
Abstract: The papers of American novelist and short story writer T. Coraghessan Boyle include drafts, correspondence, research, publishing material, press material, and electronic files relating to his novels and short stories. Boyle's nonfiction essays and reviews are represented by correspondence, drafts, proofs, and tearsheets. Also present are materials relating to Boyle's readings and other public appearances, a proposed television series based upon Boyle's short stories, and Boyle's career as a professor at The University of Southern California.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-5266
Language: English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish
Access: Open for research. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days' notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material:
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use Certain restrictions apply to the use of electronic files. Researchers must agree to the Materials Use Policy for Electronic Files before accessing them. Original computer disks and forensic disk images are restricted. Copying electronic files, including screenshots and printouts, is not permitted. To request access to electronic files, please email Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Centers' Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 2012 (12-02-006-P)
Processed by: Katherine Mosley, 2013 and Grace Hansen, 2017

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Novelist and short story writer T. C. Boyle was born Thomas John Boyle, Jr., in Peekskill, New York, on December 2, 1946. His father, Thomas John Boyle, was a school bus driver, and his mother, Rosemary Post Boyle (later Rosemary Murphy), was a school secretary; he had one younger sister. Boyle adopted what he calls a "punk" lifestyle in response to growing up in a working class home in a wealthy area, with parents who were both alcoholics. At age seventeen, he took the middle name of Coraghessan and graduated from Lakeland High School (Shrub Oak, N.Y.). Boyle played saxophone and intended to study music in college but instead double majored in English and history. After receiving his B.A. from The State University of New York at Potsdam in 1968, Boyle avoided the draft for the war in Vietnam by working as a teacher in the Peekskill City School District (1968-1969) and at Lakeland High School (1969-1972).
Boyle began writing while in college and had his short story "The OD and Hepatitis Railroad or Bust" published in the North American Review in 1972; on the basis of that story, he was accepted into the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in Fiction. At Iowa, he received a teaching and writing fellowship (1973-1974), was Assistant Fiction Editor to Robert Coover at the Iowa Review and then Fiction Editor (1977- 1978), and won a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1977). Boyle earned his M.F.A. in fiction (1974) and his Ph.D in British literature 1800-1945 and contemporary American fiction (1977).
Boyle was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California in 1978, becoming an associate professor in 1982, a full professor in 1987, and Distinguished Professor of English in 2003. He founded the USC creative writing program in 1978 and directed that program until 1990. Boyle has continued to teach at USC while writing alternately novels and short stories. In addition, Boyle, who is known for his entertaining stage presence, promotes his books through readings, or what he calls "performances," and book tours.
Boyle's first book, Descent of Man (1979), was an expanded collection of short stories from his Ph.D thesis; it won the 1980 St. Lawrence Prize. While Boyle's first novel, Water Music (1981), was widely acclaimed, his third novel, World's End (1987) received the PEN/Faulkner Award and cemented his literary reputation. Among Boyle's best-known works are Greasy Lake and Other Stories (1985), If the River Was Whiskey (1989), The Road to Wellville (1993, adapted as a film in 1994), The Tortilla Curtain (1995), Riven Rock (1998), A Friend of the Earth (2000), After the Plague (2001), Drop City (2003), The Inner Circle (2004), and The Women (2009). Boyle's short stories have been published in major periodicals and in numerous anthologies, and his books have been translated into over two dozen languages.
Boyle married Karen Kvashay, whom he met at SUNY, on May 25, 1974. They have three children, Kerrie, Spencer, and Milo, and have lived in a 1909 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, the Charles L. Stewart home in Montecito, California, since 1993.


In addition to material found within the T. C. Boyle Papers, the following sources were used:
Adams, Elizabeth E. "The Art of Fiction No. 161", The Paris Review, no. 155, Summer 2000.
Boyle, T. C. "This Monkey, My Back. "The Eleventh Draft: Craft and the Writing Life from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Ed. Frank Conroy. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1999.
Kelly, Susan. "A Conversation with T. Coraghessan Boyle", The Country and Abroad, May 1999.
"T. C. Boyle". Contemporary Authors Online, (accessed 26 April 2013).
T. C. Boyle's website, (accessed 26 April 2013).

Scope and Contents

The papers of American novelist and short story writer T. Coraghessan Boyle include drafts, research material, correspondence, proofs, layout pages, dust jackets, review and other clippings, tearsheets, resumes, photographs, posters, flyers, maps, awards, broadsides, agreements and contracts, royalty statements, payment receipts, schedules and itineraries, advertisements, catalogs, programs, and electronic files. The materials date primarily from 1969-2010 and are organized in three series: I. Books and Thesis (1887-2010, 53 boxes, 3 computer disks); II. Short Stories (1969-2009, 12.5 boxes); and III. Professional Files and Correspondence (1970-2012, 43.5 boxes). In most instances, Boyle's original filing order and his labeled folders, many with notes in his hand, have been retained.
Series I. Books and Thesis is comprised of research material, drafts, electronic files, and publishing material relating to all of Boyle's novels and short story collections published between 1979 and 2011. Arrangement is chronological by title. Boyle's research material (clippings, maps, ephemera) and notes, which often include working notes regarding plot and storyline as well as fact-checking notes, were originally housed in three-ring binders, but were transferred to archival folders by Ransom Center staff. Drafts usually consist of typescripts with some handwritten revisions; Boyle composed directly on an Olivetti typewriter until 1997, when he began using a computer. Publishing material primarily consists of page proofs and dust jacket proofs, with some layout pages, press releases, publisher catalogs, and readers guides. Scripts for audio versions of The Road to Wellville, The Tortilla Curtain, Talk Talk, and Wild Child are also present. The film adaptation of The Road to Wellville is represented by a typescript by Alan Parker, a press brochure, and a poster. A typescript of Boyle's Ph.D thesis, a collection of short stories which formed the basis of Descent of Man, is located with materials relating to that book. Doubletakes, an anthology textbook edited by Boyle and his daughter Kerrie Kvashay-Boyle, is represented by correspondence, research material, tearsheets of short stories, and typescripts of the book's introduction and preface.
Series II. Short Stories includes drafts, proofs, research material, handwritten notes, and tearsheets of short stories written between 1969 and 2005. Because Boyle's reverse chronological filing order was maintained during processing at the Ransom Center, his earliest stories are located at the end of the series. Most drafts are typescripts with handwritten revisions, and many are signed and dated. Although not noted in the container list, some story drafts are photocopies with dated notes on them indicating that the original typescripts were sold to dealers Glenn Goldman, Glenn Horowitz, and Ralph Sipper.
Series III. Professional Files and Correspondence consists of Boyle's correspondence and subject files and is arranged alphabetically by file title. Noteworthy materials include Boyle's nonfiction essays and reviews and correspondence with agents, publishers, and periodicals to which Boyle submitted work. Filed as "Journalism," the nonfiction pieces are represented by correspondence, drafts, proofs, and tearsheets; interfiled with these is an advertisement Boyle wrote for Absolut Vodka. Also present are correspondence and advertising material relating to Boyle's readings and public appearances; review clippings of Boyle's works (including misfiled clippings of publisher's advertisements for his books, notices of readings, and interviews); interviews, articles, and publicity; drafts, correspondence, and material relating to a proposed anthology television series of Boyle's short stories; and correspondence and other material relating to his career as a professor at The University of Southern California. Smaller files include awards; correspondence with book collectors and bookstores; assignments of copyright from periodicals; typescripts of literary criticism of Boyle's work; a file from the Boyle family's summer in Ireland in 1987; correspondence regarding Boyle's service as a member of a 1985 literature panel for the National Endowment for the Arts; an "Other Universities" file containing correspondence regarding teaching positions at various universities and Boyle's University of Iowa academic records; requests for reprinting stories by Boyle in anthologies; a file of materials relating to Boyle's radio and television program appearances and audio book recordings; and material relating to his lecture tour of Japan arranged through the United States Information Agency in 1989.
While correspondence is scattered throughout Boyle's professional files, the bulk of it is filed under the headings Agents, Fan Mail, General Correspondence, Periodicals, and Publishers. Although little of Boyle's outgoing correspondence is present, his literary career is well documented by the incoming correspondence from his agents and publishers. Georges Borchardt began as Boyle's literary agent in 1976, and sixteen folders of correspondence from Borchardt and employees at his firm date from 1976 to 2006. Boyle's first collection of short stories, Descent of Man (1979), and first novel, Water Music (1981), were published by Little, Brown, and Company, and correspondence regarding publication of those works is present. All of Boyle's books since then have been published by Viking Press, and four boxes of correspondence with his editor, Paul Slovak ("Ace"), and others at the firm date from 1982 to 2012. Boyle's works are very popular in Germany, and four boxes of publishing correspondence with his translator and staff at Carl Hanser Verlag date from 1989 to 2005 and include emails of Boyle's responses to questions from German interviewers. Other files of publishing correspondence document the publication and promotion of foreign editions in England, France, Italy, and other countries. A Book Publishers file consists primarily of correspondence requesting Boyle to write blurbs for books by other authors but also contains correspondence documenting Boyle's early attempts to find a publisher for his first book of collected stories as well as requests for submissions and other letters from various publishers. Correspondence in the Periodicals files regarding Boyle's story submissions include early rejection letters as well as correspondence and occasional typescripts, tearsheets, proofs, and other material relating to the publication of his stories.
Most other correspondence is filed as General Correspondence. Boyle is known for maintaining friendships, many lifelong, and personal letters are primarily those from friends, students, and colleagues; little family correspondence is present. Separate files of Fan Mail contain correspondence from fans from all over the world, letters from high school students along with his responses to them, autograph requests, and other proposals; however, some personal and other incoming letters are interfiled with these.
Among noteworthy correspondents are Boyle's early writing influences John Barth and Robert Coover; Boyle's mentors Kelsie Harder, Vincent Knapp, and Krishna Vaid at SUNY Potsdam; his mentors Vance Bourjaily, Raymond Carver, John Cheever, John Irving, and Frederick McDowell at The University of Iowa; German translator Werner Richter and French translators Robert Pépin and Jef Tombeur; dust jacket illustrator Bascove; and friends and colleagues Alan Arkawy, Ann Beattie, Joe David Bellamy, Pablo Campos, Alan Cheuse, Anthony Colby, Will Connell, Frank Conroy, Robert Graham, Allan Gurganus, Ron Hansen, Greg Herriges, Robert Jordan, Griff Stevens, Sandra Tsing Loh, Kevin McCarey, David Needleman, George Plimpton, Trish Reynales, Jeof Spiro, Annemarie Sprinkle, Sandra Utley, Richard Veit, and Scott Wannberg. Some correspondence with friends includes references to Boyle's use of their names in his works; of note among these are letters from Burton Averre and Christian Stellrecht. An index of correspondents at the end of this finding aid contains locations for all correspondence in the collection.
Photographs of Boyle are not filed under a specific heading but are located throughout the papers, primarily in Boyle's Publisher files. One photograph of Boyle and one of Boyle with his wife Karen Kvashay taken by Alan Arkawy in the late 1960s are located in folder 85.1. Among publicity photographs are those taken by French photographers Martine Simon and Philippe Matsas (folders 90.6 and 91.2), and by German photographer Manu Theobald in 1998 of Boyle holding Kvashay's picture (folder 93.4). Additional photographs of Boyle, including one taken by Pablo Campos in 1995, are located in folder 98.2. Color slides of a family portrait painted by Campos in 1999 are found in folder 79.1. Contact prints from the 1986 Iowa Writers' Workshop Jubilee are in folder 100.6, and photographs taken during Boyle's appearance on the Tavis Smiley Show are in folder 108.1.

Related Material

For additional T. C. Boyle manuscript materials at the Harry Ransom Center, see the T. Coraghessan Boyle Collection and Paul Schrader Papers.
Other institutions with T. C. Boyle materials include:
Additional Papers of Alan Cheuse, Accession #10726-n, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.
Antioch Review mss., 1940-2007, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Carol Muske-Dukes papers, Collection no. 0349, University Archives, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
Fred McDowell Literary Correspondence Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.
(Bill) Henderson mss., 1975-2005, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Joe David Bellamy Papers. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Joyce Carol Oates Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries.
(Gordon) Lish mss., 1951-2012, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.
The Paris Review Archives, Literary and Historical Manuscripts Department, The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
T. Coraghessen Boyle Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
T. Coraghessan Boyle typescripts, Collection no. 0152, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.
Velina Hasu Houston Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Separated Material

100 books, seven audio books, and one compact disc were transferred to the Ransom Center Library.
Four VHS tapes and three compact discs were transferred to the Ransom Center's Moving Image Collection:
  • Bücherjournal III World's End, Wenn d. Fluss voll Wiskey wär, June 27 1991 (VHS tape)
  • Horizonte Auf der Suche nach Amerika, 31 March 1993 (VHS tape)
  • In Print, 20 September 2001 (VHS tape)
  • Writing Out Loud (VHS tape)
  • In Print 01; Writing Out Loud (2 compact discs)
  • World’s End 91; Auf der nach Amerika (compact disc)
Two compact discs were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recordings Collection:
  • Swissandfamous, BSSP05, 10v10 SFDRS, 26 May 2005
  • Swissandfamous, BSSP05, DRS 3, 27 May 2005; Radio 24, 2 June 2005
Four items were transferred to the Ransom Center's Personal Effects Collection:
  • One Book, One San Joaquin publicity button, undated
  • Plaque, California Book Awards for Talk Talk, 2006
  • Plaque, The Evil Companions Literary Award, 2007
  • Framed dust jacket of After the Plague and Other Stories, 2002 SCBA Book Award

Index Terms


Arkawy, Alan.
Averre, Burton.
Barth, John, 1930- .
Bellamy, Joe David.
Borchardt, Georges.
Bourjaily, Vance, 1922-2010.
Campos, Pablo.
Carver, Raymond, 1938-1988.
Cheever, John.
Cheuse, Alan.
Colby, Anthony Owen.
Connell, Will.
Conroy, Frank, 1936-2005.
Coover, Robert.
Graham, Robert J.
Gurganus, Allan, 1947- .
Hansen, Ron, 1947- .
Harder, Kelsie B.
Herriges, Greg.
Irving, John, 1942- .
Knapp, Vincent.
Loh, Sandra Tsing.
McCarey, Kevin.
McDowell, Frederick P. W.
Pépin, Robert, 1941- .
Plimpton, George.
Reynales, Trish
Richter, Werner.
Slovak, Paul.
Spiro, Jeof.
Sprinkle, Annemarie Mulvey.
Tombeur, Jef.
Vaid, Krishna Baldev, 1927- .
Veit, Richard.
Wannberg, Scott.


Bernard Grasset (Firm).
Bloomsbury (Firm).
Carl Hanser Verlag.
Georges Borchardt, Inc.
State University College at Potsdam, N. Y.
University of Iowa.
University of Southern California.
Viking Press.


American fiction--20th century.
American fiction--21st century.
American literature--20th century.
American literature--21st century.
Authors, American--20th century.
Authors, American--21st century.
Novelists, American--20th century.
Novelists, American--21st century.
Short stories, American--20th century.
Short stories, American--21st century.
Short stories, American--Periodicals.
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959. Charles L. Stewart Home, Montecito, Calif.1909.


Peekskill (N.Y.).
Sequoia National Forest (Calif.).

Document Types

Book reviews.
Business cards.
Color slides.
Electronic documents.
First drafts.
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.
Publishers' catalogs.
Sound recordings.
Video recordings.

Container List