News Release — 20 September 2002
Julian Barnes Papers
Come to Texas
Austin, Texas -- The Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin has acquired the archive of internationally renowned British novelist Julian Barnes. Barnes is the author of nine novels, a book of short stories, and two collections of essays. He has won numerous awards and honors for his writing, and continues to produce critically acclaimed work.
The acquisition of the Barnes archive reflects the Center's substantial commitment to collect the finest contemporary authors. "One of Britain's major writers, Barnes is a versatile man of letters," says Director Tom Staley, "From Flaubert's Parrot to Love, Etc., Barnes' fiction is rich and entertaining. His prose is as playful as it is supple and rich." Spanning Barnes' thirty-year writing career, the archive includes all his typescript drafts, proofs, production material, and many reviews from his novels, as well as travel diaries, journals, unpublished non-fiction writing, correspondence, photographs, and articles by and about Barnes.
Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England on January 19, 1946, educated at the City of London School from 1957 to 1964, and attended Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated with honors in 1968. He then took a position as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary where he worked in what he refers to as the "sports and dirty words department." In 1977, Barnes began working as a reviewer and literary editor for the New Statesman and the New Review, later serving as television critic for the New Statesman and the Observer.
Barnes' first novel, Metroland, was published in 1980, and received the Somerset Maugham Award. He then published two crime novels under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh, followed by his second novel, Before She Met Me, under his own name. In 1984, Jonathan Cape published Flaubert's Parrot, which was subsequently shortlisted for the coveted Booker Prize, and became Barnes' cornerstone accomplishment. Barnes has since received another Booker nomination (England, England 1998), a Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (Flaubert's Parrot 1985), the E. M. Forster Award (American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1986), and the Gutenberg Prize (1987). He also has the distinction of being the first Englishman to have won both the Prix Médicis (Flaubert's Parrot 1986) and the Prix Femina (Talking It Over 1992), and was made an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1995.
Barnes' work has reached a broad international audience. He served as London correspondent for the New Yorker magazine between 1990-1995, writing a series of essays titled "Letter from London," and continues to make regular contributions to the magazine. Two of Barnes' novels have been adapted for the screen: Metroland, starring Emily Watson and Christian Bale, and Love, Etc. Writes Barnes of the archive, "Everything I do from the moment I am faced by what I recognize as the possibility-or pre-possibilityof a novel is contained within the archive."
One of the world's finest cultural archives, the Ransom Center houses 30 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and over 100,000 works of art and design. Highlights include the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1450), the world's first photograph (c. 1826), important paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and major manuscript collections of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Tennessee Williams to name but a few. The Center is used extensively for research by scholars from around the world and presents numerous exhibitions and events each year showcasing its collections. Exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.