News Release — May 5, 2008
Ransom Center Acquires Archive of Prize-winning Writer Jim Crace
The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin has acquired the archive of British writer Jim Crace, author of acclaimed works "Continent" (1986), "Arcadia" (1992), "Quarantine" (1997), "Being Dead" (1999) and "The Pesthouse" (2007).
"Continent," Crace's first novel, earned the Whitbread First Novel Award, the David Higham Prize for fiction and the Guardian Fiction Award. Crace has continued to receive prestigious awards for his works. His novel "Being Dead" received the National Book Critics Circle Award, and "Quarantine" was Whitbread Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
"Jim Crace is a writer of exceptional talent," said Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley. "His archive will reside at the Ransom Center alongside the archives of such contemporaries as Julian Barnes, John Fowles and Barry Unsworth, who like Crace are recognized as great craftsmen."
The archive contains all of Crace's manuscripts, not just of his novels but of stories, plays and essays. The collection also includes notes and outlines for works, reviews, trade journals, radio plays, art work, recordings, press clippings, juvenilia, correspondence and a proposal for two novels, "The Finalist" and "Archipelago."
Crace recently was a distinguished writer-in-residence at the university's James Michener Center for Writers where he taught master classes and seminars.
"The daring and originality of Jim Crace's work becomes more apparent with each passing year," said James Magnuson, director of The James A. Michener Center for Writers. "He was an inspiration to our young fiction writers during his stay here."
During his residency, Crace spent time at the Ransom Center.
"Earlier this year I had the good fortune to pick my way through the riches of the Ransom Center in Austin, including notebooks and illustrations by my personal favorites—William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and T. H. White," said Crace. "It was an enlightening and immensely moving experience.
"So it is with excitement and delight that I learn that the Center will also provide a home for my own archive, spanning everything from first childhood attempts at fiction and teenage poems through 17 years of journalism and nine published novels to page drafts of my current ongoing book (partly set in Austin) and watercolour sketches for an upcoming fictional memoir. It is, of course, strange and even a little distressing to part with so many valued and familiar papers—but I am certain that it is better that they are available and cared for in the Ransom Center than boxed and shut away in the attic of our house in Birmingham, England. No writer could wish for more than to be allocated a corner in such a fine, important and world-class collection."
The Crace materials will be accessible once organized and housed.