Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The University of Nottingham's Literary Collections

Collected Words: From the Literary Collections at the University of Nottingham

Dates: Friday 8 September - Sunday 3 December
Admission free

In 2015 Nottingham became one of only 20 cities around the world to be recognised by UNESCO as a City of Literature – a reflection of the city’s unique literary heritage and creativity. This exhibition of material from the literary archives and collections of printed books held by the University of Nottingham, highlights the work of Nottinghamshire writers and the treasures to be found in the historic collections of local literature lovers. It also looks at the University’s role in shaping the reputations and inspiring the early careers of local poets and authors.
This exhibition offers the opportunity to see a range of literary material including a masterpiece of medieval poetry and the recently acquired previously unknown typescript of Pansies (a late collection of poems by DH Lawrence which attracted the attention of the Home Office on grounds of indecency).
The exhibition looks at how authors down the centuries have been inspired by different aspects of Nottinghamshire, ranging from the beauty of the countryside to the often harsh realities of industrial working life. The importance of local aristocratic families as early book collectors and authors is also examined, drawing on the literary papers from the Library of the Dukes of Portland at Welbeck Abbey, which contains gatherings of the manuscripts of poets including the Duchess of Newcastle, known to some as Mad Madge but celebrated by others as the earliest writer of science fiction. Visitors will also see a curious manuscript describing the antics of ‘Restoration rock star’ poet, the Earl of Rochester.
The exhibition has been curated by staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham. 
Location and Opening Times
Weston Gallery, DH Lawrence Pavilion, Lakeside Arts Centre, University Park,
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
A series of talks and events will be held to accompany the exhibition. Places are limited so please book your tickets with the Box Office online or by calling 0115 8467777.

Lunchtime talks 
Djanogly Theatre

All talks are 1 - 2 pm

28 September
New Additions to the DH Lawrence Collections

In this talk Dr Andrew Harrison will discuss and interpret several recently acquired items in the University’s internationally recognised Lawrence Collections, including a manuscript of ‘Laura Philippine’ and a rare typescript of Pansies, which is displayed for the first time in the exhibition.
12 October

Reading Nottingham's Unread: Republishing James Prior's Forest Folk
First published in 1901, Prior’s pacy novel is set in Blidworth against a background of the Napoleonic Wars and Luddite riots. It lay unnoticed for many years, although DH Lawrence rated Prior’s work. Then, in 2016, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and Spokesman Books co-published DAWN OF THE UNREAD, graphic accounts of vengeful local writers resolute on being read by new generations. In the ferment, Forest Folk clawed its way into view. In this talk, Tony Simpson discusses how it will fare in the bookshops of 2017.

26 October
Local Author Alison Moore: Location and Landscape

Man Booker Prize shortlisted writer of fiction, Alison Moore, will be exploring the influence of location and landscape in her novels, including a work in progress. She will be looking at inspiration, research and the fictionalisation of settings including the English Midlands, the Scottish Borders, the Rhineland and the seaside.
16 November

Castrating Rochester: John Wilmot's Manuscript Poetry

This talk by Dr Adam Rounce looks at the peculiarities of the manuscript canon of the poetry of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-80), and its examples in the collections at the University of Nottingham, not least the autograph manuscripts of Rochester's poems to his wife, which are more restrained in their expression than most of his writing.
Special Events

7.30pm, Djanogly Theatre
26 October: Film Screening

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) PG. Director Karel Reisz
£5 (£3 concs)

This award winning film is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe. Nottingham was used as the location for much of the exterior filming, and the novel’s anti-hero, Arthur Seaton, worked at the Raleigh bicycle factory.
The film will be introduced by Nottingham based performance poet, writer and film fanatic, Andrew Graves, who will examine the piece's themes, lasting appeal and the important part it played in the British New Wave cinema of the 1960s.


Monday, 21 August 2017

Nottingham's Women Writers


On the Trail of Nottingham's Ladies of Literature

Begin at Nottingham Castle.

Near the top of Castle Gate is the Severns’ Building, a medieval dwelling that was re-erected on this site in 1968, and later became the Nottingham Lace Building. Hilda Lewis (1896-1974) started writing her historical and children’s fiction when she moved to Nottingham in the 1920s. Her novel Penny Lace, features the city's Victorian lace industry.
Hilda Lewis
Proceed down Castle Gate to no. 51. 

Ann Gilbert (1782-1866) once lived in this Georgian house. Gilbert, a literary critic, wrote children’s poetry and hymns. Her younger sister and collaborator, Jane Taylor, wrote the words to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Gilbert is buried in Nottingham’s General Cemetery.

Continue along Castle Gate and cross Maid Marion Way; named after one of Nottingham’s most famous characters, and known as Nottingham’s ugliest road.

Passing the Royal Children pub turn left, before turning right into Hounds Gate.
At the corner of Hounds Gate and Albert Street is the former studio of the renowned artist Evelyn Gibbs (1905-1991), writer of the influential book The Teaching of Art in Schools. Gibbs also illustrated several of Hilda Lewis’s books.
Walk past M&S for a quick stop up Castle Gate, diagonally across from Weavers (the family business of the author Geoffrey Trease) is the church in which two lace workers, Matthew and Lucy, married. Their daughter, Alma Reville (the editor and scriptwriter) was born in Nottingham in 1889, a few hours after her future husband and collaborator Alfred Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone.

Part of the centre is now a Christian bookshop.
Turn back past M&S and turn up Low Pavement. No. 26, on the site of Jamie’s, is the former residence of Abigail Gawthern (1757-1822). Gawthern’s diaries were copied into one important volume, documenting how Nottingham's professional classes lived at that time. She died in this house.

Crossing the street, now head along Bridlesmith Gate.

On the right is Waterstone’s, the self-declared ‘finest bookshop in the Midlands’, and Nottingham’s largest, a fine Victorian building. Waterstone’s host a programme of events, including talks from top authors, such as local talents Mhairi McFarlane, Elizabeth Chadwick and Eve Makis.

As Bridlesmith Gate becomes High Street, continue to Pelham Street. On this corner sits a gorgeous Art Nouveau building. Now ZARA, it used to be Boots’ premier store, featuring book sections and a library, all thanks to the influence of Florence Boot (1863-1952). She placed the library counters at the back of the shop so patrons had to walk past the merchandise.

For the longer route (an extra 25min walk) continue with the following excursion by heading up Pelham Street. Alternatively, scroll down and join the second half of the trail. 

Walk up Pelham Street and turn left into George Street along which is the Nottingham Arts Theatre. Past plays held there include The King and I, created from Margaret Landon's (1903-1993) novel;
Annie Get Your Gun, from the book by Dorothy Fields (1905-1974) and her brother Herbert;
and the stage premiere of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
Dorothy Fields

Turn right at Old Lenton Street, then right again at Broad Street, home of the Broadway Cinema. They host a popular Book Club, established by Pam McIlroy and currently run by Leanne Wain.

Continuing along, Rough Trade is on the right. Supportive of literary events they host live poetry, spoken word, book launches and readings. Local poets Panya Banjoko,  Becky Cullen, Di Slaney, Sue Dymoke, Aly Stoneman and editor of Left Lion Bridie Squires, have all performed there.
Panya Banjoko

At Goose Gate turn left and head down through Hockley, all the way to the Nottingham Writers’ Studio on the corner with Lower Parliament Street.
Authors Paula Rawsthorne, Megan Taylor and Alison Moore - whose first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize - are all members of the writers' studio.
Alison Moore

Return up through trendy Hockley. This area is featured in Caroline Bell-Foster’s The Cat CafĂ©. The Nottingham author is best-known for her Call Me Royal series.

Continue down through Pelham Street and back to the ZARA building. Then continue the trail with Option Two.
Second half of the trail:
From ZARA head along Smithy Row.

Joining Long Row, The Works bookshop is on the right. Next to this is an alleyway down which is Five Leaves, one of the few independent bookshops to open in a UK city centre this century.
This radical bookshop hosts regular literary events. Notts writers Shreya Sen-Handley, Giselle Leeb and Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang have all featured at the venue.

At the next corner, turn right, where Speakers’ Corner awaits at the site of the Brain Clough Statue.

Continue up Queen Street, cross Upper Parliament Street and head up South Sherwood Street.
On the left is Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, Theatre Square, which hosted the world premiere of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. The Scarlet Pimpernel also made its first appearance here, two years before Baroness Orczy turned her play into a novel, spurning 13 sequels.

Take a left at Shakespeare Street.
On the left is Nottingham Trent University’s Arkwright Building. Among the authors who have undertaken MA writing courses at NTU are Clare Littleford, Nicola Monaghan, Kim Slater and Frances Thimann.

Nicola Monaghan

Sarah Jackson is currently one of NTU’s creative writing lecturers.
The Arkwright Building has been a public library and it was once University College at which Rose Fyleman (1877-1957) attended.

At Shakespeare Street and North Sherwood Street is the Nottingham Mechanics Institute, home to Nottingham Writers’ Club’s regular meetings. The award-winning author Glenis Wilson is a member the club which was established in 1927.

Continuing along Shakespeare Street, take a left onto Goldsmith Street where the Boots Library is situated. This NTU library is open 24-7 during term time. Florence Boot (born Florence Rowe), her father a bookseller, introduced lending libraries into Boots stores.
Nottingham University’s first hall of residence was named after her.

Carry along Goldsmith Street. Turn right and head up Chaucer Street. Towards the top, on the right, is the Nottingham Women's Centre, run by women, for women. The only women’s library in the East Midlands, it contains many rare books and magazines. The library was relaunched in 2014 with special guest Kat Banyard, author and founder of UK Feminista.

At the end of Chaucer Street turn left and head along Clarendon Street to Wollaton Street. Cross over to Vernon Street. From there cross Derby Road and enter North Circus Street.
Here is Nottingham Playhouse. Host to several writing groups, they also feature many plays from local writers; the Nottingham playwright Amanda Whittington being a Playhouse favourite.

Continuing round and meet Oxford Street. No. 1 Oxford Street is site of the original Nottingham Girls High School founded in 1875.
Now on Arboretum Street, the Girls High School’s former pupils include the authors Helen Cresswell, Stella Rimington and Julie Myerson.

Julie Myerson

On the corner with Regent Street is the family home of the Hines. Nottingham novelist Muriel Hine (1873-1949) features the home in some of her ‘Lacingham’ novels.

At the top of Oxford Street turn left on The Ropewalk. Continue to the corner where the former Nottingham General Hospital (1782-1991) is.
In the mid-19th century the famous local architect TC Hine added a storey, the clock and the chapel. Hine’s granddaughter, Muriel Hine, achieved national fame as a novelist with her light fiction, which explored the challenges and expectations faced by women.

Left down Park Row and right into Postern Street leading to St James Terrace.

Here is the site of The Royal Standard plaque at St James Terrace, which marks the raising of the Royal Standard by Charles 1st, starting the English Civil War. During this time, the Governor of Nottingham Castle’s wife was the biographer and translator Lucy Hutchinson, the writer of Order and Disorder, the first epic poem written in English by a woman.

On the corner, at the top of St James Street, is no. 76, Newstead House, where Lord Byron lived between (1798-99). His daughter Augusta Ada Byron, later known as Ada Lovelace, was a pioneer of computing science, taking part in writing the first published program.

Back on St James Terrace, continue down to Friar Lane and take a left. On the right is St Luke's House, home to the Nottingham Society of Artists founded in 1880. There is a book celebrating their history by Nigel Corlett and Marjorie Macmillan. It’s called For The Very Joy of Art.

Continuing along Friar Lane – which crosses Maid Marion Way – and turn left at Beast Market Hill.
Now in the old Market Square there are many links to Nottingham’s literary heritage.

Dorothy Whipple (1892-1966), described by J B Priestly as the "Jane Austen of the 20th Century" was once Nottingham’s best-known novelist. Most of her novels are set in Nottinghamshire, or as it appears, ‘Trentham’. Her novel They Knew Mr Wright (1934) was made into a 1946 movie partly filmed in the Market Square. 

At the far side of the square is Nottingham's Council House with its stone lions. This grand and official building has been the workplace of the City Councillor and author Catharine Arnold.
Continuing up and left along Long Row the Bell Inn is on the left. This is a former meeting place of Nottingham Writers’ Club whose former members include Helen Cresswell.

Mary Howitt (1799-1888) lived opposite Long Row, just facing the lower corner of the Exchange in a fine old mansion now replaced. Wordsworth called her writing elegant. She’s now best known for The Spider and the Fly.

A few doors along from The Bell is Bromley House Library founded in 1816. Mary Howitt and her husband William, also a famous writer, attended Bromley House Library. Mary wrote: “The remarkable well-supplied library at Bromley House furnished us with the constant stores of literature.”
Current members of the library include the author Rowena Edlin-White who has been a director here for twenty years.   
Tours of the historic library can be booked.

On the top floor of the subscription library is the current office of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature whose Director is Sandeep Mahal. 

A little farther is Nottingham’s Central Library. Covering four floors this is the principal library of the East Midlands.

This trail is currently a work in progress. If you know of an appropriate person or place that can be included (along this route) then please let me know via the 'contact' page above.
I’m especially interested in knowing if Katharine ‘Mollie’ Morris can be linked to the city centre.
Once the trail is polished, it will appear on the Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature website.