September 4, 2017, by Kathryn Steenson

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

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.

From 8 September, the Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts will host an exhibition showcasing material from the literary archives and collections of printed books held by the University of Nottingham. The exhibition 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.

Spines of leather bound books

A selection of volumes from the Portland Literary Collection

The exhibition shows 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.

The involvement of the University’s Writer in Residence, award winning author Jon McGregor, with Creative Writing MA students in editing the literary journal The Letters Page, is showcased in the exhibition with a selection of submissions. The drafts, proofs, typescripts, scrapbooks and rejection letters to be found in writers’ archives are used to show the trials of getting published, and the exhibition also reflects upon the changing fortunes of published authors, including how DH Lawrence himself was considered for a time to be ‘a skeleton in the cupboard’ by some at the University.

Selection of typed letters arranged on a black surface

Correspondence with publishers from the Literary and Personal Papers of Madge Hales

The exhibition has been curated by staff from Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham.

Collected Words
runs at the Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD from Friday 8 September to Sunday 3 December 2017. Admission is free.

Poster for the Collected Words exhibition

As part of the exhibition, we’re holding four lunchtime talks and a film screening. The venue for all of them is the Djanogly Theatre, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park Campus, Nottingham, NG7 2RD. For tickets please contact Lakeside’s Box Office on 0115 846 7777 or book online.

    • Thursday 28 September, 1-2pm: New Additions to the DH Lawrence Collections
      Dr Andrew Harrison discusses and interprets several recently acquired items in the University’s internationally recognised Lawrence Collections.
    • Thursday 12 October, 1-2pm: Reading Nottingham’s Unread: Republishing James Prior’s Forest Folk
      Tony Simpson looks at the reprinting of Forest Folk in 2017. First published in 1901, Prior’s pacy novel is set in Blidworth against a background of the Napoleonic Wars and Luddite riots.
    • Thursday 26 October, 1-2pm: Local Author Alison Moore: Location and Landscape
      Man Booker Prize shortlisted writer, Alison Moore, explores the influence of location and landscape in her novels.
    • Thursday 16 November, 1-2pm: Castrating Rochester: John Wilmot’s Manuscript Poetry
      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.
      Poster for the theatrical release of the film 'Saturday Night Sunday Morning'Thursday 26 October, 7.30pm: Film Screening Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960, director Karel Reisz), with introduction by Nottingham based performance poet Andrew Graves.

      Tickets £5 (£3 concs).

This award winning film is based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010), an honorary graduate of the University of Nottingham. 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.

Places are limited so we recommend people book in advance with the Box Office on 0115 846 7777 or online. More information is available on our website. You can also get updates by following us @mssLakeside.

Posted in Exhibitions