English and Drama blog

09 May 2012

Buddha of Suburbia and other loans

It’s been an exciting antepenultimate Writing Britain day – in the afternoon, Tanya and I went to pick up the manuscript of Buddha of Suburbia (in which suburban Bromley is ‘a leaving place’) from Hanif Kureishi’s house- or to be precise from Hanif’s Sainsbury’s shopping bag in which the drafts of Buddha were hitherto residing (see pic of the draft).


Along with the earliest drafts of the novel, Hanif has also kindly lent us his diary recording a meeting with fellow Bromley-ite David Bowie, who did the soundtrack for the BBC adaptation, at Bowie’s studio.

This is one of many loans coming directly from writers- Jonathan Coe, Ian McEwan, Posy Simmonds… never-before seen for the very good reason that they’ve never before left their owners’ houses/desks/attics/or sheds.

When we brought Hanif’s manuscripts in, we ran into Declan from the Morgan, with Dickens’s manuscript of Our Mutual Friend (see previous post by Tanya); and also the oldest manuscript in the exhibition, the 10th-century Exeter Book with the poem ‘The Seafarer’ very kindly - and rarely - lent by Exeter Cathedral.

All this and more will be unveiled to the press launch tomorrow morning- which is anticipated by tonight’s edition of BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves, which I recorded earlier.

For more on Writing Britain, see the major Guardian preview at the weekend by Blake Morrison; and a BBC audio slideshow with commentary and images of some of the highlights of the show.


I read Blake Morrison's article in The Guardian and it looks like an excellent exhibition. More thoughts here: http://planningrulesblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/recommended-site-visit-to-euston-road.html

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