THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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).

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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.

Comments

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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