Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Tired eyes and book-smelling fingers

I spent my first day in the archives of the John Rylands today. I got to go into the super-secret store room where I passed stacks tantalisingly labelled Victor Hugo, LP Hartley, Carcanet....and on and on it went. The Elaine Feinstein section contains 174 boxes. Today I catalogued about half of one of them!
That half of one box contained letters from Beckett, Ginsberg, Pinter, Octavio Paz, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.......

It's harder than you'd think to read other people's letters, it's like listening to half a conversation. It was so rewarding though. I feel totally inspired. Also, I was the only person in the library reading room laughing - I felt awful for disturbing people but Ginsberg was to blame. His letters are crazy wonderful.

Finally, I reviewed one of the Orange Prize shortlisted books recently. My review is on the Manchester Review website.

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