University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

A. L. (Audrey Lilian) Barker:

A Preliminary Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Collection Summary

Creator: Barker, A. L. (Audrey Lilian), 1918-2002
Title: A. L. (Audrey Lilian) Barker Papers
Dates: 1940s-1998
Abstract: The papers of British writer A. L. Barker reflect her literary life as a novelist, short story writer, free-lance writer, BBC sub-editor for The Listener, and active member of both the English P.E.N. and the Royal Society of Literature.
RLIN Record #: None
Extent: 16 boxes (6.72 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

The papers of British writer A. L. Barker reflect her literary life as a novelist, short story writer, free-lance writer, BBC sub-editor for The Listener, and active member of both the English P.E.N. and the Royal Society of Literature. Although this collection is incomplete, it does contain the papers Barker had in her possession at the time of her death in 2002, which were originally bequeathed to the English P.E.N. Included here are drafts of many of her novels and short story collections; writings on Stella Benson, Katherine Mansfield, and Leslie Moore; plays for radio and television; literary and research notes; correspondence; photographs; and personal and professional papers. Barker was known as "Pat" to her friends and "A. L. Barker" for literary publishing. She used her married name "Bourne" at the BBC and for public documents, although she was married for only a brief period during World War II.

The papers are arranged in four series: Series I. Works and Related Material, 1940s-1990s; Series II. Correspondence, 1946-1998; Series III. Career-Related Material; and Series IV. Personal.

Series I. Works and Related Material, 1940s-1990s, is divided into Subseries A. Writings, and Subseries B. Works-Related Material. Arranged in alphabetical order, drafts or page proofs of novels in Subseries A include The Haunt (1995); A Heavy Feather (1978); The Joy Ride and After (novellas, 1963); The Middling (1968); and Zeph (1992). Material for published collections of short stories include Any Excuse for a Party (1991); Element of Doubt (1992); and Femina Real (1971).

Other writings in Subseries A. include story sketches, poems, and reviews from the 1940s; a typescript transcription of Stella Benson's letters to Laura Hutton that Barker sought to have published; a contribution on George Eliot for Writers and Their Houses; a lecture on the supernatural for the Royal Society of Literature; two short pieces on Katherine Mansfield and Leslie Moore; typescripts of short stories; and a number of radio and television plays.

Subseries B. Works-Related Material, contains primarily notes for her writing, and research on such topics as photography, plants, themes, quotes, and writers and writing. Barker was a prolific scribbler of ideas on scraps of paper and this subseries contains a substantial number of these notes.

Series II. Correspondence, 1946-1998, is divided into Subseries A. Literary, arranged chronologically; and Subseries B. Personal, arranged alphabetically. The literary correspondence includes letters to and from Barker's agent Jennifer Kavanagh, publishers, the BBC, and literary societies. The personal correspondence includes a small amount of Barker's outgoing correspondence, as well as letters from Sybille Bedford, John Brathy, Penelope Fitzgerald, Jane Gardam, Mary Hocking, Francis King, Pauline Neville, and Isobel Quigly, among others.

The career-related material in Series III reflects her literary activities with organizations such as the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, Lumb Bank, and the English P.E.N., as well as readings and judging for literary awards such as the Katherine Mansfield Prize and the Silver P.E.N. Award. Barker's receipt of the inaugural Somerset Maugham Prize in 1947, and nomination for the 1970 Booker Prize, are also represented.

Series IV. Personal, contains address books, biographical information, a long run of daybooks from 1955-1998, family papers, BBC-related employment material, divorce decree, membership cards, and photographs.



Open for research

Index Terms

Bedford, Sybille, 1911-2006.
Benson, Stella, 1892-1933.
Fitzgerald, Penelope.
Gardam, Jane.
Hocking, Mary.
King, Francis Henry.
Neville, Pauline.
PEN (Organization).
BBC Radio.
Document Types

Related Material

Audio cassettes received with the papers, including Barker's public readings and BBC broadcasts, were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recordings collection.

Separated Material

Sound Recordings were transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recording collection and are described individually in a list at the end of this finding aid and in a searchable database

Administrative Information


Purchase, 2003 (Reg. no. 15201)

Processed by:

Liz Murray, 2004

A. L. Barker Papers--Folder List

Series I. Works and Related Material, 1940s-1990s

Subseries A. Writings
Box Folder
1 1 Any Excuse for a Party: Selected Stories (1991); correspondence, with introduction and jacket copy, 1990
Benson, Stella
Box Folder
1 2-4 "Stella Benson's Letters to Laura Hutton," also titled "Letters to Laura: The Travels of Stella Benson," corrected typescript
5-6 Correspondence, notes, and material relating to Benson and Hutton
7 A Case Examined (1965), novel; sketch of cover design
8 Early writings, poems, and book reviews, 1940s
9 Element of Doubt (1992), ghost stories; corrected typescripts and correspondence
Box Folder
2 1 Femina Real (1971), short stories; corrected page proofs
2 "George Eliot," in Writers and Their Houses (1993); typescript drafts, research material, and correspondence
3 "Ghosties and Ghoulies," lecture for the Royal Society of Literature, Oct. 18, 1990; typescript draft, correspondence, and notes
4 "Glory, Glory Allelujah!," play based on short story for BBC's Thirty Minute Theatre, 1973; typescript drafts and correspondence
5 "Happy Event," typescript synopsis of dramatized version for radio, Oct. 1985
The Haunt (1999), novel
Box Folder
2 6 First draft, May 1992
7-8 Second draft, with notes for third draft
Box Folder
3 1 Notes for third draft, cont'd
2 Draft, 1997
3 Draft of "The Place," March 1997
4 Corrections
5-6 Notes and correspondence, 1992-1995
7 A Heavy Feather (1978), novel; corrected typescript
Box Folder
4 1 A Heavy Feather, typescript, cont'd
The Joy Ride and After (1963), novellas
Box Folder
4 2 Corrected page proofs
3 Television adaptation, typescripts, March 1970
4 Life Stories (1981), autobiography and fiction; typescript drafts
5 "The Lodger," short story; inserts and notes
Mansfield, Katherine and Leslie Moore
Box Folder
4 6 Introduction to Katherine Mansfield: The Memories of L.M., typescript, 1985; and introduction to P.E.N. presentation by Day and Powell, 1991
7 "A Question of Identity,"essay on Mansfield and Moore, typescript drafts
8 The Middling (1968), novel; page proofs and publisher's catalog
9 "Miss Auriole," teleplay; typescript, Jan. 1959
10 "Pringle," radio play; typescripts, Jan. 1957
Short stories
Box Folder
5 1-2 Alphabetical by title
3 Compiled
4-5 Untitled
6 A Source of Embarrassment (1974), novel; reviews
7 "Tales out of School: The Early Misdeeds of the Famous," contribution to proposed book for charity, untitled typescript, 1983
The Woman Who Talked to Herself (1989), novel
Box Folder
5 8 Notes, incomplete typescript, and correspondence, 1989
9 Notes and corrections
10 Publicity photographs
11 "You Could Say," teleplay typescripts, March 1979
Zeph (1992), novel; typescript drafts
Box Folder
5 12 Nov. 1988
Box Folder
6 1-2 Nov. 1988, cont'd
3 Oct. 1989
4 May 1992
5 Correspondence regarding cover and jacket, 1992-93
Subseries B. Works-Related Material
Box Folder
6 6 Clippings of reviews and publicity for Apology for a Hero (1950) and Innocents (1947)
Notes, literary and research
Box Folder
6 7-8 Handwritten notebooks, various works
Box Folder
7 1-4 Handwritten notebooks, cont'd
5 Lists of short stories
6 General research
7 Notecards and paper slips
Box Folder
8 1 Photography
2 Plants and animals
3 Themes, quotes, and poetry
4 Various subjects
5 Works of others
6 Writers and writing

Series II. Correspondence, 1946-1998

Subseries A. Literary
Box Folder
8 7 1946-1949
8 1950-1959
9 1961-1970
Box Folder
9 1 1971-1977
2 1978-1981
3 1982-1984
4 1985-1987
5 1988-1989 (May)
Box Folder
10 1 1989, cont'd
2 1990-1991
3 1992-1996
4 1997-1998
5 Undetermined date
Subseries B. Personal
Box Folder
10 6 A-D
7 Barker, A.L., outgoing
8 Brathy, John
9 E-J
Box Folder
11 1 K-W
2-4 Parties, 1989-1992
5 Unidentified

Series III. Career-Related Material

Box Folder
11 6 Almedingen Appeal, 1994-1995
7 Arts Council, grants to writers
8 Bedford, Sybille; notes, essay, and press clippings
9 Booker Prize for Fiction, 1970, clippings
10 Cheltenham Festival of Literature, 1994
English P.E.N.
Box Folder
11 11 1980-1996 (A.L.B. outgoing)
12 1988-1997
13-14 Public Lending Right, 1973-1974
Box Folder
12 1-2 Writers and writing
3-6 Writers' Inc., Writers' House Project
7 Financial papers concerning the Galsworthy settlement and lease documents for P.E.N. Clubhouse
8-9 Silver P.E.N. Award, 1986 and 1990
Box Folder
13 1 Katherine Mansfield Prize, panelist, 1984
2 Lamb, Robert; "Reparation," radio play typescript
3-4 Lumb Bank and the Arvon Foundation, tutorials, 1984-1988
5 Moore, Reginald; notes for an obituary
6 Printed material, general literary
7 Raban, Jonathan; article about the North Sea
8 Royal Literary Fund
9-10 Somerset Maugham Award
11 South Bank Centre, 1991
12 West, Rebecca; research materials
13 Wolff, Charlotte; correspondence, articles, and obituary

Series IV. Personal

Box Folder
14 1 Address books
2 Biographical information
Box Folder
14 3 1955-1968
4 1972-1980
5 1981
6 1982-1983
Box Folder
15 1 1984-1986
2 1987-1990
3 1991-1993
4 1993-1994
5 1995-1996
Box Folder
16 1 1997-1998
2 Undated
3-4 Family papers
5 Personal papers
6-7 Photographs, childhood through retirement
8 Postal supplies

Sound Recordings List

  • C 2327 : audiocassettes : "No Word of Love" review
  • C 2328 : audiocassettes"Men, Those Fabulous Creatures," short story by A. L. Barker / "Federico's Ghost," a poem by Martín Espada
  • C 2329 : audiocassettesKaleidoscope
  • C 2330 : audiocassettesSybille Bedford on Desert Island Discs, BBC
  • C 2331 : audiocassettesThe Tea Party!
  • C 2332 : audiocassettesHomeless Debate, TX
  • C 2333 : audiocassettes"Something of Fancy" by A. L. Barker, read by Joanna Myers
  • C 2334 : audiocassettes"Brief Lives," a play performed by Roy Dotrice
  • C 2335 : audiocassettes"The Haunt," Tape 1
  • C 2336 : audiocassettes"The Haunt," Tape 2
  • C 2337 : audiocassettes"The Haunt", Tape 3
  • C 2338 : audiocassettes"The Haunt," Tape 4