RepositorySpecial Collections Archives (GB 0029)
Ref NoEUL MS 111
Extent1 box
TitleHenry Williamson: letters to Joyce Wright
DescriptionThis collection consists of about 20 letters from Williamson to Wright, written between 1953 and 1960. These include a few letters written to Wright by Christine Williamson. Also contained are newscuttings relating to Williamson, collected by Wright [undated].
Admin HistoryHenry Williamson (1895-1977), writer, was born in south London and educated at Colfe's Grammar School, Lewisham. He fought in the army in the First World War and gained a deep sense of the futility of conflict as a result. He worked as a journalist for a short while before writing his first novel, 'The Beautiful Years', in 1921. This became volume one of a quartet, named 'The Flax of Dreams'. At the same time he moved to North Devon and, in 1927, wrote there 'Tarka the Otter', the book on which his fame most heavily rests, and 'A Patriot's Progress' (1930), based on his trench experiences. After 'Salar the Salmon' (1935) he became an outspoken supporter of German reform and British fascism, which led to his being briefly interned at the start of the war. His postwar work, which is arguably his most important, is a cycle of fifteen novels entitled, 'A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight', which was completed in 1960.

Joyce Wright was the daughter of Tom Sargent, a railway engineer, and his wife Minnie, an artist. She was born in August 1923 in Singapore, and was educated partly in Samatra. After returning to the UK in 1932, her parents died in 1936 and she was brought up by her aunt and uncle and sent to school at St. Elphin's. She initially trained as a secretary in Newquay, Cornwall, and then joined the Wrens as a writer, based at Charlton Horthorne, Somerset. She was then posted overseas to Ceylon, where she met Arthur (Bob) Wright, whom she married in February 1947. Returning to the UK, they eventually settled in Falmouth, Cornwall, before moving to the village of Devoran in 1954. She initiated a personal correspondence with Henry Williamson, whose work she greatly admired, in 1953, which continued spasmodically until her death on 10 October 1960.
Access StatusOpen
Related MaterialThe Henry Williamson Society Book Collection consisting of all published works of Williamson is also available for reference at Special Collections and is listed in full on the Library's online OPAC.

The following Williamson archive collections are held at Special Collections: EUL MS 43, 71,74, 78, 91, 106, 111, 126, 239, 282, 356, 374, 402.

Papers relating to Henry Williamson are also held at the following repositories: Dartmouth College Library, USA; Savage Club, London; Reading University Library; King's College London; Royal Society of Literature; and Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.
Access ConditionsUsual EUL arrangements apply.
Finding_AidsListed, partial. Correspondence is listed; newscuttings are unlisted.
Creator_NameWilliamson; Henry (1895-1977); writer
Mgt_GroupLiterary papers
DS/UK/48Williamson; Henry (1895-1977); writer1895-1977
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