Northern Ireland Literary Archive

Digitised archives of a number of writers who were born or grew up in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Literary Archive begins in the late 19th century with the work of Sir Samuel Ferguson, and includes letters, manuscripts, and typescripts of John Boyd, Robert Greacen, Sam Hanna Bell, John Hewitt, Joan Lingard, Louis MacNeice, Stewart Parker and WR Rodgers.
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The Northern Ireland Literary Archive digital resource consists of digitised manuscripts and letters of nine writers who were born or based in Northern Ireland. This material was donated to the Linen Hall over many years and is being presented in digital form for the first time. The material ranges from 19th century manuscripts by Sir Samuel Ferguson (two poems, ‘Conary’ and ‘Deirdre’, form an important part of his work, bringing to life Celtic myth and legend in wonderfully dramatic and accessible language) through to late poems of John Hewitt in the 1980s (‘A Little People’ and ‘A Mortal Place’). Other highlights include a short excerpt from ‘Hopdance’, an unpublished novel by Stewart Parker (1941-1988);  Louis MacNeice’s letters to George and Mercy McCann which give a glimpse of the writer’s life away from the work itself; and Joan Lingard’s (1932-2022) ‘Across the Barricades’, a book that remains important for all those who studied it at school and beyond.

Taken together the Northern Ireland Literary Archive constitutes an important part of the literary history of Northern Ireland.

Additional digitised material from the literary archives held at the Linen Hall is available via the extraORDINARYwomen resource.

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The Linen Hall (Belfast Library And Society For Promoting Knowledge) is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC 104 564.