Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Forsyth, Frederick mss. (1960-2013) consist of the papers of author Frederick Forsyth (b. 1938). Born in Ashford, Kent, Forsyth worked as a journalist for Reuters and then BBC after completing his service as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Forsyth worked as a spy for MI6, an experience that influenced his later writings.

Using both his experiences in the service and his journalistic training, Forsyth began writing thrillers after his return from Biafra, an endeavor that resulted in his first writing project, The Biafra Story (1969). His first novel, The Day of the Jackal (1971), earned the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel. Several of his bestselling novels, including The Odessa File (1972), The Dogs of War (1974), and The Fourth Protocol (1984), have been transformed into film adaptations. Forsyth's departure from the thriller genre, a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera entitled The Phantom of Manhattan (1999), was partially adapted into Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical stage production Love Never Dies.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Writings; II. Research and Notes; and III. Audio-Visual. Writings consist of drafts, typescripts, and addenda to writings by Forsyth and are subdivided into novels, short stories, film and television treatments, unpublished works, and works written by others. The Research and Notes series includes all materials related to Forsyth's writing process, from ephemera (maps, guidebooks) and clippings to correspondence and notes. Audio-visual items consist primarily of research materials, including an audiocassette and an unprocessed roll of film.

Correspondents include: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Simon Wiesenthal, Richard Odgers, Michael J. Gething.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: October 2014

Collection size: 1,600 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.