Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Gordimer mss., 1934-2004, consist of the papers of South African author Nadine Gordimer (1923- ).

Gordimer was born in Springs, South Africa in 1923. At age 13 she began her writing career, her first writings appearing in the children's section of the Johannesburg Sunday Express. Since then she has written novels and countless short stories, articles, etc. which have been published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. Many of her works reflect the political and social dilemmas of living under apartheid in South Africa and consequently, several of her books were banned in that country during that period.

Among her numerous awards are the Booker Prize for Fiction (1974), Modern Language Association of America award (1982), and the Premio Malaparte prize (1987). In 1991 Gordimer's entire body of work was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature. She has been decorated Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France) and has received honorary degrees from such institutions as Harvard and Yale Universities.

Apart from her many achievements in writing, Gordimer has been visiting professor and lecturer at several American universities. She is a founder and executive member of the Congress of South African Writers and has encouraged and supported new writers, especially young African authors and poets.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence, II. Writings, III. Diaries and Notebooks, IV. Miscellaneous, V. Additions.

The collection consists of correspondence, short stories and essays, novels, articles, lectures and speeches, a childhood diary, notebooks and research materials. In addition are scripts, many adapted from Gordimer's short stories and novels by her and others, and related material regarding contract negotiations. There is extensive correspondence with her colleagues, literary agents, especially Russell and Volkening, and publishers, as well as with many magazines such as The New Yorker where many of her short stories were published. Correspondents include: Cyrilly Abels, Chinua Achebe, Roger Angell, Frank Rosslyn Bradlow, Thelma Gutsche, Trevor Huddleston, Roland Joffé, George William Lanning, Bernth Lindfors, Frank McShane, Herbert Mitgang, Alan Stewart Paton, Es'kia Mphahlele, Michael Scammell, Harvey Shapiro, Rowland James Smith, James Stern, Efua Theodora Morgue Sutherland, Paul Theroux, Per Erik Wästberg, Katherine Sergeant Angell White, and Helen Yglesias.

A guide to the collection is available. A finding aid is also available.

Acquired: 1993; 2003; 2009; 2012.

Collection size: 17,200 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.