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Carcanet Press Archive

Date range: 1969 to present.

The Carcanet Press was founded in 1969 by Michael Schmidt and Peter Jones with the aim of publishing and promoting new poetry.

The Press moved with Schmidt from Oxford to Manchester in 1972 and its home was the Corn Exchange from 1975 until June 1996 when the building was severely damaged by a terrorist bomb.

The Press continues to promote new poetry, but it has expanded and diversified over the years. In 1974 the Fyfield series was launched to provide editions of previously undervalued poets of the past. Other series include fiction, lives and letters, aspects of Portugal and film books.

The materials within the archive, which continues to expand, fall into two categories.

First, there are papers relating to the Press as a business, such as accounts, publicity material, and letters from suppliers, printers, designers, binders and accountants.

Secondly there is literary material, comprising typescripts and proofs of works, letters from poets, agents, editors and translators, as well as typescripts, proofs and letters relating to PN Review.

The range of poets and authors represented is vast, and includes John Ashbery, W.H. Auden, Robert Bly, Eavan Boland, Tony Harrison, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Grevel Lindop, Edwin Morgan, Les Murray, Sylvia Plath, Vikram Seth, Anne Sexton, Robert B. Shaw, C.H. Sisson, R.S. Thomas and Jeffrey Wainwright.

Art historians will find material relating to contemporary artists such as Adrian Stokes, Charles Tomlinson, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Stephen Raw.

See also the Carcanet Press book collection, the Grevel Lindop Papers, the Stephen Raw Papers, and the Michael Schmidt Papers.

Finding aids

  • Catalogues of Editorial Papers and Administrative Papers available online via ELGAR.
  • Stella K. Halkyard and C.B. McCully, '"Thoughts of Inventive Brains and the Rich Effusions of Deep Hearts": Some of the Twentieth-Century Literary Archives of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 77, no. 2 (1995), pp. 105-21.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library