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Carcanet Press Archive

Date range: 1969-present

Medium: Archive

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 Press also publishes the literary magazine, PN Review.

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

  • Editorial papers: book production files for each Carcanet title and issue of PN Review, including manuscripts, annotated proofs and related material such as correspondence;
  • Administrative papers: correspondence files, which include letters exchanged with Carcanet authors, contributors to PN Review, translators, editors, publishers, literary magazines, agents and others.

More recent correspondence, in the form of email, has been acquired in digital format.

The range of poets and authors represented is vast, and includes John Ashbery, Sujata Bhatt, Robert Bly, Eavan Boland, Christine Brooke-Rose, Gillian Clarke, Donald Davie, Elaine Feinstein, Lorna Goodison, Jorie Graham, Thom Gunn, Sophie Hannah, Tony Harrison, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, John Heath-Stubbs, Geoffrey Hill, Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Jennings, Frank Kuppner, Philip Larkin, Grevel Lindop, Sorley MacLean, Bill Manhire, Christopher Middleton, Edwin Morgan, Andrew Motion, Les Murray, Octavio Paz, Laura Riding, Vikram Seth, 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:

Further information:

  • Catalogues of the first two accessions of the archive (up to c.1980) are available online via ELGAR, and are divided into Editorial Papers and Administrative Papers.
  • See also 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.


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