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RE - Robert Edric Archive

Reference code
Level of description
Robert Edric Archive
Quantity & Format
109 boxes Mixed
English literature -- Manuscripts
System of arrangement
The first deposit of boxes is numbered 1-53.

The second deposit of boxes were numbered 1-47 by the author but the Archives has re-numbered them 54-99 in a single numbered sequence. The bracketed number in the reference codes behind 54-100 indicates the number assigned by the author.

The third deposit comprises 10 boxes, numbered 101-110.
Edric, Robert
Administrative/Biographical history
Robert Edric (born 1956) is a pseudonym for Gary Edric Armitage, a British novelist born in Sheffield.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The Robert Edric Archive was gifted to the University. The initial deposit of 53 box files was made in 2011. A second deposit of 47 box files was made in 2017 however one box RE/83[30] went missing in transit. A third and final deposit of 10 boxes was made in 2023.
Scope and content
The archive holds manuscripts of Edric's novels and a memoir (2022) and includes five early unpublished novels. These novels formed the foundation of his writing career in a period when he says he "was learning to work hard".

A Season of Peace (1985) and Across the Autumn Grass (1986) were written under the name of G.E. Armitage. Winter Garden (1985) was Robert Edric’s first published novel and winner of the James Tait Black Award.

The trilogy of detective novels: Cradle Song, Siren Song and Swan Song are set in the city of Hull. Two of his novels have been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize: Peacetime (2002) and Gathering the Water (2006).

The collection contains MSS, TSS and proofs of his short story writing, novels, novellas and screenplays. Pre 1982, most of everything appears to have been lost or destroyed. Edric writes in pencil, he doesn't use a computer and has no delete 'option'. The creative writing process, scribbles and revisions, workings and re-workings have consequently been meticulously preserved in these paper manuscripts.

A few short stories were published. Some metamorphosed into later stories; some found their way into the novels. A considerable number are merely ‘pieces’ rather than finished stories and some lack titles.

RE cites his first major novel attempted as Kevin/Sharon. Other recorded attempts – false starts – running out of steam – following wrong courses, etc. include parts of novels listed in his notes as Fenland Woman Story & Mental Institute Story. He thinks these may have turned up in the unpublished Conservatory (RE/10/1-2).

RE acknowledges that there seems to be no sign of Kevin/Sharon and the Fenland Woman though the latter may have been regurgitated into the original unpublished Across the Autumn Grass (RE/14/1-3).
Chronology of Short Stories, 1982-1986 (Note from the author):
"The short stories remain a tangle. Some metamorphosed into later stories; some found their way into the novels. Where a story was eventually published – in its original or eventual form – it has been noted. A considerable number were only ever more 'pieces' than finished stories and they blew around like leaves and seeds for a few years as other, more substantial stories and novels took shape. The published novels are considerably clearer and easier to understand."

6/82 A Dream of Hardy's Women ms/ts
11/81 A Painting of the Sea ms/ts
2/82 Between the Acts ms/ts
(part in Winter Garden)
2/82 Norman ms/ts
2/82 Matinee Performance ms/ts
(part in Winter Garden)
5/82 Family Secret ms/ts
4/82 Births, Deaths and Marriages ms/ts
4/82 Watching Weight ms/ts
5-6/82 Day to Remember ms/ts
(origins of Parts of a Feather, Stand 1988)
5/82 Michael ms/ts
6/82 Fruit Juice ms/ts
7/82 Beattie Pollard ms/ts
3/82 Daniel ms/ts
1/82 In a Clearing in the Reeds ms/ts
(pub in Proof [Lincs & Humbs art mag] c.'84)
3/82 The Pond ms/ts
(part of Autumn Grass, '86)
7/82 Peter ms/ts
? 81-82 Beside the Seaside ms/ts
(original of later story Frisky Frisk)
2/82 Sam ms/ts
1/82 Dick ms/ts
3-4/82 The Day Room ms
(part in The Conservatory)
?82-3 Guy ms
?82 See That Leg ms
(Part of Winter Garden '85)
5-6/82 Crematorium ms
5-6/82 Unlucky for Some ms
?/83 Man Alone ms
(part in A New Ice Age 1986)
?/83 Derek ms
4/82 Horses ms
4/82 Simon ms
?/82 Coventry Cathedral ms
(later part of lost Kevin/Sharon mss)
?/83 Richard ms
?/83 Race ms
8/83 To the Sea ms/ts
?/83 Death by Drowning ms/ts
?/83 6 p.m., August, 83 ts
4/83 The Hanging Tree ms/ts
1/84 Photograph ms/ts
?83/4 A Memory ms/ts
3/84 Not a Laughing man ms/ts
5/84 Frank's Last Year ms/ts
9/84 Departure ms/ts
10/84 My Sister, My Father ms/ts
10/84 Lovers ms/ts
(pub in London Mag 5/86)
10/84 Great Beginnings ms/ts
(pub in FHM '85)
7/85 Saturday Paradise ms/ts
7/85 An Almost Perfect Realization ms/ts
7/85 The Luxury of Sympathy & ms/ts Understanding
7/85 Pearls of Wisdom ms/ts
9-11/85 First Person Narratives ms/ts
9-11/85 The End of the War in Vietnam ms/ts
(pub in P.E.N. New Fiction '87)
9-11/85 Fat ms/ts (eventually read on Radio 4, Ilkley Festival, 2002 as Giving Ourselves Away)
9-11/85 Homecoming ms/ts
9-11/85 Wedding Story ms/ts
9-11/85 Waiting ms/ts
9-11/85 Points of Departure ms/ts
9-11/85 Another Story in a Bar ms/ts
(pub in FHM '86)
9-11/85 America ms/ts
9-11/85 New Neighbours ms/ts
9-11/85 Survivors ms/ts
9-11/85 The Mighty Titanic ms/ts
(pub in Critical Quarterly 1987)
6-7/86 [In the] Province of the Rich ms/ts
6-7/86 Good Night, Sweet Dreams ms/ts
6-7/86 A Decent Tragedy
6-7/86 A Well Spent Life ms/ts
(pub in Winter's Tales 1988)
6-7/86 Parts of a Feather ms/ts
(pub in Stand 1988)
6-7/86 Snow ms/ts
6-7/86 Ceremony of Innocence ms/ts
6-7/86 Sweet Charity ms/ts
6-7/86 Honest Answers ms/ts
1/87 Memorabilia ms/ts
(pub in Sunk Island Review 1989 & parts in Sword Cabinet)
1/87 Liars ms/ts
1/87 The Receding Horizon ms/ts
2/87 Empty Pool, Click ms/ts
(pub [much rewritten] in Postscripts Mag 2006 as The Empty Pool)
6/87 The Altshausen Stables ms/ts
(Gradually metamorphosed into BOTH Hallowed Ground [Sunk Island Press, 1993] AND The Kingdom of Ashes [Doubleday 2007])
6/87 Sum of the Parts ms/ts
6/87 Business ms/ts
6/87 The Diver ms/ts
6/87 Arbitrary Statement of Faith ms/ts
(parts in A Lunar Eclipse [Heinemann 1989])
6/87 Bombing Florence ms/ts
12/87 Listen to These for Names ms/ts
(parts in Lives of the Savages [pub 2010])
6/88 Anthropophagy ms/ts
(pub in Sunk Island Review 1989 & basis for Elysium [Duckworth 1995])
1/88 The Last Beauty Contest ms/ts
(parts in Sword Cabinet [Doubleday 1999])
7/88 Great Shark Stories ms/ts
(part in Burning, which was pub as Winters Tales 1994 & Sword Cabinet)
1/89 A State of Grace (novella) REWRITING of Altshausen
Stables [i.e. moving towards Hallowed Ground]
4/89 Invention's Mirror (STORY) ms/ts
4/89 Telling the Truth ms/ts
(pub in Sunk Island Review 1991 & part of Sword Cabinet)
3/91 Rewrite Anthropophagy ms/ts
3/91 Rewrite Memorabilia ms/ts
4/91 Rewrite Titanic AS Survivors ms/ts
6/91 Rewrite Invention's Mirror AS Graven Images ms/ts
6/91 Rewrite Ceremony of Innocence ms/ts
5/91 Rewrite Fat AS Giving Ourselves Away ms/ts
4/91 Rewrite The Receding Horizon ms/ts
5/91 Rewrite [In the] Province of the Rich (Eventually to become The Lives of the Savages 2010)
5/91 Burning ms/ts
(pub Winters Tales 1994)
3/93 Rewrite Telling the Truth (again) – part of Sword Cabinet
?/94 The Wrack Line ms/ts
(pub Sunk Island Review 1995)
12/96 Worked on:
Ceremony of Innocence
Very Last Beauty Show
Telling the Truth
Burning (TO RESHAPE into eventual Sword Cabinet)
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