UT’s Ransom Center acquires Kazuo Ishiguro archive

Updated Aug 24, 2015

The Harry Ransom Center has acquired the archive of British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, whose best known novel “The Remains of the Day” won the Booker Prize and was adapted into a Oscar-nominated 1993 movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

“For many years, I’ve been in the habit of keeping a large cardboard box under my desk into which I throw, more or less indiscriminately, all papers produced during my writing that I don’t want to file neatly and take into the next stage of composition: earlier drafts of chapters, rejected pages, scraps of paper with scribbled thoughts, repeated attempts at the same paragraph, etc.,” Ishiguro said in a statement.

Ishiguro has included explanatory comments with the archive, including a document he titled “How I Write,” which reveals his drafting process, and page-long documents titled “Archive Notes,” which often take the form of yellow sticky notes attached to the front of materials or drafts, with Ishiguro’s own annotations providing personal commentary.

Born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, Ishiguro has lived in Britain since 1960 and published his first novel, “A Pale View of Hills,” in 1982.

The 60-year old writer has published seven novels in all, including “An Artist of the Floating World” in 1986, “The Unconsoled” in 1995, “When We Were Orphans” in 2000 and “Never Let Me Go,” which Time Magazine named the best novel of 2005.

His most recent book is this year’s “The Buried Giant.”

The Ransom Center paid $1.1 million for the materials with money from the Gift Collection Revolving Fund; it will be paid in four installments of $275,000.

The 21 boxes of material includes thousands of notes and drafts for each of Ishiguro’s novels, songwriting efforts and a draft of a never-published Western.

In addition to writing fiction and short stories, Ishiguro collaborated with George Toles and Guy Maddin on the screenplay for “The Saddest Music in the World,” a melodrama set in the 1930s. He also wrote the screenplay for “The White Countess,” a Merchant Ivory film, and two original screenplays for television, “A Profile of Arthur J. Mason” and “The Gourmet.”

Ishiguro’s archive will reside at the Ransom Center alongside the archives of British writers Julian Barnes, Penelope Fitzgerald and Ian McEwan, among others.

Materials from the Ishiguro archive will be accessible once processed and cataloged.