Columbia University Acquires the Papers of American Author Lydia Davis

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University in New York City has acquired the papers of American author Lydia Davis.

Davis currently serves as a professor of creative writing at the University at Albany of the State University of New York System and has previously served as the Lillian Vernon Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University. She is a recipient of the Man Booker International Prize as well as MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships. She has published six collections of fiction, two of which were nominated for the National Book Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award. She will release a two-volume compilation of essays with Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 2019 and 2020.

The new archive at Columbia features corrected drafts of her 1994 novel, The End of the Storyand stories, personal correspondence and journals dating back to her adolescence, as well as notes and drafts relating to her translation projects and her 35 years of teaching. Highlights from the collection include: manuscript drafts and page proofs of works like Break It Down, a 1986 PEN/Hemingway Award finalist; annotated manuscripts of her translations of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Proust’s Swann’s Way; 90 personal journals and notebooks written between 1960 and 2009; and 500 pages of letters from friends and colleagues, including other writers.

“I am very pleased that my archives have found a safe haven at Columbia,” said Professor Davis. “It is especially meaningful to me not only because of the prestige and distinction of the University, but also because of my long association with Columbia, which goes back to the year my father, Robert Gorham Davis, joined the English department. I grew up frequenting the campus, later attended Barnard College, taught at the School of General Studies, and have made periodic campus visits since, for classes, lectures and readings. That my papers should complete the circle in this way, returning permanently to Morningside Heights, could not be more fitting or gratifying to me.”

Professor Davis is a graduate of Barnard College.

Filed Under: Women's Studies


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