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The man behind Jack Reacher gives his archive to UEA

PUBLISHED: 13:50 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:50 26 August 2018

Author Lee Child at Jarrolds for the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Author Lee Child at Jarrolds for the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

The creator of one of modern literature’s most famous characters has donated his archive to the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Lee Child, who dreamed up Jack Reacher, has made the donation to UEA’s British Archive for Contemporary Writing.

Mr Child is one of the world’s most popular, celebrated and highly acclaimed crime and thriller writers, and the winner of numerous international awards including the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger.

His creation of Jack Reacher, in 1997, led to a global publishing phenomenon. Mr Child has so far published 23 Jack Reacher novels, and numerous short stories, and sold more than 100 million copies worldwide in 49 languages, and 101 territories.

Mr Child, whose real name is Jim Grant, graduated in law from the University of Sheffield and started writing at the age of 40 when he was made redundant from his job in TV production. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and The Barry Award for Best First Mystery.

One Shot and Never Go Back were adapted for the big screen, both starring Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.

The archive includes early drafts, manuscripts and correspondence relating to the Jack Reacher series. It provides insights into the initial creation of one of English literature’s most enduring characters.

Mr Child said: “For those of us out in the field, UEA has a reputation as ‘the writers’ university’, with terrific faculty and a great student body, so I thought it was the ideal venue for a peek behind the curtain, where students and readers can get a sense of what’s involved in professional, commercial authorship.

“I hope people will be interested, and best case, I hope a few intending writers pick up some insight and maybe a couple of shortcuts.”

Prof Henry Sutton, director of Creative Writing at UEA, said: “The archive gives us invaluable insights into the work of one of the most significant genre writers of all time.

“The archive will be a key resource for creative writing students, interested in long-form fictional narratives, the novel and crime fiction.”

The paper archive consists of 40 boxes and includes notebooks, correspondence, drafts, typescripts and working papers associated with the spectrum of Mr Child’s writing career.

An exhibition, containing glimpses of the Lee Child Archive, is at UEA on September 14, as part of the international crime writing festival, NOIRwich. Tickets are at: www.noirwich.co.uk/noirwich-2018-events/

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