Russell Hoban's manuscripts archived

The late novelist Russell Hoban's life's work has been formally archived two years after his death.

Writer and journalist Paul Cooper was recruited to archive the manuscripts and letters, which run to over 800 items in 21 boxes, and include classic works such as Riddley Walker and The Mouse and His Child.

Working at Hoban's London home of 40 years, Cooper uncovered some fascinating items including early drafts of Riddley Walker in standard English, letters from Harold Pinter, an invitation to the White House and unpublished children's story Jim Hedgehog's Midnight Saxophone.

Cooper has written an article on his findings exclusively for, which sheds light on Hoban's nature and working processes. "He worked intensely for short bursts, sprinting out new versions in a fit of excitement that could last for weeks before slumping into inactivity for a month," he writes.

"Hoban was uncompromising with editors, and often exasperated with the changes they made to his carefully-crafted work.

"He could be full of warmth, writing long letters to friends and promoting children's literature in schools. But he could also be tempestuous and felt it his duty to protect his art against the forces conspiring against it."

"This is a fascinating development," commented webmaster and longtime Hoban fan Richard Cooper (no relation). "I think it's wonderful that Russ's work is now in order.

"I'm sure that what Paul has touched upon in his article is only the tip of the iceberg."

Further information

Paul Cooper - Archiving Russell Hoban's work