John Hewitt Collection Coleraine

The Collection comprises the personal library and literary archive of the poet John Hewitt which he bequeathed to the University of Ulster.  It is one of the most significant Collections in the UK and Ireland, outside Oxbridge, Trinity College, Dublin and the National Library of Ireland, of modern and contemporary Irish literature and of the manuscript holdings in that literature. It is a unique resource for researchers particularly in Irish poetry but also in modern Irish culture, history and folklore.  The Collection was catalogued after an  award of a £50,000 grant from HEFCE in 1995.


The superb library of over 5,000 books and journals, with its emphasis on Anglo-Irish literature, is an invaluable resource for the academic community. It includes rare volumes from the 'weaver-poets' of the eighteenth century and journals which Hewitt edited, as well as those to which he contributed. The library also preserves first editions of virtually every collection of Irish poetry since the 1950's.


The literary archive covers over 50 years of Hewitt's prolific and varied writing career. It contains notebooks of poems composed between 1926 and 1984, over 3,500 0f which are unpublished. The manuscript material includes A copy of John Hewitt’s unpublished autobiography “A North light”, radio scripts from the 1940's and notes for his book about the rhyming weavers. There are also short stories, verse plays and reviews of books and art exhibitions.   

The Collection reflects Hewitt's enormous activity and influence on the development of art and literature in Northern Ireland, and provides an exciting resource for those engaged in research into our cultural heritage.


In a poem entitled Mosaic John Hewitt makes a plea for people to understand the whole picture and not selective pieces when reviewing historical personalities and events. These pages, with examples from the John Hewitt Collection held at the Ulster University at Coleraine as well as links to other John Hewitt web sites, aims to present "the whole mosaic" of his life and work. It holds examples from his personal library and literary manuscripts that reflect his activity and influence within the arts and across the whole community in the north of Ireland. All go to make up a life that is much more than a "handful of coloured stones in the dust".

If I should be remembered after this...


The Collection is available during the Library's opening hours

Please arrange an appointment with the Special Collections Team, Faculty of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences.


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