Letters, notebooks, photographs, documents and - most importantly - scribbled-on manuscripts belonging to JG Ballard have been aquired by "the nation" and housed in the British Library.
Once all the material (it takes up 12 metres of shelf space) has been catalogued it will be available to the public (i.e., researchers; but you'd be surprised at how unfrightening it is getting a British Library reader pass) from May 2011. We had a sneak preview this morning and we can report that the manuscript for Empire of the Sun looks like a paper breezeblock. The Shepperton-dwelling writer always used a typewriter and edited by hand (and, his daughters reveal, would mouth the words as he typed them), so these archives represent a very vivid record of changes the works went through.
The less scholarly-minded among us may be more interested to hear that, from tomorrow, two pages from a draft of Crash will be on permanent display in the Sir John Riblat Gallery at the BL, alongside documents from Virginia Woolf, Samuel Johnson and Jane Austen.
A draft page from Crash, image courtesy of the JG Ballard Estate.