Papers of Douglas Eaglesham Dunn

Scope and Content

This small collection includes poetry notebooks and drafts of poems, the typescript of the Terry Street collection, letters from Philip Larkin, and the annotated typescript of the speech made by Dunn at the opening of the Philip Larkin Suite in the Brynmor Jones Library in December 1987.

Administrative / Biographical History

Douglas Eaglesham Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire on 23 October 1942. After qualifying as a librarian at the Scottish School of Librarianship, Douglas Dunn worked in a number of libraries in Britain and America before becoming a student at the University of Hull, where he graduated in English in 1969. His first collection of poetry, Terry Street, based on his observations while living in this now redeveloped street in central Hull, was published in 1969. Dunn then worked as an assistant librarian in the Brynmor Jones Library for two years, working with and becoming friendly with Philip Larkin, before leaving to work full-time as a writer. He was Fellow in Creative Writing at the University in 1974-75 and continued to live in Hull until the death of his wife Lesley in 1981.

Dunn then returned to his native Scotland, where he now lives near Dundee with his second wife, also Lesley, and family. In 1991 he was appointed a Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews and later became Director of the University's Scottish Studies Centre in 1993, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. Since his retirement Dunn has continued to supervise postgraduates at St Andrews as an Honorary Professor.

He has published several collections of poetry and works of literary criticism. Among the many awards he has received are the Whitbread Poetry prize in 1985 and Whitbread Book of the Year 1986 for Elegies (1985), a moving commemoration of the death of his first wife. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1981 and was a member of the Scottish Arts Council from 1992 to 1994. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE and in 2013 he received the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.


U DDD/1-7 Miscellaneous notebooks and other papers

U DDD/8-9 Material relating to Philip Larkin

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Other Finding Aids

Entry in Modern English literature and drama subject guide

Conditions Governing Use

Douglas Dunn

Custodial History

Donated by Douglas Dunn, September 1969 (items 1-6); April 1982 (No 7) and December 1987 (Nos 8-9).

Related Material

Letters from Dunn to Ted Tarling, publisher of the poetry magazine Wave [U DP177/2], and to Harry Chambers, editor of Phoenix [U DP162/21], along with typescripts of poems published in these magazines

Letters from Dunn to the poets Tony Griffin, Peter Didsbury and Tony Flynn [U DP183, 184 & 189]