Papers of John Moat

Scope and Content

This collection of literary and personal papers contains: two boxes of personal correspondence, mainly between John Fairfax and John Moat 1976-1991; three boxes of literary manuscripts, papers and drawings, including manuscript and typescript rough drafts, reworkings and fine copies of poems; jotters containing diary notes (mainly taken whilst abroad), sketches and dream diary notes, prose jottings and forming notes; sketch pads (mainly from travels abroad) with some verse accompanying images 1950s-1990s.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Moat (1936- ) is a writer and artist who has been based in Devon since the age of two, although he was born in India. He spent a year as a painter in France at the age of eighteen, working with the artist Edmond Kapp, before reading English Literature at Oxford University. On graduating, he taught for four years in order to support his writing career, and then turned to writing full-time.

Together with his life-long friend and fellow poet John Fairfax, he is the co-founder of the Arvon Foundation, which is now one of the UK's foremost creative writing establishments. The first week-long creative writing course was held for Devon schoolchildren in 1968, with Ted Hughes (Poet Laureate) attending as guest reader. The Foundation now runs residential creative writing courses at four centres throughout the United Kingdom.

John Moat has been a broadcaster and teacher, and he also illustrates his own books, having gradually resumed painting from the age of thirty. He has written a column for the leading international 'alternatives' magazine Resurgence for twenty-five years. His writing has earned him the Frances Stelloff Award, the TSW/SWA Video Poem Competition and a shortlisting for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award. He is a founder trustee of the Yarner Trust (concerned with training for organic smallholders), founded Tandem (a teachers and artists alliance) in 1998, and has also been director of the Environmental Research Association.

Some of the prose (novel and short-story) publications of John Moat include: Bartonwood, Heorot, Mai's Wedding, The Missing Moon (first published as The Tugen and the Toot) and Rain and other stories. Poetry publications include: Skeleton Key, 6d per annum, 100 poems, Firewater and The Miraculous Mandarin, Practice, The Ballad of the Leat, Thunder of Grass, Fiesta and The Fox Reviews his Prophecy, and The Welcombe Overtures. The publication of Hermes and Magdalen, consisting of poems and related images is planned for 2004.


All items have been left in the order imposed by the creator.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Listed by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 18 Feb 2004, and encoded into EAD 2 June 2004.

Other Finding Aids

A rough handlist is available.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Purchased by the Library in 2003.

Related Material

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