Papers of Gerda Charles

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence with publishers, literary agents, fellow authors, journal editors, literary and other organisations, family and friends, as well as personal financial and legal correspondence. There are holograph manuscripts, typescripts and proofs of her published work, including The True Voice, The Crossing Point, A Slanting Light, A Logical Girl and The Destiny Waltz, as well as numerous short stories, reviews and journalistic articles. There are also manuscripts of unpublished work, including the novel Cornerstone. In addition there are press cuttings; periodicals, including those to which she contributed; papers relating to the libel action brought against her by William Goldman; papers relating to a visit to the USA; engagement diaries; booklets and pamphlets; photographs, and ephemera.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gerda Charles was the pseudonym of Edna Lipson, an Anglo-Jewish writer born in Liverpool in 1914. Educated in Liverpool schools until the age of 15, she then moved to London with her widowed mother, where they ran a boarding house. She studied further in evening classes at London colleges. Her first novel, The True Voice was published in 1959. A Slanting Light won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1963 and The Destiny Waltz won the Whitbread award for 1971. In 1991 Gerda Charles described her novels as being about 'the job of maintaining sanity, dignity and order' in the modern community. She also worked as a journalist and reviewer for papers including the New Statesman, Daily Telegraph, New York Times and Jewish Chronicle and in 1963 edited the anthology Modern Jewish Stories. She died on November 4 1996.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/library/special-collections/using/lib-special-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gerda Charles' literary executor, Aubrey Rose, in 1998.

Note

Description prepared by Bridget Andrews with reference to Brown, Susan Windisch (ed.) Contemporary Novelists, 6th ed. (New York: St James Press, 1996) and to Blain, Virginia et al. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English (London: B.T. Batsford, 1990).

Other Finding Aids

The collection is listed at file level.