Baybars, Taner – Papers and Library

Taner Baybars was a 20th century poet, translator and artist who often went by the name Timothy Bayliss.

Taner Baybars was born in Nicosia, Cyprus on 18 June 1936. In 1954, Baybars published his first book of poetry, MendilinUcundakiler, the only one of his works to be originally written in Turkish. That same year, he joined the British Royal Air Force and in 1955, he moved to London. He worked for the British Council for many years until his retirement in 1988.

After settling in the UK, Baybars continued to publish his own works in English, including original poetry, a novel and an autobiography. He was fluent in Turkish, English and French and translated a number of literary works, such as those of Turkish poet Nâzım Hikmet (1902–1963). Baybars’ writing quickly gained notice in the UK, and in the early 1960s, he was invited to join The Group. The Group was an invitation-only gathering of prominent poets in London that met weekly to discuss each other’s works.

Baybars’ writing style was unique in that he combined Turkish, English, Greek and French poetry traditions and languages together to create multicultural and multilingual works. He was also able to introduce contemporary Turkish literature to English audiences. He has been referred to by some as a British poet, but he is known in Cyprus and Turkey as one of their most important poets and his works are included in/considered to be Cyprus Literature.

After his retirement, Baybars moved to the South of France and continued his literary work. He took up painting abstract pieces in his later years, and he featured 17 of his artworks on his personal blog. Taner Baybars passed away on 20 January 2010 at the age of 73.

Sources for biographical information:

Archive Collection

Reference: MS 3263                    Date: 1959-2003                    Extent: approx. 9 boxes 

This collection contains the working and personal papers of TanerBaybars. It includes manuscripts and typescripts for numerous published works, such as A Trap for the Burglar and Plucked in a Far-off Land, and unpublished works, such as A Spanish Jot-book and There Was Another Room.  There is a typescript for an untitled novel, some short stories, and collections of poems from 1959-1974. It also contains various scripts for radio programmes and plays, as well as notes, drafts, correspondences and other papers relating to his translations of works by Nâzım Hikmet and Mehmet Yashin. There are several files of various correspondences from 1978-1999, a handful of articles and newspapers, and some personal papers and invitations. The majority of the material is written in English, though there are a number of items written in Turkish.   

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Library Collection

Reference: TANER BAYBARS COLLECTION                    Date: 1947-2009                    Extent: 205 volumes

This collection contains books, mainly poetry works from the 1960s-1980s, and other published works once owned by Taner Baybars. It includes works written and translated by Baybars, works by the Turkish author Nâzim Hikmet as well as books, pamphlets and periodicals relating to Baybars, ‘The Group’ poets and other poets of the period. Several books have dedications to Baybars or were his review copies; many are in Turkish or have English/Turkish parallel text. 

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  • This collection is catalogued and is searchable via our online catalogue