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“Let us do something, while we have the chance.” The origins of Reading’s Samuel Beckett collection


27 September 2022
January 13
Event Category:


University of Reading Library
Whiteknights Reading RG6 6UR United Kingdom + Google Map
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In 1971, the University of Reading Library hosted an exhibition to honour the work of Samuel Beckett, who had won the Nobel Prize for Literature two years earlier. By the following year, Reading was home to a significant Beckett archive (now the largest in the world), had toured the exhibition nationally and internationally, and had welcomed many leading Beckett scholars to the University. From a standing start, a remarkable and enduring collaboration between creators, academics, librarians and archivists had taken shape. 

This display, originally created to coincide with the finale of the University Library’s redevelopment and refurbishment, celebrates the extraordinary partnerships that made the 1971 exhibition happen and the role of the Library as a crucible of learning and creativity. 

This exhibition can be viewed at the University of Reading Library, within their normal opening hours.

Image caption: Opening of Beckett exhibition in 1971, MS 5305.