NEW YORK – A celebrated chronicler of rural life, E. Annie Proulx, has found a literary home in the big city.
Proulx, whose works include the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Shipping News” and the short story “Brokeback Mountain” that was the basis for the film starring Heath Ledger, has donated her papers to the New York Public Library.
“What writer would not be honoured to be in the company of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Thoreau, Saul Bellow, Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, Virginia Woolf, Marianne Moore, Paul Auster and W. H. Auden?” Proulx said in a statement released Monday by the library. “To me there is an odd sense of balance that material dealing with some of the most rural landscapes in North America will reside in our major city.”
Proulx is giving tens of thousands of pages to the library, including diaries, journals, manuscripts and notebooks. The collection includes early versions of “Brokeback Mountain,” with such working titles as “Bulldust Mountain” and “Swill-Swallow Mountain,” and drafts of the film’s screenplay written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.
On Monday, the library also officially welcomed a local favourite, “Eloise” co-creator Hilary Knight, whose illustrations of the Plaza Hotel’s famous resident have been donated, along with posters, calendars and private correspondence.
Knight’s collection features a 1952 sketch of a young girl that pre-dates the “Eloise” series by three years and continues with other early drawings and research and publicity materials. Knight, 83, worked on the “Eloise” books with author Kay Thompson, who died in 1998.