Guide to the Papers of Nicholas Jose

MS 8714

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Papers of Nicholas Jose
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 8714
2.94 metres (21 boxes, 2 folio items)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

The collection documents Jose's career as a writer. It includes drafts, correspondence, cuttings and reviews relating to The possession of amber (1980), Ideas of the restoration in English literature, 1660-71 (1984), Rowena's field (1984), Feathers or lead (1986), Paper nautilus (1987), Avenue of eternal peace (1989), 'Rabbit in the moon' (a play, 1992), 'Dead city' (a play, 1994), 'Wives of Kwong' (television drama, 1994-95), The rose crossing (1994), The finish line (1994), ESL study guide (c.1995) and Chinese whispers, cultural essays (1995).

The correspondents include Rosemary Creswell, Janet Parfenovics, Paula Latos-Valier, Ron Radford, John McPhee, Dinah Dysart, Yang Wen-i, Johnson Chang, George Papaellinas, Kate Jones, Neil Olson, Ian Templeman, University of Queensland Press and Penguin Australia.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Nicholas Jose, National Library of Australia, MS 8714, [box number and series and/or file number]'.


The papers were donated to the National Library under the Tax Incentives for the Arts Scheme in three instalments between 1991 and 1994. A smaller addition was made in 1997.

Biographical Note

Nicholas Jose was born on 9 November 1952 in the United Kingdom, but spent his childhood in Broken Hill, Traralgon, Perth and Adelaide. He studied at the Australian National University before being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in 1974.

Jose lived and worked in various parts of Australia, mainly Canberra, and in England, Italy and China. He lectured in English at the Australian National University and was a Cultural Counsellor for the Australian Embassy in Beijing in 1987-90.

Jose's publications include short stories, novels and a book on English literature, which originated as his doctoral thesis. Paper Nautilus and Avenue of Eternal Peace were written while he was living and working in Italy and China. He won a Literature Board Fellowship in 1989 and 1997.

Reference: Who's Who of Australian Writers (1991), pp 284-5

Item Descriptions

Series 1. The Possession of Amber (1980), 1979-81

The Possession of Amber is a collection of short stories, with each story set in a different part of the world. The book was published by the University of Queensland Press in 1980. The series include correspondence, drafts, reviews and cuttings

Correspondence with staff of the University Queensland Press including Kym Muddon (Promotions Officer), Malcolm Beazley (Sales Manager), Merril Yule (Head of Editorial Department) and Craig Munro (Fiction Editor).

File 1. Four notebooks revealing primary stages of stories and abandoned earlier work - Box 1

File 2-13. Drafts and typescripts - Box 1, 2

File 14. Copy of the published work (autographed by Nicholas Jose) - Box 2

File 15. Correspondence (1979-81), reviews and press clippings relating to the book and dust jacket - Box 2

Series 2. Ideas of the Restoration in English Literature, 1660-71

Ideas of the Restoration in English Literature, 1660-71 was based on the doctoral thesis (1977), written by Jose while studying at Magdalen College, Oxford. It was published in 1984 by Harvard University Press. The series comprises a copy of the thesis, reviews and a copy of the book.

File 1. Doctoral thesis, 1977 - Box 3

File 2. Copy of the book - Box 3

File 3. Reviews and an off-print of a paper by Jose on Antony and Cleopatra - Box 3

Series 3. Rowena's Field

Rowena's Field was published in 1984 by Rigby Press. The series includes correspondence, research material, reviews, drafts and business papers.

The correspondents are staff of Rigby Press: Lisa Berryman (Executive Editor) and Frank Thompson (General Manager).

The business papers include a photocopy of the agreement with the publisher and royalty statements.

File 1. Three notebooks showing reworking of original ideas - Box 4

File 2-5. First typescript - Box 4

File 6-8. Typescript with alterations and corrections - Box 5

File 9-15. Typescript and draft interwoven showing revision and corrections - Box 5, 6

File 16-18. Final typescript - Box 6

File 19. Synopsis, outline and description of novel for a television mini-series - Box 6

File 20-22. Correspondence (1981-85), research material, reviews and business papers. Correspondence relates to the publishing of the book and the treatment of the novel for television - Box 6, 7

File 23. Two audio cassettes of radio interviews relating to the book - Box 7

Series 4. Feathers or lead

Nicholas Jose's book of short stories was published by Penguin Books, Australia in 1986. The series includes correspondence, drafts, cuttings and royalty statements.

The correspondents include staff of Penguin Books, Australia ( Mathew Kelly , Jo Bramble ), Rosemary Creswell, and Sallyanne Moss of White Kite Productions.

File 1. Four notebooks heavily reworked with interleaved related notes or passages of text - Box 7

File 2-4. Typescript with some notes - Box 7

File 5. Final typescript and various notes for setting of the text - Box 7

File 6. Correspondence (1985-86), press clippings and royalty statements (1986-87) - Box 8

File 7. One audio cassette entitled 'Paul's rug' - Box 8

Series 5. Paper nautilus

The novel was published by Penguin Books, Australia in 1987. The series include drafts, photograph and correspondence.

The correspondents include Dorothy Green; Mathew Kelly, Jo Bramble and Jackie Yowell (Penguin Books) and Rosemary Creswell.

File 1. Eight notebooks containing earliest draft of novel - Box 8

File 2. Typescript with pencil and loose leaf notes - Box 8

File 3. Complete typescript at an interim stage with cut and paste, photograph and dust jacket - Box 8

File 4. Typescripts entitled 'Penny's wedding, February 1965'; 'The boy, Summer, 1961' and 'Drift, 1952' - Box 8

File 5. Typescript entitled 'The road, 1946-50' - Box 8

File 6. Copy of the book - Box 9

File 7. Correspondence, reviews and press clippings, 1986-91 - Box 9

Series 6. Avenue of Eternal Peace

This novel (under the working title 'Crackers') was published by Penguin Books in 1989. The story takes place shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre in China in 1989. It was adapted for a television 'Children of the Dragon' by Robert Caswell. The series include correspondence, notebooks, cuttings, reviews, drafts and television scripts.

The correspondents are Penguin Books (Peg McColl, Judy Bourguignon, Bruce Sims and Blanche Hewitt), Ray Koppe of Australian Society of Authors and Southern Star Xanadu.

File 1. Seven notebooks of early drafts - Box 9

File 2-4. Drafts and notes - Box 9

File 5-7. Drafts and notes (entitled 'The Emperor from underneath') - Box 9, 10

File 8-10. Notes and typescript with corrections - Box 10

File 11-13. Typescript with corrections - Box 10

File 14-16. Clean typescript for 'Crackers' - Box 11

File 17-19. Photocopy typescript draft for 'Crackers' with some notes and correspondence - Box 11

File 20-21. Correspondence (1988-90), reviews and cuttings - Box 11

File 22. Three copies of the book (American, Australian and Chinese) - Box 12

File 23-24. First draft of treatment of 'Crackers' by Robert Caswell - Box 12

File 25-27. Second draft of treatment of 'Crackers' by Robert Caswell - Box 12

File 28-30. Final draft treatment of 'Crackers' by Robert Caswell - Box 13

File 31. Television adaptation by Robert Caswell - Box 13

File 32. Release script for production of 'Children of the Dragon' - Box 13

File Folio 1. Photocopy page proofs, with corrections, of 'Firecrackers'

File Folio 2. Photocopy page proofs, with corrections in pencil, of 'Firecrackers'

Series 7. Scrapbook - Box 13

Scrapbook containing cuttings on Jose and his books, 1980-87 (1 volume)

Addition August 1997

Series 8. 'Rabbit in the moon', 1992

The Sydney Theatre Company held a workshop for the play at the Wharf Theatre in 1992, but it was never performed in public. The series includes drafts and correspondence with Simon Phillips of the State Theatre and Carrillo Gantner of the Playbox Theatre Centre, Monash University.

File 1. Correspondence, 1992 - Box 14

File 2-3. Drafts - Box 14

Series 9. 'Dead city', 1994

The play was performed at the Belvoir Street Theatre and the Q Theatre in 1994. The series include correspondence (Rodney Fisher, Tony Michael, Bruce Sims and Geremie Barmé), drafts of the script, working papers, advertising material, programs, reviews and one CD containing Erich W. Korngold's music, adapted and arranged for Chinese instruments by Max Lyandvert.

File 1. Correspondence, working papers, drafts, advertising material, programs, reviews and one CD, 1994 - Box 14

File 2. Drafts - Box 14

File 3. Research material and reviews, 1994 - Box 14

Series 10. 'Wives of Kwong', 1994-95

The 'Wives of Kwong', written by Jose, William Yang and Tony Ayers, is a drama series about a Chinese-Australian family in Darwin over a hundred year period. It was commissioned by Penny Chapman for ABC television, but it was never produced.

File 1. 'Water' (Fourth draft by Jose, 1994) 'Wood' (Fourth draft by Jose, 1994) - Box 15

File 2. 'Earth' (Fourth draft by Tony Ayres, 1994) 'Metal' (Fourth draft by Tony Ayres, 1994) - Box 15

File 3. 'Flame' (Fourth draft by William Yang, 1994) 'Wind' (Fourth draft by Jose and William Yang, n.d.) - Box 15

File 4. 'Flame' (Fifth draft by William Yang and Tony Ayres, 1995) 'Wind' (Fifth draft by Jose, William Yang and Tony Ayres, 1995) - Box 15

Series 11. The rose crossing (1994), 1993-96

The book was first published in London by Hamish Hamilton in 1994. The series includes correspondence (Cameron and Creswell, Bryony Cosgrove of Penguin, Kate Jones of Hamish Hamilton and Neil Olson of US publisher Donadio& Ashworth) and research material (including papers concerning Jose's travel to Mauritius and a related articles for the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend, 20 March 1993), photocopies and notes.

File 1-3. Three notebooks of handwritten first drafts - Box 16

File 4. First computer draft with revisions - Box 16

File 5. Pages from first computer draft with annotations by Humphrey McQueen - Box 16

File 6. Second computer draft with revisions - Box 16

File 7. Bryony Cosgrove's copy of final draft - Box 17

File 8. Page proofs with corrections - Box 17

File 9. Research material - Box 17

File 10. Jackets, design and a copy of UK catalogue - Box 17

File 11. Reviews, notes and cuttings, 1994-95 - Box 17

File 12. Correspondence with Cameron Creswell and Hamish Hamilton, 1993-95 - Box 17

File 13. Correspondence with US publisher, 1995-96 - Box 18

File 14. Correspondence with Penguin and Cameron and Creswell, 1993-95 - Box 18

File 15. Correspondence concerning Chinese translation by Li Yao, 1995-96 - Box 18

File 16. Correspondence concerning French and German translations by Librarie Plon and Berlin Verlag, 1995-96 - Box 18

File 17. Two copies of the book (Penguin and Hamish Hamilton) - Box 18

Series 12. The finish line: a long march by bicycle through China and Australia (1994), 1991-95

The book was written by Sang Ye, Nicholas Jose and Sue Trevaskes and it was published by the University of Queensland Press in 1994. The series includes drafts (some in Chinese), correspondence (Rose Creswell, Clare Forster and Ian Templeman), reviews, one cassette and a copy of the book.

File 1. Draft of biographical essay on San Ye - Box 18

File 2. Correspondence, 1991-93 - Box 18

File 3. Drafts - Box 18

File 4-5. Drafts (some in Chinese) - Box 19

File 6. Speech given by Jose at the Sydney Writers' Festival, n.d - Box 19

File 7. Reviews, 1994-95 - Box 19

File 8. Copy of the book and a cassette - Box 19

Series 13. ArtTaiwan, 1994-95

The book, ArtTaiwan, was published in Sydney by G&B Arts International in 1995. It deals with contemporary art exchanges between Australia and Taiwan in 1992 and 1993. The series includes correspondence and drafts.

The correspondents are Bernice Murphy and Janet Parfenovics (Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney), Paula Latos-Valier (Art Gallery of Western Australia), Ron Radford (Art Gallery of South Australia), John McPhee (National Gallery of Victoria), Dinah Dysart (Art and Australia), Yang Wen-i (Taipei Fine Arts Museum), Johnson Chang (Hanart T.Z. Gallery, Hong Kong) and Dallas Cox (Powerhouse Museum).

File 1. Correspondence, 1994 - Box 19

File 2. Drafts of 'Notes on cultural development in Taiwan' - Box 19

File 3. Copy of ArtTaiwan (1995) - Box 20

Series 14. Chinese whispers, cultural essays (1995), 1994-96

The book was published in Adelaide by Wakefield Press in 1995. The series include correspondence (Wakefield Press and George Papellinas of Angus & Robertson), drafts, cuttings and reviews.

File 1. Correspondence, 1994-95 - Box 20

File 2. Edited drafts of essays - Box 20

File 3. Drafts and documentation relating to the individual essays - Box 20

File 4. Cuttings of articles and reviews, 1995-96 - Box 20

File 5. Articles, book reviews and talks relating to China, 1983-92 - Box 20

File 6. Proofs - Box 21

File 7. A copy of the book - Box 21

Series 15. ESL study guide, c.1995

The guide, written by Viv Tellefson and Sophie Arkoudis, with a foreword by Jose, is a theoretical and practical guide to literature study based on Jose's novel Paper nautilus. It was published by the Melbourne Community Information Service, Directorate of School Education, c1995.

File 1. ESL study guide - Box 21