Guide to the Papers of Louis Nowra
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Nowra, Louis, 1950-
- Papers of Louis Nowra
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 10042
- 8.7 metres (19 ms boxes + 13 medium folio boxes)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Contents
The papers consist of correspondence, diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, literary manuscripts, photographs and personal and business papers.The correspondence largely relates to Nowra's professional activities.Correspondents include Jim Sharman, Nadia Tass, Vincent Ward, Veronica Kelly and Bob Herbert-Hay.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is available for reference.
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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Louis Nowra, National Library of Australia, MS 10042, [series/file number]'.
The papers were purchased by the Library from Louis Nowra in 1999.
In the Oral History Collection, interviews of Louis Nowra are held at ORAL TRC 1/1213 and ORAL TRC 5217/15, and an address by Nowra at the National Press Club in 1993 can be found at ORAL TRC 4365.
A photograph of Louis Nowra is held in the Pictures Collection (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn585072).
Correspondence of Louis Nowra is held in the following collections of personal papers and organisational records in the Manuscript Collection: Dave Riley (MS 9684); Currency Press (MS 8084); Alex Buzo (MS 6383); and John Bell and Anna Volska (MS 8864).
Literary manuscripts and published works of Louis Nowra are also held in the following collections of personal paper and organisational records in the Manuscript Collection: Nicholas Hasluck (MS 8328); Patrick White (MS 9982); Currency Press (MS 8084); and Jack Hibberd (MS 6607).
Nowra's published works are listed on the Library's catalogue, which can be searched online via the Library's website at http://www.nla.gov.au/catalogue.
The order has been imposed on the collection by the Library although the series arrangement employed is loosely based on categories outlined by Louis Nowra in a list supplied with the papers. The majority of the papers were in files or scrapbooks when received and the internal order of papers inside these containers has been retained.
Louis Nowra was born in Melbourne in 1950 as Mark Doyle. He developed a love of theatre in childhood through school plays and exposure to J.C. Williamson productions where his uncle, Bob Herbert (also known as Bob Herbert-Hay), was stage manager. He studied at Melbourne's La Trobe University without completing a degree. In the early 1970s he changed his name to Louis Nowra.
Nowra lived an itinerant lifestyle until the mid-1970s when his plays began to attract attention. His first plays were written at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne in 1973. He was resident playwright of the Sydney Theatre Company in 1979-1980 and has held administrative positions in several other theatre companies as well as directing theatre and opera productions, including a period as Associate Director at Adelaide's Lighthouse State Theatre Company in 1982-1983. Nowra has been a writer-in-residence at the University of Queensland where he also lectured, and in 1988 held the position of lecturer in Australian Drama at Yale University. In 1996 Nowra was awarded an honorary doctorate by Griffith University.
Whilst Nowra is best known for his many plays, his output includes opera libretti and song cycles, fiction, non-fiction, autobiography and writing for film, radio and television. He has translated plays for the Australian stage, including Cyrano de Bergerac. In collaboration with his first wife, Sarah de Jong, Nowra wrote the music for a number of his plays and other productions.
Nowra's work has attracted many awards, including: the Prix Italia Drama Award (1990) for Summer of the aliens; the New South Wales State Literary Award for Plays (1992) for Cosi ; the Canada-Australia Literary Award (1993); the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, Louis Esson Prize for Drama (1994) for The temple; and the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (1996) for Cosi.
Harris, Samela . 'Reluctant elitist writes with dedicated fervor', The Australian, 20 May 1982, p. 8.
Nowra, Louis. 'How I became stagestruck', The Australian, 12 January 1985, 'Good weekend' pp. 34-35.
Austlit database entry for Louis Nowra (2007?( http://www.austlit.edu.au.
Wikipedia entry for Louis Nowra (2007) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis-Nowra.
This series consists of an annotated desk calendar, some loose pages and two volumes of personal diaries, and loose appointment diary pages. The personal diaries document Nowra's work, the plays, films and books he was reading or viewing, and collaborations he was involved in at the time (notably with Jim Sharman, Rex Cramphorn and Stephen Sewell).
Includes entries describing: working on 'Beauty and the beast' with Rex Cramphorn; Nowra's play, Precious woman; and contacts with Jim Sharman and Richard Wherrett.
Entries include references to Jim Sharman, Stephen Sewell and Nowra's play, 'Spellbound'.
This series consists of letters, faxes and cards, largely relating to Nowra's publishing, theatre and film activities and professional appearances at festivals and other events. Dispersed throughout the series are letters and faxes to and from Nowra's agents, Hilary Linstead and Associates. In addition there is a small number of letters from family members: sister Michelle Bentley, Nowra's father and his uncle, Bob Herbert-Hay. Outgoing correspondence is present in the form of faxes only.
Business correspondence appears in all files in the series and only where there are significant amounts of mail on a particular topic are these highlighted in the file descriptions below. Apart from a small amount of loose papers, the correspondence was filed inside files and envelopes with handwritten notes on the outside of each container providing dates. The internal order of the containers has been retained and each container of correspondence has been placed into an archival file. The files have been arranged chronologically by the Library.
Includes: theatre company and Australia Council contracts; a copy of a letter to the editor by Patrick White on the subject of Nowra's play, Visions; letters from Richard Wherrett; and correspondence relating to the 1988 International October Writers' Meeting held in Yugoslavia at which Nowra delivered the first Miles Franklin Memorial Lecture.
Includes faxes sent by Nowra whilst in Ireland, contracts and financial papers.
Includes letters from Juliet Taylor and Clifton (Cliff) Dolliver.
Includes: letters from Nadia Tass, Vincent Ward and Veronica Kelly; financial papers; and correspondence in relation to the 1994 Canada-Australia Literature Award bestowed on Nowra for his complete body of work at that time.
Includes: letters from Veronica Kelly, Nadia Tass and Vincent Ward; contracts and financial papers; correspondence with the Australia Council, the Canada-Australia Literature Award organisers and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature relating to grants and awards received by Nowra; and a copy of an article, 'Is there a Santa Claus?', written by Nowra for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Includes: correspondence with Zootango (theatre company) about a production of Nowra's 'Deceit'; correspondence relating to the 1995 Canberra Word Festival; letters from the Australia Council about Nowra's appointment to the Writing for Performance Committee; financial papers; and letters from Vincent Ward and Veronica Kelly.
Includes: correspondence with Griffith University relating to an honorary doctorate being awarded to Nowra; a short article by Nowra, 'Composers and librettists', describing his libretti-writing projects; and letters from Veronica Kelly, Nadia Tass, Vincent Ward, Bob Herbert-Hay (containing family history information) and actors writing about their parts in a production of 'Miss Bosnia'.
Includes: letters from family members, Bob Herbert-Hay (Nowra's uncle), Nowra's father and his sister, Michelle Bentley; correspondence relating to Nowra's membership of the Australia Council's Literature Fund; correspondence and legal papers associated with a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) case against Nowra's play, 'Miss Bosnia' (see also Series 8 for further papers relating to this case); business papers relating to Nowra's company, Amanita Pty Ltd; and letters from Veronica Kelly and Vincent Ward.
Includes letters from Hugh Piper, Jim Sharman, Tim Bevan, Vincent Ward and Bob Herbert-Hay.
Includes set designs and a letter from Jim Sharman relating to a proposed play by Nowra, 'Flame'.
This series comprises family history material, Nowra's honorary doctorate certificate, royalty statements and taxation records.
Research material gathered by Nowra's sister, Michelle Bentley, with covering letters. It includes family memoirs and genealogical information used by Nowra in his autobiography, The twelfth of never: a memoir.
This series consists of 17 numbered notebooks compiled by Nowra between 1985-1998, and three others used for specific writing projects. The notebooks contain handwritten notes and cuttings relating to Nowra's works. Details of the contents of the numbered notebooks were supplied by Nowra in the form of a list, a copy of which is in File 1 of this series. Two notebooks used by Nowra when writing 'The storm' can be found in Series 5 (Bag 53). Loose notes relating to specific works can also be found in Series 5-9. Some of the notebooks contain only cuttings and may have served a similar purpose to that of the scrapbooks in Series 10.
The numbered notebooks form a numerical sequence: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5a, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10a, 11, 12, 13, 13a and 14.
This series contains material produced by Nowra during the writing of his plays, screenplays, fiction, non-fiction and libretti. It includes notes, drafts, typescripts and copies of his literary works. The works have been arranged alphabetically by title by the Library. Correspondence which was found amongst the papers has been left in place. Information about the works included in the file descriptions below was supplied by Nowra in the form of a list, a copy of which is in File 1 of this series. Four works have been separated from this series and can be found in later series: 'Map of the human heart' (Series 6), 'Half breed' (Series 7), 'Miss Bosnia' (Series 8) and 'K-19: the widowmaker' (Series 9).
Capricornia (mini-series), episode one, 'Sins of their fathers': draft manuscript, photocopy, 1995 (File 8)
Adaptation of the book by Xavier Herbert.
'Dance on dancer' (song cycle), lyrics by Louis Nowra and music by Sarah de Jong: typescript copy, 1974 (File 14)
One of the singers listed in the credits is Pam Tassopulos (aka Nadia Tass).
See also radio play draft entitled 'The temple of fallen angels' (File 58).
See also Folio 26A in Folio Box 1, which is an enlarged press cutting about censorship of the film.
'Holy fire': notes, outline by Louis Nowra and Vincent Ward and research material, c. 1986-1992 (File 27-28)
Includes papers relating to 'Map of the human heart' and 'The fever'.
The incorruptible: notes, correspondence, rehearsal draft, revised scenes and research material, 1995-1996 (File 29-30)
Papers relating to the original Playbox (1995) and Sydney Theatre Company (1996) productions.
See also film script and research material under 'Fallen angels' (Files 24-25).
This series comprises notes, a photocopy of an early version and shooting scripts for Louis Nowra's screenplay, 'Map of the human heart', and a spiral-bound volume of notes and published diary entries entitled 'The making of "Map of the human heart"'.
This series comprises research material and a proposal for a six-part documentary series entitled 'Half breed'.
5 Files and 1 Bag
This series consists of: press cuttings, possibly used as research material in the writing of 'Miss Bosnia'; promotional material for a production of the play by a University of Queensland theatre group; and correspondence and legal papers relating to an inquiry into 'Miss Bosnia' by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. See also Series 2, Files 10-11 for further papers associated with this inquiry.
This series comprises research material, financial papers, correspondence, draft outlines and draft scripts for 'K-19: the widowmaker'.
This series consists of 75 numbered scrapbooks compiled by Louis Nowra and described by him as 'a series of newspapers and magazine cuttings ranging from odd spots [sic] to fashion, to cartoons, to political articles, to current events of which several incidents have been the basis for plays and novels.' The contents of the scrapbooks include news articles about violent crime, graphic material, reviews of Nowra's work and articles in which he is the subject or interviewee. The numerical sequence of the scrapbooks is not continuous as the Library received only selected volumes. Where the same number has been allocated to more than one scrapbook, the Library has added 'a'and 'b' to differentiate between them. The date ranges for each folio box of scrapbooks reflect the publication dates of the cuttings.
The first four scrapbooks in the series (numbers 3-6) differ from the remainder as they contain largely handwritten notes entered by Nowra when developing structure and dialogue for various works. The dates for the scrapbooks and the works to which the handwritten notes relate are identified in a list supplied by Nowra, a copy of which is in Folio Box 1 of this series. The next four scrapbooks in Folio Box 1 (numbers 98, 103-104 and 106) were apparently used by Nowra as source material for his book, The cheated.
Scrapbooks numbered 3-6, 98, 103-104, 106 (8 scrapbooks), c. 1976-1978, 1996-1998 (File Folio Folio 1)
Scrapbooks 3-6 were compiled by Nowra between 1996-1998. The remaining scrapbooks in Folio Box 1 contain cuttings dating from c. 1976-1978.
This series comprises: programs, posters and fliers for productions of Nowra's plays or plays or operas he directed; theatre reports; journals containing articles about Nowra; and cuttings of articles about Nowra and of reviews of his works. The programs have been arranged alphabetically by play/opera title by the Library.
This series contains photographs, largely informal snapshots of Louis Nowra with other people and travel photographs. The remainder consist of photographs of a submarine and of an amateur production of one of Nowra's plays.
This series contains a variety of graphic material, including books of collaged press cuttings apparently compiled by Nowra, and published items.
Consists of one exercise book entitled 'A geography of emotion, volume 1 (included in "Every dream home a heartache")', and one bound volume of photocopied pages of collaged press cuttings.