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British Library buys Wendy Cope archive

21st April 2011

The British Library has paid GBP 32,000 for the personal effects of comic author Wendy Cope.

Famed for parodies of great British poets, including William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot, Cope's archive contains a number of manuscripts, notebooks, school reports and some 40,000 emails.

Considering the emails alone, the Cope archive is the most extensive that the British Library has ever bought.

Commenting on the school reports contained within the archive, which were kept by the author's mother, lead curator of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library, Rachel Foss, told the Guardian: 'That very direct and succinct voice of hers, which comes through so strongly in the poems, seems to have been present very early in her teenage years.'

She added: 'The teacher's comment about 'meticulous attention to detail' being required is brilliant, particularly if you think of all the parodies of writers, from Ted Hughes to Seamus Heaney. She obviously was paying attention then - maybe she listened to that teacher.'

Cope recently condemned the long-running Radio 4 soap The Archers, telling the Daily Telegraph that she no longer listens to the show because it has become bogged down in controversy.

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