The bulk of the papers relate to Stivens' writings. There are drafts of articles and short stories, together with subject files containing material from which he drew inspiration. There is correspondence with publishers and agents, both in Australia and overseas, and a smaller group of papers that relate to Stivens' books. The general correspondence comprises letters from many prominent people in the literary sphere, together with correspondence documenting Stiven's day-to-day activities and his literary pursuits. There are papers relating to Stivens interest in art and his involvement in the Captain Cook Bicentenary Literary Competition. There are a small number of family papers and documents and financial papers relating mainly to Stivens' family company D&W Stivens Pty Ltd. Other material in the collection includes photographs, cuttings, notebooks, scrap books, appointment diaries and a number of cassette tapes on to which, in later life, Stivens dictated letters and other work for transcription.
There are papers relating to the Australian Society of Authors including notes about the early the history of the Society, correspondence, minutes of meetings and copies of the Society's journals and newsletters.
Stivens was an author, best known for his short stories. He was also a prolific writer of journal articles and published novels and works of non-fiction. His novel, A horse of air, won the Miles Franklin award in 1970. In 1963 Stivens was foundation President of the Australian Society of Authors and worked hard to establish the rights of Australian writers within the commercial sphere. In 1981 he received the Patrick White Award for his contribution to Australian literature.
Manuscript reference: NLA MS 4713.
Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia, C496
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