Archive Collection MAP - Mapanje (Jack) Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Mapanje (Jack) Archive


  • 1970 - 2016 (Creation)

Level of description

Archive Collection

Extent and medium

2 linear metres.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Jack Mapanje is a poet, linguist, editor and human rights activist. He received the 1988 Rotterdam Poetry International Award for his first book of poems, Chameleons and Gods (1981) and the USA’s Fonlon-Nichols Award for his contribution to poetry and human rights. His latest collection, Beasts of Nalunga (Bloodaxe Books, 2007), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Jack Mapanje was head of the Department of English at the University of Malawi when the Malawi authorities arrested him in 1987 after his first book of poems had been banned, and he was released in 1991 after spending three years, seven months and sixteen days in prison, following an international outcry against his incarceration. He has since published four poetry books, The Chattering Wagtails of Mikuyu Prison (1993), Skipping Without Ropes (Bloodaxe, 1998), The Last of the Sweet Bananas: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2004) and Beasts of Nalunga (Bloodaxe, 2007), as well as three anthologies, Oral Poetry from Africa (1983), Summer Fires: New Poetry of Africa (1983) and The African Writers’ Handbook (1999); and he edited the acclaimed Gathering Seaweed: African Prison Writing (2002). His latest book is his prison memoir And Crocodiles Are Hungry at Night (Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2011). Mapanje has held residences in the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and throughout Britain, including two years with the Wordsworth Trust at Dove Cottage in Cumbria. He lives in exile in York with his family, and is currently a visiting professor in the faculty of art at York St John University.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited by Jack Mapanje in 2016.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Personal papers of Jack Mapanje including correspondence, press cuttings, books and draft manuscripts relating to his time as a political prisoner in Malawi, the campaign for his release and the publication of his poetry.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


No further accruals expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open with some data protection restrictions (researcher interview may be required)

Conditions governing reproduction

UK copyright regulations apply.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Jack Mapanje was interviewed by 'Poetry Spotlight: Poets and their Poems' in 2016. The interview can be found at .

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

gb 186-map

Institution identifier

gb 186

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion

This catalogue created 11 January 2019.


  • English



Accession area