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NLI marks acquisition of illustrations from Annie West’s The Late Night Writers Club

Collection contains hundreds of original illustrations, drawings and rough drafts from the graphic novel

Tuesday, 12 March 2024
Dr Audrey Whitty and Annie West in the Reading Room

Dr Audrey Whitty and Annie West

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has today (12.03.24) announced the acquisition of a visual archive from illustrator Annie West, created as part of the creation of her graphic novel The Late Night Writers Club.

The Sligo-based illustrator is one of only a small number of book illustrators in Ireland still working only on paper. The visual archive contains more than 105 full-colour original pen and ink illustrations, 272 pages of drafts and notes, along with work in progress photos and videos.

The Late Night Writers Club tells the story of a talented debut author, who takes refuge in the NLI on Dublin’s Kildare Street in search of last-minute inspiration when suffering from writer’s block and mysterious headaches. While there, the author meets a host of Irish literary greats, including James Joyce, WB Yeats, Sean O’Casey, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Binchy, Maria Edgeworth, Patricia Lynch and Katherine Tynan, among others.

The collection will be made available to the public when it has been catalogued.

Commenting, Director of the NLI, Dr Audrey Whitty, said: “One of our key objectives at the National Library of Ireland is to proactively collect contemporary materials that tell the story of Ireland. This collection allows us to celebrate another aspect of Ireland’s creative, literary and historical heritage. This is a fabulous collection of artwork and associated notes that really tell the story of how this book was developed – it is an absolute bonus that the book is set in the wonderful surrounds of the NLI building itself.

This collection also provides a fresh insight, colour and life into how we can explore our literary heroes through time, from Maria Edgeworth and Oscar Wilde to Patricia Lynch and Maeve Binchy. Annie’s characters seem to jump off this graphic novel’s pages. The National Library of Ireland is open to the public and I invite people to come in and experience all the settings Annie has created in her book.”

Speaking about her collection, illustrator Annie West said: “It is wonderful and a great honour to have my work, but more importantly, to have this illustration-based work become part of our national collections. Illustrators are often forgotten alongside our literary peers – but in this novel, it is the illustrations that guide you through the world of our National Library, not just the words. In a world of social and digital media and video, it’s so essential that we truly value the very craft of illustration and design done by hand in Ireland, not just for the creatives themselves like me, but for us as a society to treasure the joy of visual literacy and an appreciation for visual media and what that gives to us in our storytelling. The National Library of Ireland has once again shown its commitment to cataloguing, preserving and making available contemporary creative materials, not just those from our history”.