Hilary Mantel and Alan Moore voice ‘grave concerns’ for John Clare archive

Authors fear that large collection of poet’s papers held by Northamptonshire libraries will be threatened by further cuts expected to its service

Hilary Mantel, Alan Moore and Simon Armitage have joined authors raising “grave concerns” about the custodianship of the poet John Clare’s manuscripts in advance of major planned cuts to the library service in Northamptonshire.

The 19th-century nature poet was born in the Northamptonshire village of Helpston to illiterate parents, and worked as a labourer. Known for works celebrating rural life, including The Shepherd’s Calendar and Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, a large collection of his manuscripts, letters and books is housed at Northampton central library, as the John Clare Collection. Authors and academics led by Simon Kövesi, editor of the John Clare Society Journal, have written to the Guardian to voice concern that the collection will be hit by the swingeing cuts expected for the region’s ...