NELM - National English Literary Museum
The mission of the National English Literary Museum is to promote the reading and appreciation of all forms of imaginative South African literature in English
FUNCTIONS : NELM's principal functions are to collect and conserve material evidence pertaining to this literature, to publicise and popularise it, and to provide all sections of the reading public, both locally and abroad, with the means of access to it.
Hours of opening: Monday to Friday, 08h30 - 13h00, 14h00 - 16h30
The Museum started in 1972 as a collection of documents and has grown, over the years, into a national resource funded principally by the Central Government.
The artifacts of the Museum are literary - the imaginative and creative writings in English of southern African writers, regardless of their mother tongue. There are three chief collections from the past and present
Where possible we keep unpublished manuscripts and drafts as well as proofs, diaries, and private correspondence;
We collect all genres of creative or imaginative writing published by Southern African authors: poetry, plays, novels, short stories, diaries, memoirs, journals and travelogues, including books for children.
Critical matter about Southern African authors - their lives, words and works recorded in the daily press and in learned journals.
These collections are physically present for anyone to consult, and the bibliographic information is also accessible in separate electronic databases.
NELM collects and conserves material, and also aims to serve all reading communities.
How do we do this?
In three broad ways:
- Database searches can be done on individual authors. Anyone who requires information in connection with Southern African English literature can call upon the Research Department in person or via letter, telephone, fax or e-mail.
- NELM has produced a number of publications containing bibliographic information for the use of specialists; e.g. Index of South African Literature in English; six comprehensive bibliographies of contemporary writers; Interviews Series.
- In addition we are in the process of compiling a bibliography of Anglophone black literature and literary criticism by black South Africans, spanning the period 1800 to 1990. We hope to publish this on CD-ROM.
A diversified outreach programme takes information about our literature to scholars and students. We do this by means of: travelling exhibitions, story reading programmes, outdoor exploration camps in collaboration with environmental educationalists. BACK PACKS relating to set works and introductions to individual writers produced by NELM are available for sale to schools.