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Raven Arts Press archive

Identifier: MSS 0467

Scope and Contents

The Archive of the Raven Arts Press forms a comprehensive record of the history and activities of one of the most important publishers of literature in Ireland during the last part of the twentieth century, from its founding in 1977 to its end in 1993. In addition to manuscripts, typescripts, and galleys for many Raven Arts publications, the archive includes an extensive collection of correspondence that documents the activities of the press in its day-to-day operations. The archive also contains a large amount of publicity material, and original artwork and photographs, as well as the financial records of the company.

The authors represented include Sara Berkeley, Dermot Bolger, Philip Casey, Anthony Cronin, Paddy Doyle, Paul Durcan, Patrick Galvin, Michael Hartnett, Desmond O’Grady, Nuala Ní Dhomhnail, Michael O’Loughlin, Fintan O’Toole, Francis Stuart, and Colm Toibin. The collection includes copies of the mimeograph magazine Suburban Poetry that constituted Raven Arts’ initial publishing venture, as well as a copy of its first pamphlet, a collection of Bolger’s poetry entitled Finglas Watching the Night.


  • Creation: 1971-1993

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

The Irish writer and publisher Dermot Bolger founded Dublin-based Raven Arts Press in 1977 when he was seventeen. Raven Arts commenced with the Finglas Writer’s Workshop which began printing a mimeographed magazine, Suburban Poetry, in 1977. Encouraged by the Irish poet, Anthony Cronin, Bolger began publishing his own and others’ poetry in book and pamphlet form. Raven Arts became one of the most important of the presses publishing new Irish poets during the 1980s until it closed in 1992. In addition to collections of poetry, Raven published fiction and non-fiction. It also published a series of Raven Introductions, anthologies designed to introduce new writers to the reading public. Other Raven Arts publications include Bright Wave, a dual language edition of contemporary poetry written in Irish, and a pamphlet series, Letters from a New Island. Many Raven Arts poets and writers went on to publish with British and American houses with Bolger’s assistance and encouragement. Raven Arts authors include Sara Berkeley, Paddy Doyle, Anthony Cronin, Francis Stuart, Maurice Scully, Paul Durcan, and many others. Raven Arts was active in the cultural life of Ireland, receiving grants from the Arts Council of Ireland, organizing the Poetry in the Schools Scheme to bring the work of contemporary poets into Ireland’s schools, and arts festivals in Bolger’s native Finglas, a suburb of Dublin.

Bolger himself has gone on to a prominent writing career, and it was largely to devote his efforts full-time to writing that led to his closing Raven Arts. Among his novels are The Journey Home (1990), and A Second Life (1984). He has written eight plays and published several collections of poetry. His work has received many awards. In 1992, Bolger became a founding editor of New Island Book, another “vibrant specialist publisher of poetry and drama” that continues to thrive in Dublin and feature Irish writers.


Kelly, Shirley. “The Writer as Publisher.” Books Ireland. May 1994. No. 177.

Other information derived from the collection.


16 linear foot

2 oversize box

Metadata Rights Declarations


The Archive of the Raven Arts Press forms a comprehensive record of the history and activities of the Dublin-based press, founded by Irish writer and publisher Dermot Bolger. The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, galleys, publicity material, and financial records.


The Archive of the Raven Arts Press has been arranged into five series, largely following the original order of the collection. Series I consists of manuscripts submitted for publication. This series is itself divided into manuscripts published as books, arranged alphabetically by name of author; material submitted for Raven Arts’ pamphlet series, Letters from a New Island; Suburban Poetry, the initial publication of Raven Arts under the auspices of the Finglas Writers’ Workshop; and unpublished manuscripts.

Series II consists of correspondence. This series is subdivided into general administrative correspondence, arranged chronologically, and correspondence, arranged alphabetically, with individuals and institutions with whom Raven Arts had extended and significant correspondence. It also includes contracts and letters seeking or granting permission to reprint material. Series III consists of office files printed from a computer hard drive when Raven Arts ceased operations. Series IV contains promotional material and art work. It includes posters, book covers, and reviews, much of which was collected an pasted in scrapbooks. Series V contains the financial records of the Raven Arts Press.

Throughout the archive, there is overlap and inconsistency in the series content, i.e. some of the manuscript files include correspondence with the author and/or promotional material for the work.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 1994

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-16: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons

Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches)

Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

Processing Information

Processed February-May 2003, by Kevin Burke; completed by Anita Wellner. Encoded by Debra Johnson, 2007, and Jaime Margalotti, November 2019.

Finding aid for Raven Arts Press archive
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2019 November 20
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA