Most of my blog is dedicated to helping you publish and promote your books. But what about those poor souls who never do manage to get published? Fret
Fret not, for now there’s a place where your work will be fully appreciated: the Brautigan Library, a unique library which only includes unpublished manuscripts. As Atlas Obscura reports, both the library’s inspiration and name came from the 1971 novel, “The Abortion: A Historical Romance,” a 1966 book by Richard Brautigan, in which the protagonist works at a library of unpublished manuscripts. In the novel, no one is allowed to visit the library and read the unpublished works. But in the library it inspired, that’s the whole point.
More than 300 physical manuscripts, all unpublished, are currently housed in the Brautigan Library at the Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver, Washington. The library originally opened in Burlington, Vermont, in 1990, with founder Todd Lockwood taking submissions from whomever wanted to be part of it. In 2010, it was moved to Vancouver, about two hours from Tacoma, where Brautigan was born.
Librarian and Brautigan scholar John Barber is now expanding the collection digitally: Anyone can submit their unpublished work to the library, as long as it is in English — and remains unpublished. Books are classified by way of the Mayonnaise System, named in tribute to Brautigan’s love of the word “mayonnaise.”
Readers are not allowed to take the manuscripts out of the library but may stay and read them until closing. The library even hosts National Unpublished Writers’ Day annually on the last Sunday in January, around the time of Brautigan’s birthday.