UCLA acquires archives of Los Angeles writer John Fante

After nearly nine years of negotiations, UCLA announced today it’s acquired – for an undisclosed amount – the archives of the late Los Angeles writer John Fante. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

After nearly nine years of negotiations, UCLA announced today it’s acquired – for an undisclosed amount – the archives of the late Los Angeles writer John Fante. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Fante’s most famous novel is “Ask the Dust,” published 70 years ago. It’s a vivid depiction of downtown L.A.’s ethnic and social mix as seen through the eyes of a young, starving writer – the sort of guy Fante was at the time.

In this and other novels Fante shed light on what L.A. was like before World War II. The books influenced L.A. writers including Charles Bukowski and screenwriter Robert Towne.

The 23 linear feet of archive material includes Fante’s old manual typewriter, a lock of his hair, and lots of heavily annotated manuscripts, says UCLA manuscripts librarian Genie Guerard.

Genie Guerard: What I think is important about that is that you can really see the creative process at work.

Guzman-Lopez: A process that’s become evanescent in the age of word processing. Guerard hopes the acquisition will renew interest in Fante.

It won’t hurt that Fante’s archive joins the papers of celebrated L.A. writers Raymond Chandler and Nathanael West at the UCLA library.

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