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KU acquires writings by author William S. Burroughs

Updated: 2014-02-08T04:07:11Z


The Kansas City Star

The last works and other writings of author William S. Burroughs have landed at the University of Kansas Libraries, nearly two decades after his death.

KU alumnus James Grauerholz, a Lawrence resident, is executor of Burroughs’ estate and donated the author’s final personal journals, typescripts and editing materials to the university’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

The materials were the source for “Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs,” published in 2000, which Grauerholz edited.

Burroughs wrote the controversial 1959 novel “Naked Lunch” and numerous other novels, including “Junkie,” “Nova Express” and “Cities of the Red Night.”

Burroughs, inducted into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, lived in Lawrence from 1982 until his death in 1997.

“William spent his last years, wrote his last books, painted his (first and) last paintings and jotted-down his last words in Lawrence, Kan.,” Grauerholz said in a statement released Thursday.

“So the city of Lawrence, and the University of Kansas, which is the heart of our community, deserve to have the last word on Burroughs’ life and works.”

The donated collection also includes contributions the author made to periodicals, first editions of many of his works, and a manuscript collection including some of his writings from the 1950s and ’60s, as well as letters written by Burroughs and letters written to him by Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, publishers and others. Some audio recordings of Burroughs are also part of the donated collection.

To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to

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