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The series contains literary works created by Beverley Simons from 1956 to 2012. Simons worked in a variety of genres, producing drama, fiction, non-fiction, and film scripts. From 1956 to the late 1970s, Simons focused primarily on drama, creating abstract, symbolic texts that interrogated Western epistemologies and relationship structures, particularly those between middle-class men and women. Several of Simons plays were produced during this period, and these plays are heavily represented in the series: The Elephant and the Jewish Question (Vancouver Little Theatre Association, 1968); Greenlawn Rest Home (Savage God—Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Art Gallery, 1969); Crabdance (A Contemporary Theatre, 1969; Playhouse Theatre Company, 1972; Sigma, 1994); Preparing (Simon Fraser University, 1973); and Prologue, Triangle, and Crusader (Savage God—York University, 1976). Simons also generated several radio plays and film scripts on commissions from various organizations. The film scripts Ezekiel Saw a Wheel and A Question of Symmetry, both created during the early 1970s, are heavily represented in the series. Only one of Simons’ film scripts was produced during this period—The Canary, commissioned for C.B.C. T.V. (1967).
In the 1980s, Simons turned her attention to fiction. She began work on a trilogy of novels, Da Vinci’s Light, which she continued to work on until 2012. The trilogy remains incomplete; however, the series contains numerous Da Vinci’s light manuscripts, many of which contain handwritten annotations. Simons also published several short stories during this time in Vancouver-based literary magazines, including PRISM international and the best of blewointment. In the 1990s, Simons returned to writing drama, producing one new play, Now You See It, which remains unproduced.
The archivist re-arranged files in the series to conform to two identified orders: genre and literary project. Files related to specific projects (e.g. Da Vinci’s Light) were grouped physically and intellectually. Project files were then aggregated based on genre and form: long fiction, short fiction, drama, film, and research files. The most significant documentary form in the series is Simons’ writing itself: copies of publications; typed, computer-generated manuscripts, many of which are hand-annotated; project proposals; publication proofs; clippings or photocopies of published works; a recording on cassette tape of Simons reading a draft of her work; a recording on cassette tape of one of Simons’ radio productions; recordings on cassette tape of Simons interviewing various people for literary projects; and outlines and notes regarding characters, plot, and structure, some of which are taped to poster boards. The series also contains some correspondence, both handwritten and in email form, regarding Simons’ writing projects. Correspondence is between Simons and her publishers, editors, theatre companies, film producers, literary agents, awards committees, colleagues, mentees, friends, and family. The series also includes some publicity and promotional materials, such as newspaper clippings, photocopies of reviews, and posters advertising Simons’ dramatic productions. Additional collected ephemera includes clippings used for background research and a commemorative volume for the Sigma festival of 1994 at which Crabdance was produced.