The Samuel Beckett Research Centre

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Beckett at Reading

Samuel Beckett is widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

The University of Reading has been the home of the Beckett Collection since it was established in 1971 by Professor James Knowlson, Samuel Beckett's official biographer. It is now the most extensive holding of original Beckett materials in the world. This has enabled Reading to establish itself as a leading academic centre for the study of Beckett's work, and it now has a thriving and lively academic and postgraduate community. The Collection is now managed by the Beckett International Foundation, with the University of Reading acting as a trustee.

Despite his significant influence, Beckett's work is largely familiar only within academic circles and specialist sectors of public and performance art. We want to use our status to lead a renewed drive for engagement with Beckett's work, and provide a cultural resource that can be used to inspire a new generation of creative artists, and to question and confront global issues such as the environment, and forced migration.

We need you support to increase the opportunities for new forms of engagement with Beckett's work and to take it to new audiences.

Of Cultural Importance

The Beckett Collection is now recognised as being of national and international importance by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Beckett's writing highlights the power of art to nurture compassion towards our fellow human beings across linguistic and cultural boundaries, and his work continues to speak to so many of the difficulties confronting the world today. For over eighty years, his work has articulated the resilience of human beings in the face of adversity or oppression. It speaks to communities who have endured marginalisation and conflict or who have resisted censorship, such as in South Africa where Waiting for Godot, Beckett's most notable work, was performed as a critique of Apartheid.

Art often provides opposition to a culture of suspicion, hatred and suppression. In an era when arts and humanities programmes are facing huge challenges to their funding, it is important to provide new platforms for artists and researchers to pursue creative projects that can be this opposition.

Your support will ensure the legacy of a culturally important body of work as it continues to inspire new generations.

The Samuel Beckett Research Centre

To increase the opportunities for new forms of engagement with Beckett's work and to promote its relevance to broad audiences, Reading has launched the Samuel Beckett Research Centre.

The Centre aims to:


Funding Need

Your donations can help the Centre to deliver an ambitious programme of work:



Your support will:

Imagine the possibilities. Together we can make it happen.

Key project facts and stats

Much of Beckett's work was inspired by WWII, during which he was a member of the French Resistance.


Beckett won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.


Reading has been the home of the Beckett collection since 1971.

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W M Childs

Universities are living things: they feel, think and do. They are centres of intelligence; they are concerned with ideas; they have outposts upon the frontiers of knowledge; they sometimes do beautiful and remarkable things; they dream and imagine.

W M Childs

First Vice-Chancellor, 1926-29

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