WITH THE EXCEPTION of the letters dated 8/7/1995 and 16/9/1995 which were typed, the letters transcribed in this volume were handwritten. They inevitably contain idiosyncrasies such as contractions, distinctive choices of spellings (e.g. “gaoler” rather than “jailer”), and occasional slips of the pen. In places also, the format of a letter has been complicated by Saro-Wiwa’s emendations including, for instance, notes in the white space or margins.
The editors have aimed here to transcribe what was written as it was written, or, in other words, to reproduce in typescript as accurate a version of each letter as possible. In doing so, it has sometimes been necessary to make strategic decisions to provide a clear text. For clarity, we list these decisions here. The reader should note that the Maynooth University Library is eager to facilitate any person who, for research purposes, seeks access to the original letters held in the archive.
When a note or other emendation was intended by Saro-Wiwa to be integrated into the text, we have done so. Where the appropriate place for a note is less obvious, it has been included in full in the footnotes instead.
At Majella McCarron’s request, five sentences in total have been deleted from the entire text of the letters to protect the personal information of tangential individuals. These deletions are indicated within the text by three dots inside square brackets. Since Saro-Wiwa’s own deletions (or cancellations) are frequently illegible, they are not signalled here.
Throughout the typescript, we have retained Saro-Wiwa’s contractions, underscores and choice of spelling. In the cases of contractions, we have added editorial emendations within the text to clarify their meaning. These are signalled by square brackets and include, for instance, the full spellings of names or words and the full forms of acronyms. Other authorial emendations are also signalled by square brackets.
To facilitate fluent reading, we have made a small number of silent emendations where slips of the pen resulted in the occasional misspelling of ordinary words or obvious minor errors in punctuation.