UNESCO City of Literature

Norwich is an English city to gain UNESCO City of Literature status, joining an elite group of 10 cities worldwide whose literary heritage, contemporary strengths and future commitment to cultural growth through the literary arts are recognised as world leading.

Norwich has been home to many prize-winning writers including Louis de Bernieres, Angela Carter, Amit Chaudhuri, Giles Foden, Andrew Cowan, Ali Smith, George Szirtes, Rose Tremain. As Ian McEwan says "Norwich has turned itself into a world hub for literature".

National Centre for Writing
The National Centre for Writing led the successful bid for Norwich achieving UNESCO City of Literature status. Their pioneering work and collaborative projects includes events and courses as well as the opening of a National Centre for Writing in June 2018.

University of East Anglia (UEA)
The UEA was the first university to offer in Britain an MA in creative writing (1971), Ian McEwan was the first graduate of this MA course. UEA staff and graduates include a number of well-known authors and critics such as Malcolm Bradbury, Kazou Ishiguro, Emma Healey and WG (Max) Seabald. The university hosts two annual literary festivals featuring alumni and national and international writers.

11 Norwich Literary Greats

  1. Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1416) who was the first woman to be published in the English language
  2. Harriet Martineau (1802 – 1876) was born in Norwich of Huguenot descent. She was one of the world's first female journalists
  3. Anna Sewell lived in Norwich and wrote the 50 million bestseller Black Beauty (1877)
  4. Thomas Browne (1605 – 1682) was a bibliophile, scientist and naturalist and Norwich resident.
  5. Ian McEwan was the first graduate of MA Creative Writing, UEA
  6. Kazuo Ishiguro also graduated from the same programme and Norfolk appears in 'Never Let Me Go' as the county of 'lost things'
  7. Emma Healey graduated from the same course and her debut Novel Elizabeth is Missing became a Sunday Times Bestseller and won the Costa First Novel Award in 2014
  8. Eimear McBride's award-winning first novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing was finally published when Norwich publishers Galley Beggar Press recognised the genius of her writing.
  9. Writer Malcolm Bradbury, author of the campus novel, History Man founded the MA Creative Writing at UEA in 1970
  10. WG (Max) Sebald, one of Europe's greatest writers lived and worked in the city from 1969 until 2001
  11. Tom Paine (1737 – 1809), a Norfolk man wrote passionately in support of the abolition of slavery in his Rights of Man


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