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HEAD EAST – Norwich UNESCO City of Literature

National Centre for Writing celebrates the tenth anniversary of Norwich becoming England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. As part of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 250 explore a weekend of creative writing workshops, stories, poetry, sound, film, walking tours, lectures, and a publishing fair



You’re in luck if you’re staying in Norwich between Friday 27 – Sunday 29 May, as there is no better time to celebrate the creativity and storytelling of the city than at the City of Literature strand of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2022. Start your summer celebrations with a programme full of interactive events, book launches, creative workshops, and late-night parties, all whilst exploring some of Norwich’s best kept secrets, such as the beautiful Plantation Gardens and the historic Dragon Hall. Get your tickets quick, as events are selling out fast! Highlights include:



A funny, inventive and heart-wrenching poetry-theatre show about exercise and anxiety. From sit ups in his bedroom…to being hungover in changing rooms… to trying to find calm through yoga with Adriene, Lewis Buxton brings an audience into his confidence, undresses his anxieties, and works through them, finding the questions, despair, and joy in exercise.

To find out more and book tickets, click here
(Norwich Arts Centre. 7.30pm. Runs 16 May)



Step inside an exact replica of an Antarctic hut and be transported to Deception Island, a tiny caldera and outpost of scientific exploration in the Antarctic Ocean. Prepare to embark on an immersive poetry, sound and film expedition like nothing you have been on before.

To find out more and book tickets click here
(Festival Gardens, Chapelfield, Norwich. Runs 25 May, 12:00 till 28 May, 21:00)


WANDERING WORDS: A walking tour of Norwich UNESCO City of Literature

Take a self-guided tour of Norwich with Wandering Words! National Centre for Writing commissioned poems from five incredible writers with connections to the city and created a literary tour. Follow the walking trail and scan the QR code at each marked location to hear an immersive audio recording of a poem, as well as sounds of the people and settings that inspired each writer’s work. All you need is your phone and a free walking map (available from the Norfolk & Norwich Festival Box Office).
Wandering Words is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing

FREE. To find out more click here. Pick-up a walking trail map from the Festival Box Office
Pop up performances SOLD OUT.
(Norwich City Centre. Runs from Fri 13 to 29 May)





Join us for a discussion of A.K. Blakemore’s ‘riveting, unsettling’ debut novel The Manningtree Witches, winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2021. Meet like-minded readers and discuss the themes, characters, and structure of this powerful work of historical fiction.

To find out more and to book tickets, click here.
(National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 18:00. Runs 27 May)



Ancestry, heritage, grief and new beginnings are explored in two brilliant debut books by UEA alumni Melissa Fu and Ayanna Lloyd Banwo. Hear them discuss the common themes of their novels and the process of weaving powerful, personal stories which span continents and generations.

To find out more and to book tickets, click here.
National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 16:00. Runs 28 May)



Meet the new stars of historical fiction, uncovering the hidden stories of our past and using them to shed light on today’s world. A. K. Blakemore and Guinevere Glasfurd explore repressive regimes and the women surviving within them, from the 17th-century witch trials of England to state censorship in Enlightenment France.

To find out more and to book tickets, click here.
(National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 18:00. Runs 28 May)



Join Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar, co-founders of ‘revolutionary’ (Telegraph) independent publisher Galley Beggar Press, for a celebration marking ten years of publishing daring, innovative works of fiction and non-fiction. Catch a glimpse behind the curtain of how small presses work and find out why Galley Beggar has taken the literary awards by storm. Then stick around for the afterparty!

To find out more and to book tickets, click here
(National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 20:00. Runs 28 May)


City of Literature – Publishing Fair

Drop in and celebrate the vibrant independent publishing culture of the East of England. Meet the publishers, browse and purchase their work and take part in a series of lightning talks throughout the day. The perfect Sunday event for writers, readers, editors, and creators of all kinds.

FREE to attend. To find out more click here.
National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 10:00 to 16:00. Runs 29 May)


Finding the Words. Poetry Workshop with Ko Ko Thett

Ko Ko Thett delivers a poetry workshop for beginner writers. Through practical exercises and group discussion you will explore how poetry can be used to discuss memory, personal experiences and the issues you feel passionately about. Bring a pen and paper and prepare to feel inspired!

To find out more and book tickets click here
(National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 10:00 to 12:00. Runs Friday 27 May)

Adventures in Fiction. Workshop with Yan Ge
Join award-winning novelist and short story writer Yan Ge for a friendly fiction workshop suitable for writers of all levels. Known for her sharply observed yet dreamlike stories that delight in the strangeness of human relationships, Yan is an expert in sharing techniques that will help you to hone your stories and surprise your readers.

To find out more and book tickets click here
(National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 10:00 & 14:00. Runs Friday 27 May)



Draw, stick and fold your own unique story book inspired by the families living in Dragon Hall 180 years ago. A workshop for children aged 5-11 years and their accompanying grownups.

To find out more and book tickets click here
(National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall. 11:00 & 14:00. Runs Sunday 29 May)

For full listings for the Norwich & Norfolk Festival 250 click here



Visit St Julian’s Church

St Julian’s Church – one of the oldest churches in Norwich – is home to the cell of Lady Julian of Norwich, the first woman to write a book in the English language. This beautiful church is open every day for prayer, quiet visits, and daily worship, and is a lovely place to honour Lady Julian and her book, The Revelations of Divine Love.


Explore independent bookshops in Norwich

Norwich is an essential destination for literature lovers, and our independent bookshops are a true reflection of this. The city is home to many wonderful bookshops, including The Book Hive (a favourite of Margaret Atwood) and the 2022 Regional Bookshop of the Year Bookbugs and Dragon Tales. Take a gentle walking tour through the city and discover the tender atmosphere, friendly staff and excellent selection of books our independent bookshops have to offer.


Visit Millennium Library

The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library is the busiest library in the country, and once you visit you will see why! With tens of thousands of books, DVDs and video games, there is something for everybody. Millennium Library has a jam-packed programme of activities, events, and groups, making it the perfect location to meet like-minded readers and writers in Norwich.


Take a stroll around the UEA campus

Take a walk around University of East Anglia and experience the campus where some of the greatest writers of today have lived and studied. UEA prides itself on being the place where literature lives, proven true by their alumni. Incredible authors such as Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Elizabeth MacNeal, and many more, have all developed their skills and gained confidence in their writing during their time studying at UEA, making it a must-visit location for all literature lovers.

For more local literary hotspots, writing trivia and bookish experiences, visit the National Centre for Writing website and their UNESCO City of Literature page.

To discover more about the City of Literature and the National Centre for Writing click here.




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