The National Centre for Writing has launched this week in sister City of Literature Norwich, following a £2m regeneration of historic Dragon Hall.
Formerly known as the Writers’ Centre Norwich, in December 2016 it was given the go-ahead to develop Dragon Hall, parts of which date back to 1430. The regeneration was able to take place following a grant of £789,434 from Arts Council England (ACE), and was backed by a number of patrons including Margaret Atwood, J M Coetzee, Sarah Perry, Elif Shafak and Ali Smith.
The Centre will provide a physical and digital space allowing for the exploration of creative writing and world literature, and will engage with a network of local, national and international partners to provide a year-round programme of activities, such as schools outreach, talent development projects and public events, as well as online courses, commissions and partnerships.
Building on its achievements as Writers’ Centre Norwich, the organisation will continue to develop relationships with the literature sector internationally. Its opening year will culminate in the UK’s first ever gathering of all the UNESCO cities of literature in May 2019 to discuss how place, art and community can work together to improve the social and economic conditions in cities around the world.
Chris Gribble, c.e.o. of the National Centre for Writing, said:
After several years in the planning, we are thrilled to celebrate this new chapter for the Writers’ Centre. Norwich has been a literary city for over 900 years: a place of ideas where the power of words has changed lives and transformed literature.
Writers’ Centre Norwich formed in 2003 as a collaboration between the University of East Anglia, Arts Council England, Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council. It explored the relationship between writers and local communities and to stimulate debate about literature and its place in society and in 2012 it successfully led the bid to have Norwich named England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, building on the city’s reputation as a centre for literary excellence.