National Centre for Writing is a contemporary literature house in the heart of England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, committed to the transformative power of stories for personal, social and community development.
Rooted in Norwich and open to the world, we’re a writing development agency with a local, national and international footprint.
Our year-round programme offers opportunities to connect, learn and be inspired through innovative collaborations, events, festivals, residencies and activities for writers, literary translators and readers. From in person and online events at our Literature House to digital explorations and commissions in The Writing Hub, and in projects that support new voices and new stories, we help create ways to respond to the rapidly changing world of writing.
As a charity our work also expands into communities across Norwich and Norfolk, with children, young people, families and older people, encouraging them to use writing and creative ideas to tell their stories of the past and create their futures.
Our mission and values
Our mission is:
To be a resilient, internationally networked creative house and hub for literature, celebrating our stories past and nurturing our literary futures.
As an organisation we are:
The National Centre for Writing is rooted in Norwich and open to the world. A contemporary literature house in Dragon Hall, a 15th century medieval trading hall, today we exchange stories and perspectives under the same vaulted beams and in the shadow of those who traded textiles and spices in 1430.
We nurture the writers of tomorrow today, through a range of programmes and projects, to ensure a multiplicity of people and voices, regardless of background, can pursue their love of words in a professional or personal context over the course of their lives.
We celebrate Norwich as a UNESCO City of Literature and a City of Stories for 900 years, working with partners to build on what makes our city a special place for literature to ensure a future literary heritage that is as bright and bold as our past.
We open the doors wide to the communities and partners around us, to those who live, work and study in the city, a hub and engine for people to meet and collaborate and create.
A greener organisation
NCW is committed to reducing our environmental impact, increasing our sustainability, and creating a forum for discussion to bring environmental concerns and the climate crisis conversation to a wider public.
We monitor our carbon footprint through Arts Council England’s Julie’s Bicycle platform, and the Investment Principles framework. We report annually on both to our board, via the work of our Greener Organisation Group.
We are currently working to improve our environmental performance, to ensure that our monitoring procedures are robust, and to undergo an appropriate accreditation. Click to read more about our actions to date.
The National Centre for Writing launched in summer 2018 but the organisation has a much longer history dating back to the early 2000s. Beginning as a small, regional start-up of three staff called New Writing Partnership, we moved through an extraordinary period of evolution which saw us develop into Writers’ Centre Norwich, the literature development agency for the East of England, and then National Centre for Writing in 2018.
In 2012 we led the successful bid for the city to be recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature, the first in England. This status acknowledges the city’s rich literary heritage and the continuing creative drive of its people.
In 2015 we moved into our home at Dragon Hall in Norwich, a medieval merchant’s hall that contains tales of witches, 15th-century commerce and river trading and has been, at times, 19th-century housing for over 150 people, a butcher and a pub.
Extensive renovation and the construction of a new south wing began in 2017, converting the site into the National Centre for Writing, where we are able to provide workshops for schools, residencies for visiting writers and translators and host literature events in the Great Hall.
Now home to a team of eighteen and an ever-expanding network of writers, translators and industry professionals, the National Centre for Writing continues to be a driving force in the literary sector.
We provide a space where established and emerging writers and translators are supported and nurtured, where the best in world literature is made easily accessible to audiences and readers, and where local communities benefit from spaces to meet, exchange ideas and stories, and try their hand at something new.