The National Centre for Writing is supported and advised by a diverse board of experts drawn from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Alan Waters (Chair)
Alan Waters served as Leader of Norwich City Council between 2015 and 2023. He was first elected to the council in May 1988 and served as council leader 1993–1998. Other positions held have included portfolio holder for finance & deputy leader.
By profession, a background in education having worked as a teacher at comprehensive schools in London, Australia, and Norfolk. Between 2004-2017 Alan worked at the Local Government Information Unit as a policy officer and latterly as Learning & Development Manager. Currently, he is a member of the South East Board of the Arts Council; a board member of the New Anglia LEP; an executive member of the Key Cities Group where he holds the culture portfolio and represented Key Cities on the ‘Creative Cities Commission’ (2018-19). Alan has been a member of the National Centre for Writing Board for three years, taking over as Chair in 2021. Since 2018 he has been a Visiting Fellow at South Bank University and a Board member of the Journal ‘Local Economy’ (2013 -).
Prof Sarah Barrow
Sarah Barrow took up post as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Film and Media at UEA in July 2017. Prior to that, she worked at the University of Lincoln for just over seven years, as Deputy Head of the College of Arts, as a staff member of the Board of Governors and as Head of School for Film and Media. She also represented the University on the Lincoln Cultural Arts Partnership board. Before Lincoln, she led the English, Film, Communications and Media Studies department at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, which included a comprehensive languages programme as well as burgeoning undergrad and postgrad programmes in creative writing. Sarah has served several external roles, including as Board member of the Media Archives for Central England, as Chair of the Trustees of Wintercomfort for the Homeless and as a funding board member of the Cambridgeshire Film Consortium. She remains a Trustee for the English and Media Centre, a national body for literacy, and is on the Board for the Norwich Forum Trust. An active researcher and writer, her publications are mainly about Latin American cinema and culture.
Isobel Dixon is Head of Books and a Director of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, where she represents writers from around the world, among them Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers and international prize winners. Her interests are wide-ranging and her clients’ work includes contemporary, historical and literary fiction, crime and thrillers, memoir, biography, narrative history and current affairs (often with a memoir slant). She is a Trustee of Poetry London magazine and Vice President of the Association of Authors’ Agents, where one of her key portfolios is diversity and inclusivity in publishing. She is a Frankfurt Book Fair Fellow and often gives workshops on creative writing, agenting and negotiation, and speaks on panels at literary events, to students and to writers’ groups.
Anni Domingo is an actress, director and writer. She is currently a lecturer in Drama and Directing at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham and Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. Anni’s poems and short stories have been published in various anthologies and an extract from Breaking the Maafa Chain won the Myriad Editions First Novel competition and was featured in the New Daughters of Africa anthology edited by Margaret Busby.
Dr Chris Gribble
Chris Gribble is NCW’s CEO and in charge of the overall strategic direction of the organisation and its artistic, social and place-making impact. He was Chair of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) 2016-23 and sits on the board of Carcanet Press and both the Norfolk and Suffolk Culture Board. He has a PhD in German poetry and philosophy from Manchester University, swims enthusiastically, runs slowly and reads constantly.
Cath is Executive Housing Director at Broadland Housing Association. She has worked in the social housing sector since 2006, developing a strong culture of involving residents and providing high-quality services. Catherine has supported a number of tenant-led national initiatives, including See the Person which aims to tackle negative stereotypes all too often seen about people who live in social housing.
Previously, Catherine worked in the non-profit sector in school and adult education, urban design and community safety. She was a founding Board member of Oxford Credit Union and a former Board member of Oxfordshire Community Land Trust.
Caroline is Chair of the Achates Philanthropy Foundation and, in 2015, founded the national campaign for the development of support for the arts, the Achates Philanthropy Prize. She led the campaign for the National Centre for Writing in Norwich and is currently lead advisor to London Film School on their redevelopment as a hub for film talent development and relocation to City Island.
In 2005, having completed the £70 million capital campaign to create the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum, Caroline became the first Director of PEN International, heading up 145 Centres in 105 countries. Taking up the role four days a week also allowed her to start working with her first consultancy client, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai.
Jarred McGinnis was chosen by the Guardian as one of the UK’s ten best emerging writers. His debut novel The Coward was selected for BBC 2’s Between the Covers, BBC Radio 2’s Book Club and listed for the Barbellion Prize.
He is the co-founder of The Special Relationship, which was chosen for the British Council’s International Literature Showcase. He was the creative director for Moby-Dick Unabridged, a four-day immersive multimedia reading of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick at the Southbank Centre, involving hundreds of participants.
His short fiction has been commissioned for BBC Radio 4 and appeared in respected journals in the UK, Canada, USA and Ireland. He is or has been an Associate Writer for Spread the Word, a mentor for the Word Factory, a fellow of the London Library’s T S Eliot Emerging Writer Programme and a Writer-in-Residence for First Story. He also has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.
Nina Nannar is a British Asian journalist. Raised in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, she worked on Midlands Today, Children in Need and the BBC News’s 2000 Today. She joined ITV News as its media and arts correspondent for ITV News, and now acts as a News Correspondent for the service.
James lives in Norwich and is a Partner in the law firm Taylor Vinters, where he specialises in the acquisition, sale and development of commercial property. James completed an LLB (Hons) degree at King’s College University of London and is also an Associate of King’s College. He trained to be a solicitor in the Midlands and then worked for a number of years at law firm Slaughter and May in London before moving to East Anglia. James is an avid reader (when time allows) and collector of post-1960s’ crime and thriller novels.
Helen has a background in broadcasting having been a producer and editor on the Today programme, the World at One and PM. After a stint in New York and Washington for the BBC she became Managing Editor Radio 4 and then Controller Radio 4. After leaving the BBC she ran an independent production company and then became Chair of Southern Norfolk Primary Care Trust for the NHS. She is currently Chair of the Norfolk Cultural Forum, and the New Anglia Cultural Board (Norfolk and Suffolk) working with the Local Enterprise Partnership. Helen is a member of the Heart Board and Chair of the Norfolk 2012 Steering Group. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.
Andrew trained as a Chartered Accountant with PwC, where he served a wide variety of clients as part of audit, tax and wealth advisory teams. After 18 years with PwC, Andrew was CFO at a global single family office and, most recently, Strategic Asset Management Director at Flagship Group, an East Anglian housing association. A seasoned charity trustee, Andrew is also a Chartered Financial Planner and tries to find time to read, cycle the lanes of Norfolk and attend his local church.