Joe Webb is Norfolk’s first Young Norfolk Laureate, a title that sees him undertaking an ambassadorial role for young writers across the region in 2017 – 2018. Below, he reports back on a meeting with his first professional mentor, Thetford-based artist Franko Fraize.

Over the course of my one-year laureateship – that’s somehow actually a thing, and somehow a thing that’s happening to me – I’m blessed to be given three mentoring sessions with professional writers, the first of which was with Thetford rapper Franko Fraize. We cosied up at Café Marzano last Sunday, along with Freya from Writers’ Centre Norwich, and basically talked about the entire human philosophy and life itself.

This is no exaggeration – and I think we were both a little stunned when we looked at our watches and realised that our ‘5-minutes-until-we-grab-a-coffee’ initial greeting had lasted an hour and a half. I always thought the worst case scenario would’ve been a flimsy meet & greet, conversation handcuffed by uncomfortable small talk – and instead, I got one of those conversations that you realise a day or two afterwards how much you needed it, and one that you wish you could have again. And for me, this happened with a real-life writer who has really made it – not too shabby considering we’d never previously met.

What I really liked about Franko is how outgoing and open-minded he is, and his enthusiasm for his work. We spoke each other’s language; it’s particularly motivating hearing someone as experienced as he is sharing my view that the best writing is the most genuine and most honest to the writer.

It’s even more motivating walking away from the session and feeling like Franko actually gives a shit about how I’m getting on – and vice versa. We’ve agreed to keep in touch (I’ll be grabbing a drink with him at a gig in the next few weeks) and I can’t wait to see what his next move is.