The NCW is very pleased to announce its first two Associate Artists: poet and theatre-maker Hannah Jane Walker and writer, publisher and producer Tom Chivers.

Supported by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence funds, four Associate Artists will be appointed over a three-year period and each will be supported to create new work, explore collaborations, be in residence at the National Centre for Writing and work with its audience and communities.

Hannah and Tom will each receive a package of support that includes time-to-write funds, commission fees and residency time to the value of £10,000 to develop a new literary project. The associateship includes performance opportunities and a residency at the NCW campus at Dragon Hall in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.

Tom, director of the award-winning literary arts company Penned in the Margins, will write a new play set during the British Civil Wars. He says the play will “disturb the complex network of ideas around nationhood, and question who owns the history and myths of this land”. He will work in collaboration with director Russell Bender.

Hannah’s piece will question our innate trust in extroverted speakers and who we choose to put in positions of authority. It will examine whose voices we will need to listen to navigate an uncertain future in a period of huge change. Walker says: “This opportunity allows me to scale up my ambition and create my first solo stage show to premiere in May 2019. I feel supported, inspired and encouraged.”

“I feel supported, inspired and encouraged.”

Chris Gribble, Chief Executive at NCW says: “We’re delighted to open our Associate Artist scheme with Hannah and Tom, both artists, producers and writers whose work we love and admire. They are also people who give a lot back to many communities of writers, performers and makers in their own right and the Associate Artist scheme is designed in part to enable the National Centre for Writing to explore how we ourselves can best support writers and artists and communities to make and create outstanding work. We’re so pleased that Hannah and Tom will be helping us start that process.”

Passa Porta residency

In addition, we are pleased to announce a new writers’ residency exchange in collaboration with Passa Porta and the Flemish Literature Fund. In April 2019 Flemish writer Kathleen Vereecken will spend a month at the NCW and later in the year, UK writer Katie Hale will head to Brussels for a residency with Passa Porta.

Verecken, who is writing a book on Margareta, the sister of 15th-century painters Hubert and Jan Van Eyck, says: “I couldn’t dream of a better environment to work in than the 15th century Dragon Hall where history is still alive. I was born with a strange longing for people and times I have never known.”

Hale is writing a collection of poetry exploring the ways in which our identity is shaped by those who come before us. She says: “The poems particularly examine different aspects of cultural heritage, the parts we celebrate alongside what we choose to forget.”

Kate Griffin, Associate Programme Director, NCW says: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Passa Porta on this residency exchange, offering two very talented writers the important gift of time to write, in two different but equally inspiring cities.”