Presented by the National Centre for Writing and Norfolk & Norwich Festival

Ellah P WakatamaHarriet Martineau Lecture

With Ellah P. Wakatama

The Harriet Martineau Lecture celebrates the legacy of a remarkable, world-changing woman by inviting globally-renowned radical speakers to respond to her life and work. This year we welcome Ellah P. Wakatama, literary critic and Editor-at-large for Canongate fiction.

Ellah’s piece, titled ‘None but Ourselves’, takes you on a personal journey of self-discovery through reading and storytelling. Beginning in secondary school in 1980, the year Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, she interweaves the works of Doris Lessing, Tsitsi Dangarembga and Toni Morrison to explore the impact that the words and ideas of women writers have had on her life.

Ellah’s lecture is accompanied by a stunning visual score from film-maker, visual artist and poet Julianknxx.

Supported by The Martineau Society.

Weather With You

Featuring Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Abir Mukherjee & Derek Owusu

Three writers reflect on the atmospheric pressure of the year they’ve just had in Weather With You – a series of written commissions and podcasts that address what it means to be a writer today, and why we write.

Derek Owusu is a writer, poet and podcaster whose debut novel, That Reminds Me, won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020. Abir Mukherjee is the bestselling author of the award-winning Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in Raj-era India. Kerri ní Dochartaigh’s debut book Thin Places is a mixture of memoir, nature writing and history set in Ireland. 



Part of Open Doors: a series of commissions and open submissions programmed by the National Centre for Writing, with support from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme.

Read Kerri’s commission

Read Derek’s commission

Read Abir’s commission

 

 

Behind Weather With You – with Abir Mukherjee & Derek Owusu

Our writers reflect on the atmospheric pressure of the year they’ve just had in Weather With You: a discussion which takes stock of our unique moment in time and expresses hope for the future.

Provenance

Featuring Ayòbámi Adébáyò

In this vivid, emotional and immersive installation acclaimed novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò tells the compelling story of twins separated by death.

Guided by a live actor, Provenance unfolds over three simultaneous screens as we follow the 120-year journey of a sacred object – the ibeji –  from its creation in Benin City, Nigeria, in 1895, its capture during the 1897 British invasion, Nigerian independence in 1960, to present-day Norwich. Discover how a seemingly anonymous museum artefact can hold the hopes and emotions of a family and even of a nation.

For the online version, the sections that were performed live are now done as voice over by the actor (Marva Alexander).

Produced by Mutiny and University of East Anglia as part of Future and Form, in conjunction with the National Centre for Writing and the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Funded by Arts Council England.

Watch Provenance online now

 

 

Behind Provenance – with Ayòbámi Adébáyò

What will writing look like in 50 years? How do you tell a story spanning continents, cultures and histories through digital means?

In this online event, celebrated novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò brings to life the story of the sacred ibeji artifact and explains the process behind her storytelling technique. She is joined in conversation by Jean McNeil, Professor of Creative Writing at UEA and award-winning writer of 14 books, including Ice Diaries and Day For Night.

Jay BernardTombland

Featuring Jay Bernard & Mwen

An immersive and unusual online experience which blurs the boundaries between words, music and place. 

At the end of 2020, Sunday Times Award-winning writer Jay Bernard and sound designer, music producer and DJ, Mwen spent a week together in the beautiful grounds of Dragon Hall – creating sounds and making up songs. A 15th-century medieval trading hall which has had many uses over time, Dragon Hall became a space for communing with the sheer weighty history present in the room. The outcome is part jam session, part sketchbook, part EP, and these fragments combine to create Tombland: an immersive soundscape plus an interactive game in which you can re-mix the sounds the artists created during that week.

Experience now

 

 

Behind Tombland – with Jay Bernard & Mwen

Join Jay and Mwen as they discuss the process behind making ‘Tombland’ in conversation with Jenny Niven, co-director of Push the Boat Out poetry festival and executive producer of Culture Summit.

Looking, Large and Small

Featuring Rowan Hisayo Buchanan & Jessica J. Lee

Explore the magic of the natural world, up close, with Looking, Large and Small: an online seasonal pack of observations, illustrations and exercises brought to you by nature writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee and novelist and illustrator Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. 

Through a series of diary-like entries with observations of the changing seasons followed by easy exercises for you to complete, this guide will have you crouching to peer at tiny mosses beneath the hedgerow and craning your neck to search forests for crown shyness. 

Looking, Large and Small is mobile- and -desktop friendly, and is suitable for readers of any age and location whatever kinds of plant- and wildlife you might find nearby. It is a four-part project with instalments released in tandem with the season.

Part of Open Doors: a series of commissions and open submissions programmed by the National Centre for Writing, with support from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme.

Explore now

 

 

Behind Looking, Large and Small – with Rowan Hisayo Buchanan & Jessica J. Lee

Join nature writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee and novelist and illustrator Rowan Hisayo Buchanan for a peek behind the hedge at the process of creating Looking, Large and Small. Register for free


Book and flowersPage Against the Machine

Saturday 29 May, 12noon BST, The Plantation Garden

Pick a book, bring a cool drink and turn off your phone for a well-deserved detox read in the beautiful surroundings of the Plantation Garden – or join in from home from the dining room window, tucked up in bed or in a deck chair in the garden!

Make sure to take a picture of your chosen book and reading spot, and share with us @WritersCentre on social media using the hashtag #CityofLit21. We’ll choose our four favourite photos to win an A3 ‘All Shall Be Well‘ print!

In partnership with The Book Hive.

Looking for books?

Purchase Festival books online and in person through The Book Hive!

We’ve teamed up with one of our favourite independent bookshops in Norwich, The Book Hive, for this year’s City of Literature Festival.

If you’ve enjoyed any of our events and are looking to read more from our fantastic writers, do visit The Book Hive website or pop in to see them on London Street to make an order! They will be happy to help by email, phone or in person.

53 London Street
Norwich
Norfolk
NR2 1HL

01603 219268
contact@thebookhive.co.uk

Visit The Book Hive website

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Header image (c) Bob Pike