Imagining the City

Imagining the City is an ongoing programme of virtual residencies and digital exchanges, fostering connections between Norwich and writers and translators from around the world, including from other cities in the UNESCO Cities of Literature network. The programme includes a wide range of commissions and events. Scroll down to find out more.

Quebec and Norwich

In 2022, Norwich and Québec, fellow Cities of Literature, offered a virtual residency exchange for writers from their respective cities. This exchange would aim to strengthen the links between these two cities and to spotlight places of literary importance. The writers selected were Megan Bradbury from Norwich and Juliette Bernatchez from Québec. Over three months, Megan and Juliette explored their UNESCO Cities of Literature, writing to each other and acting as each other’s eyes, looking at the familiar in new ways.

In the commissions below, Megan and Juliette have explored the lives of Julian of Norwich and Marie de l’Incantation, fortifications and castles, while tracing the history of these two literary cities. Our thanks go to Claire Gullander-Drolet for translating Juliette’s commissions into English from the French.

The virtual residency exchange was made possible with the support of the Québec Government Office in London and l’Entente de développement culturel entre le gouvernement du Québec et la Ville de Québec. Click here for the French webpage on the residency exchange.

Singapore

Since 2021, the National Centre for Writing has offered virtual residencies for writers and translators from Singapore.

In June 2021, the writers and translators were Jennifer Anne Champion, Nuraliah Norasid and Nazry Bahrawi.

In 2022, we welcomed three more writers from Singapore in virtual residence in Norwich. The writers were Akshita Nanda, Crispin Rodrigues and Daryl Qilin Yam. Over the six months, the Singaporean writers worked on a project with a UK-based writer as mentor.

In 2023, we were joined by writers and translators Tse Hao Guang, Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar and Sim Wai-chew.

Our 2024 writers in virtual residence are Joyce Chua, Marylyn Tan, Lisabelle Tay and Jerrold Yam.

During their residencies, our writers and translators participate in Meet the World panel discussions, appear on the Writing Life podcast and produce a number of blogs, some with their individual creative focusses, and some exploring Norwich through the virtual lens.

These residencies are generously supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

‘Tombland reminds me of an elevated alley in Hong Kong I once walked through, where a chill wind blew in the height of summer’

‘The Creepiest Walk in Norwich’ by Akshita Nanda

UNESCO Cities of Literature

In February 2021, we welcomed five writers from other UNESCO cities of literature to Norwich for a month-long virtual residency. As part of this experience, Vahni Capildeo (Edinburgh), Valur Gunnarsson (Reykjavík), Liz Breslin (Dunedin), Marcin Wilk (Kraków) and Lynn Buckle (Dublin) were commissioned to take a stroll through Norwich via the virtual lens and write about this imaginary experience.

‘Incredible things often happen to me in small bookshops, as if coming from another dimension, infused with a magic I couldn’t invent if I tried.’

‘The Tenderness of Independent Bookshops’ by Marcin Wilk