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.
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 are joined by writers and translators Tse Hao Guang, Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar and Sim Wai-chew.
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.
Crispin Rodrigues: Five top tips to help you write authentically
Daryl Qilin Yam: Five ways to look at writing differently
Akshita Nanda: Top tips for mindful writing
Jennifer Anne Champion: On truth, discipline and expression beyond words
Nazri Bahrawi: Five tips for translating culture
Nuraliah Norasid: Writing stories set in nuanced worlds
Tse Hao Guang: Five top tips for writing for your own enjoyment
Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar: Top tips for translating picture books
Wai-chew Sim: Five tips for multilingual translation
‘Tombland reminds me of an elevated alley in Hong Kong I once walked through, where a chill wind blew in the height of summer’
Crispin Rogrigues: Connecting Colman’s Mustard with Singapore
Akshita Nanda: The Creepiest Walk in Norwich
Daryl Qilin Yam: T—
Nuraliah Norasid: A practice in descriptive writing
Jennifer Anne Champion: A virtual walk in Norwich
Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar: Exploring Norwich Museums
Wai-chew Sim: The Road Taken
Tse Hao Guang: Show the City with its Signs
Crispin Rodrigues: In the Language Slipstream
Daryl Qilin Yam: Solitude/Fortitude
Embodied in Fiction: a commission by Akshita Nanda
Jennifer Anne Champion: Stitching Stories
Becoming Extrovert: The Secret Life of Translators by Wai-chew Sim
Tse Hao Guang: My Top Five Confessions (and a Poem)
Nur-El-Hudaa Jaffar: Finding a New Audience
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.’
Valur Gunnarsson: From the City to the Shore
Liz Breslin: Nothing to See Here
Marcin Wilk: The Tenderness of Independent Bookshops
Lynn Buckle: Ailbhe’s Tale
Vahni Capildeo: Cathedral Deferred — Walking From the Train Station
Valur Gunnarsson: Walking Between Worlds on Earlham Road
Liz Breslin: Use Caution Walking Directions May Not Always Reflect Real-World Conditions