The Board

The National Centre for Writing is supported and advised by a diverse board of experts drawn from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Alan Waters (Chair)

Alan Waters was elected leader of Norwich City Council in May 2015. He was first elected to the council in May 1988 and served as council leader 1993 –1998. Other positions held have included portfolio holder for finance & deputy leader.

By profession, a background in education having worked as a teacher at comprehensive schools in London, Australia, and Norfolk. Between 2004 -2017 Alan worked at the Local Government Information Unit as a policy officer and latterly as Learning & Development Manager. Currently, he is a member of the South East Board of the Arts Council; a board member of the New Anglia LEP; an executive member of the Key Cities Group where he holds the culture portfolio and represented Key Cities on the ‘Creative Cities Commission’ (2018-19). Alan has been a member of the National Centre for Writing Board for three years, taking over as Chair in 2021. Since 2018 he has been a Visiting Fellow at South Bank University and a Board member of the Journal ‘Local Economy’ (2013 -).

Prof Sarah Barrow

Sarah Barrow took up post as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Film and Media at UEA in July 2017. Prior to that, she worked at the University of Lincoln for just over seven years, as Deputy Head of the College of Arts, as a staff member of the Board of Governors and as Head of School for Film and Media. She also represented the University on the Lincoln Cultural Arts Partnership board. Before Lincoln, she led the English, Film, Communications and Media Studies department at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, which included a comprehensive languages programme as well as burgeoning undergrad and postgrad programmes in creative writing. Sarah has served several external roles, including as Board member of the Media Archives for Central England, as Chair of the Trustees of Wintercomfort for the Homeless and as a funding board member of the Cambridgeshire Film Consortium. She remains a Trustee for the English and Media Centre, a national body for literacy, and is on the Board for the Norwich Forum Trust. An active researcher and writer, her publications are mainly about Latin American cinema and culture.

Isobel Dixon

Isobel Dixon is Head of Books and a Director of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, where she represents writers from around the world, among them Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers and international prize winners. Her interests are wide-ranging and her clients’ work includes contemporary, historical and literary fiction, crime and thrillers, memoir, biography, narrative history and current affairs (often with a memoir slant). She is a Trustee of Poetry London magazine and Vice President of the Association of Authors’ Agents, where one of her key portfolios is diversity and inclusivity in publishing. She is a Frankfurt Book Fair Fellow and often gives workshops on creative writing, agenting and negotiation, and speaks on panels at literary events, to students and to writers’ groups.

Dr Chris Gribble

Chris Gribble is the Chief Executive of the National Centre for Writing based in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. After completing a PhD in German Poetry and Philosophy at the University of Manchester, Chris worked in publishing, then the cultural sector and was the Director of Manchester Poetry Festival and then Manchester Literature Festival. He is Chair of ICORN the International Cities of Refuge Network, a grouping of over 70 cities worldwide committed to protecting freedom of expression for writers and artists. He sits on the Boards of Carcanet Press and Modern Poetry in Translation and the New Anglia LEP Culture Board. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Caroline McCormick

Caroline is Chair of the Achates Philanthropy Foundation and, in 2015, founded the national campaign for the development of support for the arts, the Achates Philanthropy Prize. She led the campaign for the National Centre for Writing in Norwich and is currently lead advisor to London Film School on their redevelopment as a hub for film talent development and relocation to City Island.

In 2005, having completed the £70 million capital campaign to create the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum, Caroline become the first Director of PEN International, heading up 145 Centres in 105 countries. Taking up the role four days a week also allowed her to start working with her first consultancy client, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai.

Nina Nannar

Nina Nannar is a British Asian journalist. Raised in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, she worked on Midlands Today, Children in Need and the BBC News’s 2000 Today. She joined ITV News as its media and arts correspondent for ITV News, and now acts as a News Correspondent for the service.

James Slinger

James lives in Norwich and is a Partner in the law firm Taylor Vinters, where he specialises in the acquisition, sale and development of commercial property. James completed an LLB (Hons) degree at King’s College University of London and is also an Associate of King’s College. He trained to be a solicitor in the Midlands and then worked for a number of years at law firm Slaughter and May in London before moving to East Anglia. James is an avid reader (when time allows) and collector of post-1960s’ crime and thriller novels.

Helen Wilson

Helen has a background in broadcasting having been a producer and editor on the Today programme, the World at One and PM. After a stint in New York and Washington for the BBC she became Managing Editor Radio 4 and then Controller Radio 4. After leaving the BBC she ran an independent production company and then became Chair of Southern Norfolk Primary Care Trust for the NHS. She is currently Chair of the Norfolk Cultural Forum, and the New Anglia Cultural Board (Norfolk and Suffolk) working with the Local Enterprise Partnership. Helen is a member of the Heart Board and Chair of the Norfolk 2012 Steering Group. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Andrew Yuill

Andrew joined a family office as Chief Financial Officer at the beginning of 2009 after 18 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he served a wide variety of clients as part of audit, tax and wealth advisory teams. A Chartered Accountant by training, Andrew is also a Chartered Financial Planner.