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National Centre for Writing announces new projects at first anniversary celebration

PUBLISHED: 09:44 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 08 November 2019

Dragon Hall during The First Chapter event. Picture: Hannah Hutchins

Dragon Hall during The First Chapter event. Picture: Hannah Hutchins

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This week the National Centre for Writing (NCW) based in Dragon Hall, Norwich, celebrated its opening year with a special anniversary event.

Chris Gribble, CEO at NCW. Picture: Hannah HutchinsChris Gribble, CEO at NCW. Picture: Hannah Hutchins

Guests from cultural organisations, local schools and libraries joined writers and readers for a literary celebration of reading, writing and books in the city centre this week, as the National Centre for Writing (NCW) marked its first anniversary at an event called The First Chapter.

As part of the celebrations, poet and performer Molly Naylor read a specially commissioned poem called City of Stories, a nod to the citywide project which celebrates Norwich's rich literary heritage and status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

The National Centre for Writing, formerly Writers' Centre Norwich, was created in the early 2000s and since then, it has expanded from a team of three to a team of 15. In that time, it has gained new premises at the city's historic Dragon Hall and worked with an ever-expanding network of writers, translators and industry professionals. Booker Prize winning author Margaret Atwood is a patron.

"We are delighted to celebrate our first year as the National Centre for Writing," said chief executive Chris Gribble. "We are particularly proud that we have worked with 4,400 children and young people across Norfolk during the last year to inspire a life-long love of books and ideas.

"We've developed over 460 workshops to aspiring writers and held over 100 free events in the wonderfully restored and extended Dragon Hall - which has been a home for stories and exchange in our city for over 500 years.

Children from five Norwich schools worked with NCW to create an anthology of their own stories over several weeks of workshops. Picture: Thom LawChildren from five Norwich schools worked with NCW to create an anthology of their own stories over several weeks of workshops. Picture: Thom Law

"Huge thanks as always to our founding partners and core supporters: Arts Council England, Norwich City Council and the University of East Anglia."

As part of the evening, guests watched a short film looking at Engage, a project which took place earlier this year and saw 15 pupils from 10 schools across Norfolk create their own literature festival. Several of the young people featured in the film also attended the celebration, where a number of new initiatives and projects were announced.

These included Collaboration: Place: Change, aimed at supporting cultural leaders across Norfolk and Suffolk who want to develop a career in the region, and Lit From the Inside, a free new programme for 14-17 year olds which will offer them the chance to interview writers, present shows for the National Centre for Writing podcast, write blog posts and review events. It will also give them the chance to work towards their Bronze Arts Award, a national initiative backed by Arts Council England.

In addition, the National Centre for Writing will offer a new programme to put on writing events in rural pubs across the country, launch three major literary awards and continue its work with both new and established writers from the UK and abroad.

To find out more about the National Centre for Writing, visit www.nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk

Guests from the 28 UNESCO Cities of Literature each donate a picture book to the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library during our Nottwich event in May 2019. Picture: Hannah HutchinsGuests from the 28 UNESCO Cities of Literature each donate a picture book to the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library during our Nottwich event in May 2019. Picture: Hannah Hutchins

Norfolk pupils from ten schools who worked with National Centre for Writing to put on a festival in a day. Engage! was supported by the European Union Creative Europe Fund and supported by Pen Catala. Picture: Taryn EverdeenNorfolk pupils from ten schools who worked with National Centre for Writing to put on a festival in a day. Engage! was supported by the European Union Creative Europe Fund and supported by Pen Catala. Picture: Taryn Everdeen

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