World Book Day: What links these famous authors to Norfolk?

Anna Sewell, Virginia Woolf and Philip Pullman. (l-r)

Anna Sewell, Virginia Woolf and Philip Pullman. (l-r) - Credit: Archant

To celebrate World Book Day, we take a look at eight of the best authors and novels with connections to Norfolk. How many of these Norfolk links do you know about?

Over the years, Norfolk has produced some incredibly talented writers and been a source of inspiration for some brilliant novels.

Norwich in particular is extremely rich in literary history, with the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love, being written by Julian of Norwich, an anchoress and important Christian mystic in 1395.

More recently, Norwich was named as England's first UNESCO City of Literature, and the University of East Anglia has become well known for training and educating some of the finest writers of our generation. Below are some of the greatest books and authors to have been associated with the beloved county.

•Emma, Jane Austen

'You should have gone to Cromer my dear, if you went anywhere. Perry was a week at Cromer once, and he holds it to be the best of all the sea-bathing places.'

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First published in 1815, Austen's famous novel makes mention of one of North Norfolk's best coastal towns when Emma's father, Mr Woodhouse advises his daughter on sea-bathing in chapter 12.

•Black Beauty, Anna Sewell

Known best for her 1877 classic, novelist Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth in 1820 and moved to Old Catton in the 1870s where she wrote Black Beauty between 1871 and 1877.

•The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited Norfolk on several occasions, but it is one visit in particular that stands out. In 1901 he took a trip to Cromer Hall which is believed to have been the inspiration for Baskerville Hall in his famous Sherlock Holmes novel. The Black Shuck inspired the Hound of the Baskervilles. He visited Norfolk for a golfing holiday.

•Virginia Woolf

In the summer of 1906, Virginia Woolf, perhaps best known for her 1925 novel Mrs Dalloway, came to stay at Blo Norton Hall which subsequently provided the setting for her short story The Journal of Mistress Joan Martyn.

•W H Auden

Auden, a writer best known for love poems such as 'Funeral Blues' was educated at Gresham's School near Holt. He described his time at Gresham's in an essay entitled The Old School (1934) 'No dogs barked in the street below, the churchyard where they dug his grave, the day wore nothing strange to show, the earth took back the dust she gave, and the cuckoos they were calling still when had left him in the hill.'

•The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie - whose novels have sold over two billion copies (an amount only surpassed by the Bible and works of William Shakespeare) - spent time in North Walsham, in a house that is now the Beechwood Hotel.

•Northern Lights, Philip Pullman

Born and bred in Norwich, Philip Pullman is a best selling author whose notable work includes the fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials. The first book in the series, Northern Lights (1995) follows young Lyra Belacqua as she journeys to the Arctic in search of her missing friend and imprisoned uncle.

•Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

'One day I'll go to Norfolk and I'll find it there for her.'

Ishiguro obtained a Master's Degree in Creative writing from the UEA in 1980 and since then he has gone on to publish seven novels including Never Let Me Go in 2005.

The dystopian novel, shortlisted for a Booker Prize, follows protagonist Kathy and her two friends Ruth and Tommy through their childhood and into adulthood as they come to terms with their unusual purpose in life.

The book's setting changes constantly, but Kathy notably makes two important visits to Norfolk, the 'lost corner' of England, a place where the characters idealistically believe that anything lost will turn up.

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