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Writers’ Centre Norwich presents international writing and literature programme: The Norwich Showcase

  • Date: 2 May 2012
  • Area: South East
people on stage at literary death match

Literary Death Match at the Norwich Arts Centre. Norwich Showcase, Writing Centre Norwich, 2012. Credit: Dave Guttridge

Literature specialists from around the world gathered in venues across Norwich this spring to attend a fusion of literary events as part of an international platform for British writing and literature development.

From 9 to 13 March 2012, Writers’ Centre Norwich - one of the Arts Council England National portfolio organisations in the East, in collaboration with the British Council, put on the action-packed Norwich Showcase. The Showcase brought together some of the best writers, literature organisations and experts from countries from across the world, offering thought-provoking poetry, readings of new and historical fiction, and delegate presentations and discussions.

Daniel Hahn, National Programme Director for the British Centre for Literary Translation said, ‘One of the highlights of the programme was the ‘Translation Slam’ where two writers were given a piece of French text to convert into English.  The writers were brought together in front of a lively audience to discuss their interpretation of the text and the choices that were made in each of their translations. The session provided the audience the opportunity to ‘think about translation as something that is not mechanical but that is creative and is about choices.’

The Showcase highlighted the importance of an international platform for the development of British writing and literature. Devani Saltzman, a participant from Luminato Canada, said, ‘It is about the global conversation, and that the best work is done across borders, whether it’s through translation or multiple organisations or just sharing best practise.’

The programme featured a diverse selection of talks and events providing an open forum for discussion around hot topics of interest. Some of the highlights included, ‘Literary Death Match’ where four authors read their most electric pieces of writing to a panel of judges; the hugely popular 6x8 presentations; an eight- minute slot available for each participating delegate to talk about their focus and objectives on an open platform; and a conversation with Granta Deputy Editor Ellah Allfrey, who discussed new writing and the future evolution of Granta magazine.

The events were live- streamed on Friday 9 and Monday 12 March and provided a great sense of the positive atmosphere. Video footage of some of the fantastic readings that were performed over the five days are available on the Writers' Centre Norwich website, or people can have a read through some of the participants’ blogs.  Also people can listen to a selection of comments and insights about the event from some of the delegates in attendance.

The Norwich Showcase is aimed at promoting international partnerships and supporting collaborations between international delegates, writers and literature organisations.

On Thursday 10 May 2012 Writer's Centre Norwich announced that they had been successful in their bid to become the first UNESCO City of Literature in England.

'This is an exceptional and thoroughly merited accolade for Norwich, reflecting both the city’s literary history and its vibrant and unique literary scene. UNESCO’s endorsement will allow Norwich to consolidate its international reputation as a city of literature, and forms a cornerstone of the proposals for the new International Centre for Writing.' Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England.

The Writers’ Centre Norwich works with writers, readers and communities to provide a huge variety of networking events, festivals, workshops and courses. For more information please see: http://http://www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk//