£2m Revamp Complete for National Centre for Writing

The National Centre for writing relaunches in Norwich this week following a £2 million revamp for the historic Dragon Hall. It was previously known as the Writers’ Centre, Norwich but now the facility is to be a “Physical and digital space to explore the artistic and social power of creative writing, and support the creation and enjoyment of world literature” according to a spokesman interviewed by The Bookseller this week.

Parts of the historic Dragon Hall date back to 1430, meaning any renovations had to be sympathetic. The project was given the go ahead back in 2016 and was backed by a number of high profile patrons including Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, Elif Shafak, J. M Coetzee, and Sarah Perry.

Now the new centre will provide year around support and events for writers, talent development projects, schools and public events as well as opportunities for writers’ courses, commissions, partnerships and more.

The revamped organisation will continue to develop relationships with the literature sector both in the UK and internationally and will be partnered with the British Council and Arts Council England to promote UK writers and literature professionals around the world. The opening year will end with the UK’s first ever gathering of all the UNESCO cities of literature in May 2018 and will discuss how place, art and community can work together to improve conditions in cities around the world.

The launch of the new centre is this week and a number of events are taking place to celebrate including a three-day symposium featuring writers from ten different countries to discuss Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I write”

Chris Gribble CEO of NCW stated that “The need for stories has never been more critical.” Stating that “At a time when global horizons seem to be shrinking, political ambition reducing and human rights under increasing threat, we believe that sharing stories, helping stories travel and supporting writers and translators has never been more critical,” he said. “At home in the wonderfully restored and extended Dragon Hall, but alive online and across the globe, we are committed to exploring how the written word can inspire, challenge and change the world we live in, and seeing how far we can push the boundaries of writing and literary translation.”

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