Norwich, UK

UNESCO City of Literature

In May 2012, Norwich, became England's first UNESCO City of Literature.

The nomination has acknowledged the city's sensational literary past. Norwich has been a literary city for 900 years: a place of ideas where the power of words has changed lives, proclaimed parliamentary democracy, promoted revolution, and fought for the abolition of slavery. The first book written by a woman in English language came from the pen of Julian of Norwich in 1395, and it is the first city to implement the Public Library Act of 1850. Today, it remains the regional centre for publishing and home to five per cent of the UK’s independent publishing sector.


Norwich is a city of libraries as well as a breeding ground of future writers. The Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, housed in the magnificent Forum in the heart of Norwich, has been the most visited public library in the UK for the past six years. UK’s first Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia was established in Norwich in 1970, which has become a global hub of national and international literature. Graduates include three Booker Prize winners (Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, and Anne Enright).

Writers’ Centre Norwich, a literature development organisation, was also formed in 2003. It provides professional development for writers through workshops, courses, networking and competitions, reaches thousands of children through innovative schools programmes, and connects with readers through a successful summer reading campaign.

Contact: Chris Gribble (chris.gribble(at)

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