Norwich’s literati gathered for the launch of a new campaign highlighting its place as a City of Stories.
This exciting campaign is produced by Spring following a joint brief from VisitNorwich and Norwich BID. It’s now unfolding in 12 chapters over the next three months, with eclectic mix of stories from the city recounted in different formats, all of which celebrate the originality and creativity to be found in the city.
Norwich’s literary credentials are well-established – from Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love (the first book written by a woman to be published in England) to local novelist Eimear McBride who earlier this year won the £30,000 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her book A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing. Norwich was the first city to implement the Public Library Act of 1850 and more books are borrowed every year from the Millennium Library than any other in the UK. What’s more, it is the only UNESCO City of Literature in England.
Backed by extensive social media updates, City of Stories will be sharing stories old and new over the three-month campaign on line and in the real world. Residents and visitors are invited to ‘Live the Story’ by participating in live events in and around the city, while those on the trail of an original tale can visit venues around Norwich to collect drinks mats and bookmarks featuring original short fiction.
Peter Wilson, the highly popular Chief Executive of the Theatre Royal, hosted the launch event at The Library restaurant on Guildhall Hill.
“Stories are as much a defining feature of Norwich as canals are for Venice and show-songs are for some of the great American cities” said Peter, “Our fine city has generated many great stories, and has many more to tell”.
The theatre itself forms a crucial part of the focus of Chapter 1 – Through the Eye of the Beholder, detailing the story of the city’s history in the visual arts.
During the launch Henry Layte, owner of Norwich’s independent bookshop The Bookhive, shared his own story of publishing Eimear McBride’s novel. Henry has long been a champion of independent writers and booksellers and The Bookhive is hosting a number of events and activities during the week of 8th September celebrating Chapter 4 – The City Built on Books.
With readings and performances in the snug from up-and coming writers as well as seasoned novelists and published poets, and the Lacons bar, the City of Stories launch was brought to life with music from local bands Echoes in the Well and Killamonjambo.
Spring was out in force to manage the campaign launch and ensure everyone had an enjoyable evening.