Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Daljit in Action

We thought we'd put up another few pictures of Daljit getting into the swing of things at Dereham Library yesterday.

The audience was demanding, engaged and very interested in all that Daljit had to say. They had read the books in advance, had a lot of questions to ask, and were fascinated by the process of poetry as well as the poems themselves.

It was a wonderful reading and many thanks to Dereham Library, Sarah and Creative Arts East for the organizational wizardry and Daljit and the young people too!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Welborne Festival

We had a wonderful afternoon at the Welborne Arts Festival on Sunday, and Daljt read to an enthusiastic audience and then took questions. The appearance lasted over an hour and many books were bought too.

Sarah and Daljit took a look around the rest of the exhibits and events too - and are seen here listening to Dulcimer music in the small-but-beautiful Welborne Church. Thanks to Mike and his team for organizing a great day.

And here's another picture of Daljit while we were waiting for the audience to be called by the Village Crier from the temptations of the cakes and tea room. (We had the best-cake-ever-at-a-literary-event™ too.)

Daljit then went on to read at Dereham and Diss Libraries on Monday. There were audiences of 35 and 25 respectively for another two lively sessions of readings and questions.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Xiaolu Guo in King's Lynn

The first of the reading group events for Norfolk Reads and Writes took place in King's Lynn on Friday at the Gaywood Library.

Xiaolu read to members of several reading groups in the North Norfolk area and then answered questions and talked for nearly an hour.

There were a lot of questions about the novel's writing style and how Xiaolu had managed to exert such phenomenal control over the language while being a learner herself. She talked also about the differences she has experienced as a novelist in China and the UK, how her long training as a film maker has contributed to her writing career, and how she initially turned down offers to translate the novel back in to Chinese, but had finally given in after realizing that whatever the result of the translation, she would still have 'her' book - the original!

It was a fantastic event and we're looking to welcome Xiaolu back to Norwich for a joint reading with Daljit Nagra on the 23rd June at the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library.

Readers of the book, whether book group members or not, are very welcome to turn up at 4pm for this reading, and if you would like to post questions to Xiaolu in advance, simply leave a comment below and we will make sure she gets your queries!

(Thanks again to Gaywood Library for being such great hosts!)

Monday, 21 May 2007

Starting them young!

Norfolk Reads and Writes starting developing audiences of the future this weekend with a day of magnificent story telling in a yurt in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral as part of the brilliant Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2007.

We had stories from
Daniel Morden, Hugh Lupton, Shamshad Khan and Pete Kalu. Each of them offered something different: Celtic myths, Norfolk folk tales, poems from Pakistan and Blackburn, African legends and much else besides.

Shamshad Khan
From 10 in the morning until 5.30 in the evening, we had a succession of eager listeners (with their equally eager grown ups in tow) come into the magical yurt - decorated inside and out - for half hour sessions that took them around the world while they enjoyed the spectacle in the heart of Norwich.

Pete Kalu

It was a fantastic way of introducing young readers of the future to the power of stories from across the globe.

We also played the audiences in and out of the yurt with fantastic Klesma music - to make the experience something to remember!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Norfolk Reads & Writes Workshops

Norfolk Reads and Writes offers a wide range of workshops. Are you just beginning to write and feel like you would benefit from some tips on the basics of fiction or memoir writing? Are you an experienced writer who would like to learn more about handling difficult material? Have you an interest in the challenges and joys of translation? Read on for details, but sign up fast, as places are limited.

Monday 25 June, 4.00–6.00pm
Workshop 1: What’s Your Story?

Join best-selling memoirist and top tutor Vesna Goldsworthy ( for a two-hour workshop that will help you to shape your story into the beginnings of a successful memoir. If there’s a strong story in your family, this workshop will give you the tools to shape it into a form that others will enjoy.
Price £7. Suitable for all levels.

Workshop 2: Voices of Exile (‘Stimmen des Exils’)

Writer, poet and translator Michael Augustin presents original audio recordings of exiles including Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin and Erich Fried reading their work in the original German. The workshop will develop joint translations of the poems read and discuss the art and craft of translation. In association with the British Centre for Literary Translation. Good German language skills required. Advanced Level.

Tuesday 26 June 4.00–6.00pm
Workshop 3: Real Life and Story Telling

Join novelist Brian Chikwava to explore how the drama of everyday life is a key part of our urge to tell stories. This workshop will explore identity, belonging and the drama of stories for those who are just getting going and want some handy tips to help on the journey!
Price: £7. Suitable for all levels.

Workshop 4: Are your parents a sonnet?

Daljit Nagra, Faber’s new young gun, explores the comedy, tragedy and everyday life within poetry. Are your parents a sonnet? Is your school a limerick? Designed for those secret and not-so-secret aspiring poets out there, this is a free workshop for young people between the ages of 11 and 16. FREE.

Wednesday 27th June 4–6pm
Workshop 5: Crossing Borders

The novelist and prize-winning translator Maureen Freely explores how to cross borders (national, cultural, psychological) in one’s writing without making the extraordinary exotic: how to be a traveller and not a tourist! For experienced writers who would benefit from working with one of the country’s leading translator/writers.
Price: £7. Advanced Level.

Workshop 6: Jump in and Start Writing!

Lawrence Bradby, Norfolk writer and artist, leads a final workshop for young writers who want to jump in the word pool and start writing. Bring nothing but your inspiration (and perhaps a small pencil) and Lawrence will have you dashing off poems by the yard. This is a free workshop for young people between the ages of 8 and 12. FREE.

Workshops places are limited to 15 people – so be sure to book your place soon!

To Book call 01603 877 177 or email

All workshops are taking place at The Garage, Theatre Street, Norwich.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Hisham Matar wins RSL Ondaatje Prize

Hisham Matar has won the fourth Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, worth £10,000, with In the Country of Men. It was presented on Monday at a dinner at the Travellers' Club in Pal Mall. The novel was praised by judge Ruth Padel for its "exact and imaginative prose".

Hisham celebrated with a cigarette and said: "As soon as you are aware of the result, the work is dead. Writing is the work of a servant." He went on to thank his editor Mary Mount, and his agent Kevin Conroy Scott of A P Watt. Read the short article in Publishing News.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

More About Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra is making a real name for himself in the world of poetry. Read The Bard of Dollis Hill - a feature about him in The Guardian from earlier this year and see The Independent's review of Look We Have Coming to Dover!, as well as another rave review in Tower Poetry, both of which should inspire you to get the book.

Time Out reckons that he (along with Xiaolu Guo) is one of London's Hottest New Writers.

Oh, and apparently, Hilda Ogden is his Muse!

More About Xiaolo Guo

Xiaolu Guo has a real buzz about her at the moment. Being on the shortlist for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction certainly gets you noticed! Check out this article in The Independent and another in The Times.

The Scotsman has a really fascinating interview in a feature called Fractured English, unbroked spirit in which you can find out more about Xiaolu's upbringing. She is also being hailed (along with Daljit Nagra) as one of London's Hottest New Writers by Time Out magazine.
And, of course, there's Xiaolo's own website:

Friday, 27 April 2007

More About Hisham Matar

Hisham Matar is famous for his novel In The Country of Men being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, but what do we know about his background and what has inspired him? Click here to read a fascinating article in The Guardian called 'Love, loss and all points in between'.

You can also read an extract from the novel here.

Hisham is also a Translator; check out the Words Without Borders website to find out more about his translations of the work of Mohammed Al-Asfar.

What have the critics said of Hisham's debut novel? Have a look at to find out what people made of the book, from The Daily Telegraph to the Boston Globe!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Daljit Nagra at the Welborne Festival

As part of Norfolk Reads and Writes, Daljit Nagra will be reading at the Welborne Arts Festival 2007 on Sunday 17th of June. It is a two day arts and literature festival in the beautiful village of Welborne in Norfolk that will comprise of music, performance, readings and book signings as well as film.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Norfolk Reads and Writes: June 2007

Norfolk Reads & Writes is a fabulous two-month celebration of international writing for the readers and writers of Norfolk.

Are you in a reading group? Do you enjoy books? Have you ever wanted to meet the author of the book you’ve just read and ask questions fresh in your mind?

Xiaolu Guo, Hisham Matar and Daljit Nagra will be reading and meeting readers in Norfolk in May and June. Come along to the event nearest you, or join us in June when all three writers will be reading over the weekend of 23-24 June in the centre of Norwich.

Xiaolu Guo

Date: 1 June 2007
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Gaywood Library, King’s Lynn
Contact: 01553 768498

Hisham Matar

Date: 26 June 2007
Time: 3.00pm
Venue: Great Yarmouth Library
Contact: 01493 844551/842279

Daljit Nagra

Date: 18 June 2007
Time: 12.30pm
Venue: Dereham Library
Contact: 01362 693184

Date: 18 June 2007-04-20
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Diss Library
Contact: 01379 642609

Join The New Writing Partnership during New Writing Worlds 2007 on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 June to hear the authors read in the hear of Norwich as part of a gathering of writers from the UK and around the world.

Xiaolu Guo and Daljit Nagra

Date: Saturday 23 June
Time: 4.00pm
Venue: Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library
Cost: Entry is free.

Hisham Matar
Date: Sunday 24 June as part of An Afternoon of World Literature
Time: 5.15pm
Venue: The Bishop’s Garden, St Martin’s at Palace Plain, Norwich Cathedral
Cost: £2.50 (includes free entry to the Afternoon of World Literature event)
Norfolk Reads & Writes Author is on Orange List

Xiaolu Guo is on the shortlist for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Her fantastic new novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, is competing against work by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Kiran Desai, Rachel Cusk, Jane Harris and Anne Tyler. You can read Orange's press release here.

You can catch these shortlisted writers at 7.45pm on Tuesday 5 June 2007 at the Purcell Room at the South Bank Centre. The award ceremony happens the following day, Wednesday 6 June 2007. The all-female judging panel comprises: Muriel Gray (chair), Kathryn Hughes, Maya Jaggi, Marian Keyes and Kate Saunders. May the best woman win!

Norfolk Reads and Writes Launches!

Books Away!

BBC Look East’s Kim Riley launches
‘Norfolk Reads and Writes’

BBC Look East Chief Reporter Kim Riley set free hundreds of books into the hands of avid reading groups across the county from the steps of the Forum this week. For the launch of Norfolk Reads and Writes, a two month celebration of international literature for the readers and writers of Norfolk, he was joined by Jan Holden, Principle Librarian of the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library and Chris Gribble, Chief Exec of The New Writing Partnership.

Norfolk Reads and Writes will enable readers to meet new and exciting authors, ask the questions they might never otherwise get an answer to and swap thoughts with readers from all over Norfolk.

Copies of three current prize winning books by exciting young authors will be made available free through the Norfolk Library and Information Service to reading groups in King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Diss, Welborne and Norwich. The authors will visit the reading groups in June to discuss what the readers liked (and perhaps didn’t like!) about the books and will return to Norwich as part of
New Writing Worlds 2007 to give public readings in the Millennium Library and the Bishop’s Garden.

Those who fancy getting involved in some creative writing of their own will be able to take part in a range of workshops between Monday 25th and Wednesday 27th June at The Garage in Norwich. Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand, if you’ve got a story to tell, there will be a workshop for you!

If reading groups or individual book lovers want to get involved, contact Sarah Bower at
sarahbower @ or call 01603 713390.

Chris Gribble, Chief Executive of The New Writing Partnership, said, “This is a really great chance for reading groups and readers across this book mad county to share an experience, read some great books and get to quiz the authors at their leisure! The readings are free, and if people get inspired and want to have a go at writing themselves, the workshops are the perfect place to start.”

Norfolk Reads and Writes is run by The New Writing Partnership in association with Creative Arts East and Norfolk Library and Information Service. It is supported by the Foyle Foundation.

Authors and Books

Guo, author of Orange Broadband shortlisted novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers will visit Gaywood Library in King’s Lynn on 1 June and Norwich Millennium Library on Saturday 23 June.

Hisham Matar, author of Commonwealth First Novel Prize winning In the Country of Men will read in the Bishop’s Garden, Norwich Cathedral on Sunday 24 June and at Great Yarmouth Library on Tuesday 26 June.

Daljit Nagra, prize-winning poet and author of Look We Have Coming to Dover! will read at the Welborne Festival on Sunday 17 June, will visit Diss and Dereham Libraries on Monday 18 June and will read at the Millennium Library on Saturday 23 June.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Norfolk Reads and Writes

Norfolk Reads and Writes is a two month celebration of international literature for readers and writers in Norfolk and the East of England. We will be bringing some of the most exciting writers to the region to meet reading groups and writer's groups (as well as making their books available free of charge for reading groups through the Norfolk Library and Information Service and Creative Arts East). There will be subsidised and free workshops for writers of all ages. There will be readings at Norwich Cathedral and at venues around the city and in the county.

We will be announcing the full programme very shortly. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for Norfolk Reads and Writes, please visit the website of the New Writing Partnership and sign up on the home page. We will be sure to let you know what is happening!