Arts Council England (ACE) is to invest £88,000 in a collaborative project between Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and aspirant City of Literature Kolkata to connect writers, translators and readers through a series of "high profile" events and publications.
Showcase events will take place in Norwich and Kolkata in India, and new publications will introduce UK audiences to "exciting" new voices in Bengali and Sylheti. In addition, a number of UK writers will be invited to explore artistic collaborations with their Indian counterparts, and a new translation mentoring programme is in the pipeline.
Chris Gribble, chief executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich, said: “This ambitious programme will see an outpouring of artistic collaboration, connect writers and transform relations between our two cities as India celebrates its 70th Anniversary of Independence in 2017. We’ll introduce new work from the Indian market to the UK and promote exchange between Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and Kolkata - a city with a dynamic and ambitious literary scene.”
The programme is grounded in the 70th anniversary celebrations of Indian Independence and aims to respond to place, literary history and the relationship between India and England today. It follows a project which saw Norwich-based writers including Vesna Goldsworthy, Patrick Barkham and Anjali Joseph spend time in Kolkata earlier this year.
Dan Rycroft, chair of UEA’s India Dialogue Group, said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the collaboration that will come about through this programme. Writers’ Centre Norwich is a well-known hub of innovation and creativity and it is exciting to know that through the Writers’ Centre there will be more interactions between Kolkata and Norwich.”
Dr Duncan Large, academic director at project partner the British Centre for Literary Translation, said: "We are delighted to be working with WCN on this project, and look forward to developing our existing collaborations with WCN and with Indian partners through an exciting new programme of literary translation activities in Norwich and Kolkata."
John Orna-Ornstein, director for ACE in the South East, said: “We’re really excited to be able to support Writers’ Centre Norwich as it raises the profile of British literature in India, and vice-versa. We look forward to seeing how this project expands opportunities for writers and literary translators in both countries, whilst also expanding audiences for Indian literature in the UK.”