Writers' Centre Norwich has been given the go ahead to develop the city's "historic" Dragon Hall, parts of which date to circa 1430, into the National Centre for Writing.
The development follows £789,434 of investment from Arts Council England.
Opening its doors in April 2018, the centre will comprise educational and community spaces, "enhanced" office space and technical facilities, a refurbished public performance arena seating up to 120 people, and residential space for visiting writers.
Chris Gribble, chief executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich, said the organisation is "delighted" with the news.
"It is a ringing endorsement of our vision to create a centre of national and international literary exchange in this city with its unparalleled literary heritage", Gribble said. "The next chapter of Dragon Hall’s history as The National Centre for Writing looks set to be an exciting one and we’re looking forward to working with our funders, partners, neighbours and the wider world of literature to create something quite unique. In 2017, we will reveal ways in which individuals and companies can get involved in supporting the project, and receive lasting recognition for that support within the very fabric of the new building.”
Hedley Swain, area director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to support Writers’ Centre Norwich in its ambitious plans for Dragon Hall, which is such an iconic building. The developments will ensure that Chris and his team can build on their great work to date, cementing Writers’ Centre Norwich’s reputation for literature excellence on a regional, national and international stage.”
Cllr Alan Waters, Leader of Norwich City Council said: “It is only fitting that England’s first UNESCO City of Literature should be home to the new National Centre for Writing. Norwich City Council is very proud to have worked with Writers’ Centre Norwich on this ambitious project and delighted that the new centre will be housed in one of our most iconic buildings.”
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Chair of the Communities Committee, Norfolk County Council, added: “The centre will provide flagship new cultural facilities and a wealth of opportunities for Norfolk as well as further strengthening its reputation as a vibrant and rich cultural destination.”
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