Writers’ Centre Norwich (WCN) is to support emerging writers, translators and literature development professionals through a “major” new programme after receiving a grant from Arts Council England (ACE).
Using the International Showcasing grant, WCN will work in partnership with the British Council on a two and a half year project to help people reach international markets and to support literature organisations in their international working.
The International Literature Showcase (ILS) is intended to be “the leading opportunity to promote UK writing talent overseas”.
Chris Gribble, chief executive of WCN, said: “We are very excited about the ILS programme and our partnership with ACE and British Council and this investment will help strengthen the whole UK literature sector. We will work with 150 emerging writers and literature professionals and create over 200 opportunities for international working reaching specialised audiences of over 40,000 through a new digital showcase.
“Our work and partnership will reflect the diversity and strength of new work coming out of England, responding to real interest in the way we use literature to address social concerns and how we support emerging talent from harder to reach groups. ”
WCN piloted the International Literature Showcase in March 2015 and already 12 long-term international collaborations are planned, including Canadian-based Somali poet and rap artist Ahmed Ali working with Spread the Word and Literature Wales to share ideas around how to engage Somali communities in the UK.
The new investment will support more collaborations “enabling UK writers, and national and international writing organisations to expand and diversify their creative programme, reach new audiences and encourage thousands more to enjoy the very best in new writing”.
Cortina Butler, British Council director of literature, said: “The ILS in March 2015 showed that a carefully curated programme introducing the international literature programming community to their counterparts and writers in the UK, supported by a strategic grant from the British Council, pays dividends in connections in both the short and long term.
“We look forward to a new digital edition of the ILS in 2016, which will reach wider audiences at home and overseas, and the return of the next Norwich-based International Literature Showcase in 2017.”
Hedley Swain, area director, south east, ACE, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support Writers’ Centre Norwich to fulfil its international ambitions. Our outstanding artists and arts organisations – both in the east of England and more widely in England – are hugely important upon our influence across the world. Cultural tourism is already a significant part of our economy and our arts and culture is increasingly recognised as an important export.”