Since the inception of the Creative Writing programme, UEA has been host to numerous practising novelists, poets, dramatists and translators as lecturers, fellows, writers-in-residence, and guests of the year-round International Literary Festival. All have contributed to the wider culture of the programme, both in their practical engagement with students' writing and in the form of readings and public discussions.
In 2012 the city of Norwich was designated England's first UNESCO City of Literature, joining a worldwide network of five other cities (Edinburgh, Iowa City, Melbourne, Dublin and Reykjavik). In celebration of this event the School established two Visiting Professorships to be renewed annually and awarded to significant authors of international reputation who will contribute both to the creative writing programme and to the cultural life of the city. The inaugural professors in 2012-13 were the playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker and the novelist Ali Smith. They were followed by James Lasdun and Margaret Atwood (pictured) in 2013-14. The former New Zealand Poet Laureate Bill Manhire is the Visiting Professor in Spring 2015.
In 1991, under the auspices of the Arthur Miller Centre, the autumn Literary Festival was inaugurated with a line-up including Arthur Miller, Doris Lessing, Gore Vidal, Salman Rushdie and William Styron. The accompanying spring Literary Festival was launched in 1993, and it has remained the pattern that both these series feature a programme of hugely popular events open to the general public and headlined by authors of the stature of Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Carol Ann Duffy, Richard Ford, John Fowles, William Golding, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, Iris Murdoch, Les Murray, Harold Pinter, Salman Rushdie, Muriel Spark and Jeanette Winterson, to name but some. Many of the authors hold private, informal meetings with our MA students before going on stage.
Through the generosity of its benefactors, the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing currently hosts four writing fellowships. The annual David TK Wong Fellowship has been offered since 1998, and the Charles Pick Fellowship since 2002. Both have benefitted new and established authors such as Wendy Law-Yone, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Nam Le, Brian Chikwava and Luke Williams. Under the auspices of the Royal Literary Fund's Fellowship scheme UEA has been host since 2000 to a host to writers and translators such as Raffaella Barker, Nick Caistor, Jill Dawson, Stephen Foster, Lakshmi Holmstrom and Clive Sinclair. In 2013 the university became host to the Etisalat Fellowship, a four-month fellowship at UEA sponsored by the international telecommunications company Etisalat and awarded to the winner of the pan-African Etisalat Prize for Literature. The inaugural Fellow was Yewande Omotoso, the author of ‘Bom Boy.
Between 1972 and 2010 the university also hosted a Writing Fellowship awarded annually to a writer of established reputation and supported with funding from the Arts Council, which attracted writers as notable as Derek Mahon, David Lodge, Maggie Gee, Adam Mars Jones, Paul Muldoon and Bernadine Evaristo. In addition, various occasional Writing Fellows have been appointed by the School, including Nancy Lee as the Canadian Writing Fellow, Helon Habila as the African Writing Fellow, the Australian writers and academics Catherine Cole, Jennifer Webb and Kevin Brophy as Visiting Teaching Fellows.