The UNESCO City of Literature Visiting Professorships are named in celebration of Norwich becoming England's first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012.

This accolade is granted to cities with an outstanding literary heritage and a vibrant contemporary writing, reading, translation and publishing scene. The intention of the Professorship is to appoint significant authors of international reputation who will contribute both to our Creative Writing programme and to the public-facing activities organised by our partner organisation the National Centre for Writing. It was the Centre for Writing (as Writers’ Centre Norwich) that led the city's successful bid for UNESCO accreditation.

On each appointment, the nature of the Visiting Professors' contribution will be shaped to reflect their particular interests and expertise. The primary aim is to enhance our students' experience while raising the profile of Norwich as a City of Literature. Each of our Visiting Professors so far has contributed tutorials, masterclasses and lectures to the Creative Writing programme and participated in public reading events.

Most recently we were joined by the poet Vahni Capildeo, the playwright Winsome Pinnock and the novelist Preti Taneja.

The inaugural professors in 2012-13 were the playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker and the novelist Ali Smith. Since then, we have also been joined by:

  • James Lasdun and Margaret Atwood in 2013-14
  • Bill Manhire in Spring 2015
  • Tim Parks in Spring 2016
  • Ian Rankin in Autumn 2016
  • Caryl Phillips in Spring 2018