In 2012 Norwich become England's first UNESCO City of Literature, an accolade granted to cities with an outstanding literary heritage and a vibrant contemporary writing, reading, translation and publishing scene.
The UEA UNESCO City of Literature Visiting Professorships are named in celebration of this achievement, with the intention of appointing significant authors of international reputation who will contribute both to the Creative Writing programme and to the public-facing activities organised by our partner organization Writers' Centre Norwich which led the city's successful bid for UNESCO accreditation.
Most years there will be two appointments, one in the autumn semester and one in the spring. On each occasion the nature of the Visiting Professors' contribution will be shaped to reflect their particular interests and expertise, with the primary aim of enhancing 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.
The inaugural professors in 2012-13 were the playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker and the novelist Ali Smith. James Lasdun and Margaret Atwood (pictured) were the professors in 2013-14. The former New Zealand Poet Laureate Bill Manhire joined us in Spring 2015. Writer and translator Tim Parks joined us in Spring 2016. The crime novelist Ian Rankin joined us in Autumn 2016. Novelist, playwright and essayist Caryl Phillips is the UNESCO Visiting Professor for 2017-18.